Breathe Or Die - Part 1
Pretty intense title, hah? Well, it's been quite a while since I've created a blog so I thought I'd go big. The truth it, though, the breath is our life source. It's not only an indicator that we are alive but if we stop doing it...
I identify my business as 'Breathe' because to me, there's nothing more imperative. It's simple and profound at the same time. The breath tells us so much about where we are and what's going on within us. It's the first thing to respond when the nervous system is affected and we can affect the nervous system by changing or controlling the breath.
In the Sanskrit language, the original language of yoga, breathing practices are called pranayama. Prana means life, vital energy, or breath. Yama means restraint or control. Ayama (any word with an A added to the beginning is the opposite) means expansion. So, pranayama is breath control and expansion. The Sanskrit language is not so literal, so a single word can be studied and philosophized to find layers of concept and meaning. For me, pranayama is a practice of life feeding life. The breath itself is a sacred act as it is the most vital form of fuel for our existence and the one we can live the least amount of time without. It can be slowed down to slow down our thoughts and it can be sped up to creat heat and energy in the body and mind.
And then there is the space between the inhales and exhales, which contain their own poetry.
Essentially, when the breath is realized and controlled, the mind can be realized and controlled. Or as my teacher, Baba Hari Dass says, 'If you can see it, you can change it.'
I think of the practice of yoga not as striving to control the mind, but not letting the mind control me.
I've begun creating short youtube videos, the first being a brief introduction to pranayama and a foundational breathing practice - the belly breath. I intend to expand upon this breath as well as follow up with various videos detailing yoga practices, health tips, and philosophies to help inform your personal practice. Subscribe to be notified when a new offering comes available. I welcome comments with questions or additional information on what is offered.
~Blessings and Namaste~