We are alive until we can breathe. This very complex system we human beings have been endowed with and which we use throughout our life to accomplish innumerable things; the various senses, emotions, feelings and impressions we experience; the innumerable ideas, plans and passions we come up using our intellect-all these are sustainable only as long as we can sustain one fundamental vital force within this body-the breath.
The value of the human lasts only as long as the breath in the body. When the breath is taken away, the body crumbles into dust
Do we all realize how important it is to preserve this active principle of life? Perhaps yes. Or perhaps 'may be yes'. It is naive to assume that there are any people who do not know its importance. But the big question is 'do we realize?'. And if we did, then it is imperative there is a definitive action on a sustainable basis to ensure we do.
Do we breathe right? We all breathe, no doubt, for if we did not, we cease to exist that very moment. A vast majority of us do not breathe right, I guess. The reasons could be either self made or induced. The former due to passivity and indifference and the latter due to external influences. Self made imbalances are caused by poor living habits and are perhaps corrected far more easily if we are amenable to counsel and advice. But the more difficult and perhaps reasons which we do not control ourselves are the external influences which include work or societal related and in the form of stress, anxiety & tension. These factors cause a vicious cycle which many people do not easily manage to come out of.
Factors like stress, anxiety & tension for various reasons and in various situations disrupt the harmony & balance in breathing. Incorrect breathing resulting from such influences leads to manifestation in several forms like depression, insomnia, stress and poor confidence in simple form and when not corrected, to more serious diseases induced by these conditions.
What to do to help ourselves?
The help lies in being able to break the vicious cycle by conscious effort. We have to make an earnest beginning. We have to restore balance and harmony. It is not too difficult but it requires concerted action. It is not very complex either. Lets not be overwhelmed by notions of extraordinary feats having to be performed. One doesn't have to invest huge amounts of time either. Don't be confused by jargon and multiplicity of methods or types. You are not wanting to become a perfect yogi performing amazing feats. Watch the video at the end of this post.
The attributes of correct breathing are: controlled, deep, smooth and harmonious. Experts would tell you about different breathing techniques as well but for those wanting to have a simple regimen, those will not be relevant.
The benefits of correct breathing will first & foremost concern the mental aspect. The min becomes relaxed, calm, balanced. With a close connection between the state of mind with the physical, the body will invariably experience significant gains in terms of relief from pain & fatigue. A healthy body free from common disorders & predisposition to diseases will be a natural gain.
Is there a simple & easy way?
A simple practice of restoring balance in breathing I consider adequate and beneficial is this:
Whether sitting in a chair or on the floor mat or even lying down on the back in a quiet corner [not entirely essential, but will be useful], with eyes closed [to avoid distraction], focus your observation on breathing [the phenomenon that is breathing, because you will not do anything to positively affect it]. Keep the mind focused on the involuntary inhalation and exhalation, for a about a minute. If you gently touch & hold the apex of nose at the point between the eyes on forehead, it enhances the ability for concentration. With mind concentrating on breath alone and nothing else, you will notice the irregularity [short duration-not deep, far from smooth and jerky at times]. Now by positive action, try to modify the pattern to extend the duration, eliminate jerky breathing and experiencing the harmony. Once it gets better, continue the controlled breathing for five minutes. This should have made you feel refreshed & calm. Depending upon the availability of time, you may increase the duration of controlled breathing.
As I mentioned, the benefits will be significant, for leading a stress free healthy life. For as long as we can breathe, that is. For after all, this life is finite by Design.
Is there more help?
You may refer to the following for more structured & useful advice & techniques researched by me, if you find this will benefit you:
Watch the video:
Hope you will benefit from the ideas. Do let me know if you have any points to add or any thoughts to share.