Mind Your Breath, Breathe into Wellness
Updated: Jul 31
chale vāte, chalam chittam.. As the breath moves, so does the mind..
This is truly the simplest representation of the relationship between Our Breath & Our Mind as per The Hatha Pradipika, the primary ancient text on Hatha Yoga.
The entire science of Yoga comes down to this basic understanding that the mind is the controller of the senses but the breath is the controller of the mind.
Let’s see it this way, when we Work-Out our Body is trying to achieve the ideal healthy physical state, while on the other hand our Mind, which comprises of all our psychological aspects, is intangible and we cannot work on it directly. So, this is where Breath plays the key role- It acts as a bridge between The Physical (Body) & The Psychological (Mind). Ultimately helping us in achieving the ideal mental state and we have known this since childhood that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body, right?
Let’s make it more interesting with the below facts-
We all have experienced the feelings of anxiety, anger, too much stress and in that moment, we all feel a sudden shift in our breathing pace. It becomes faster, doesn’t it?
And how we are actively told to take a deep breath whenever we are in a situation which is beyond our control, what happens when we do that?
At some moment in our lives we all have experienced the actual impact of a running mind on the breath and a calm breath on the mind. Which makes us realize that we all possess the most powerful tool that can actually help us take charge of our mind and lead us to that peaceful mental state we all desire to be in.
Now comes the most important question, how do we use this tool ?
The Key is Mindfulness
It plays the most crucial role in starting the practice. To work on the Mind via Breath, we have to first bring the Mind ‘On the Breath’. This way we start becoming more aware of how we are actually breathing. Yes, we have to observe the breath frequently just like every other aspect of the body and the privilege is, we don’t have to visit a lab for that.
The 3 Basic Breathing Techniques
Even before learning all the major Pranayamas & breathing exercises like Alternate Nostril Breathing, one needs to master the art of controlled & mindful breathing. I am sharing my 3 basic breathing techniques below, that will help you create a rock solid foundation on your journey towards wellness.
These techniques are very simple yet they create the foundation of all the Pranayamas as they help us to optimize our breathing the yogic way. Just remember, there are 2 major aspects of our breath- inhalation & exhalation. In fact, there are 4, but we will be focusing on developing the basics first. Let’s jump right in:
The Subtle Breath
This is the first step to learn, to take charge of the Breath. When in awareness, try to make your Breath as subtle as possible without forcing the air in & out. Try to reduce the body movements, due to breath, to the minimum & try to reduce the sound of every inhalation & exhalation to zero. This way you will become one with the Breath & will start feeling more alive.
The Longer Breath
As you become more aware in making your Breath subtle, it’s time to move to the next step- With every Breath you take, now try to make it slower & longer than the previous one. Remember you are not forcing too much, just go with the flow, listen to your body and let your body allow to reach to its maximum comfortable extent. You are simply opening up all the channels in your body for the breath to flow. Slowly, as you reach your maximum capacity, try to continue those longer breaths for a few minutes & relax. Feel the calmness that you have generated inside you & around you, enjoy the peace.
The Equal Breath
This is the stepping stone. I call this as the King of Breathing Exercises. Once you have experienced the subtle & longer breath and are able to practice them successfully, you are ready. This is the step where we are keeping into account the duration of our Breath – the time during the inhalation & the exhalation. Now try to equalize your breath with utmost concentration & mindfulness. You are making your inhalation equal to your exhalation. It will take a few attempts to get this right but once you are able to achieve an approximate equilibrium in your inhale duration & exhale duration, you will start to experience the same state of equilibrium in your mind and this will spread throughout your body & you will be able achieve this magical equilibrium between the Body, Breath & Mind, the state we call as Tranquility.
These are the most simple yet highly beneficial techniques. Once you practice them and are able to sustain the state of Breath Equilibrium, you will also experience a glimpse of true meditation, for which the below statement holds true-
You don’t do Meditation, it happens to you..
With this, I strongly hope & advise for all to start working on your Breath, as it is the Key to our sustenance & simultaneously to our Healthy Mental & Physical Wellbeing.
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Written By fitPROs Wellbeing Pro , Bhavnita Sharma