Breathing in, I calm the body and mind.
Breathing out I smile.
Inhale: Nutrients In!
Exhale: Waste Eliminated!
Most exercise programs ignore digestion and the elimination of waste. Yoga focuses not only on the breath inhalation (Nutrients In) but also focuses on digestion, the internal organs, and waste elimination!
My church, Arapaho United Methodist Church offered Spiritual Yoga taught by Shelly Niebuhr; a gifted yoga teacher. During her classes there was an EMPHASIS ON BREATH. Emphasis on Breath didn’t make a lot of sense to me a first. Emphasis on Breath takes a few lessons to understand and appreciate.
Focusing on your breath helps your mental concentration and your mental focus. Focusing on your breath helps you to exercise and not loose your breath; run out of breath. Remember yoga exercises and relaxes both your body and mind.
With Emphasis on Breath, my yoga workout became more relaxing and less of an exhausting workout. The missing yoga puzzle pieces started to come together. My breathing slowed down, stress melted away, I started to enjoy the yoga poses.
One of the poses, “Pigeon” had been a painful torture. Now after time Pidgeon is one of my favorite poses; I can actually really relax in the pose.
Shelly also encouraged us to reach to do our best, but Always stay within your Range of Motion, never to reach beyond our body limitations; never let your ego push you to hurt yourself! If you feel pain, you need to modify the pose to be more comfortable, or refrain from doing the pose. No guilt! No Judgement! NO PAIN!
Now through Emphasis on Breath my breathing became more of “Breath Prayers.” My one-hour yoga class became a one-hour prayer!
Now my yoga workout has become my yoga lifestyle! Yoga influences many aspects of my life: Stress and anxiety begin to melt away. Stress does not Go Away, but you deal with stress more effectively!
I believe that I have become a better Christian through yoga. Yoga has helped me to adhere to a healthier lifestyle; physically and mentally.
Yoga encourages me to embrace other forms of exercise; weights and jogging. Through yoga I am a Vegetarian (Vegan Want-to-Be). I try to eat vegetarian meals 2-3 days a week. Somehow through yoga and meditation you become a more compassionate person.
Yoga exercises your body and your mind; stretches your body and mind. Open Heart, Open Mind, Open Doors.
Breathing in, I calm the body and mind.
Breathing out I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is the only moment.
Our bodies can live for days without food and water. But our bodies without breathing can be measured in seconds. We often take our breathing for granted; for we have been breathing from birth. We can even breathe in our sleep; without consciously thinking about. In yoga we truly take breath, breathing seriously and so should you!
In yoga breath control is called Pranayama (breath control) and each breath is a breath of life. Not to be morbid, but when you take a deep breath; someone is taking their last breath. Breath is Life so we should have more respect for it!
Our bodies do an amazing job. Our nostrils or mouth take in air (oxygen) through the respiratory system and then through osmosis in the circulatory system, oxygen and nutrients travel through hemoglobin in our blood cells to nourish all of the cells in our bodies. Yes, through breathing all of the cells in our bodies are fed and nourished!
In our modern day stress-filled, multi-tasking, hurry-up world we often breathe shallowly and rapidly; not the healthy S-L-O-W DEEP BREATHING that yoga and yogic breath control encourage!
Yoga postures, meditation (Deep Relaxation), diet, and exercise can actually add blood volume to your body. More blood volume means more hemoglobin, more efficiently transferring oxygen into the blood stream, and more oxygen getting to ALL of the cells of your body. Hence you support your immune system to fight off disease, injury and recover more quickly. With Breath Control (Pranayama) you lower your stress level, lowers your blood pressure, lowers your risk of heart disease, hypertension/high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Your body and mind are both allowed to rest. Equanimity with your body and mind become a reality.
You should check with your doctor about your individual case, but standard medical advice for people whose blood pressure is controlled on medication is to engage in exercise and other healthy activities that a person with normal blood pressure would do.
Therefore, it seems reasonable that you can safely introduce inversions if you do so gradually. In fact, inversions trigger several reflexes that temporarily reduce blood pressure, so theoretically, regular practice may enhance treatment of your high blood pressure.
Note, however, that people whose high blood pressure is not under control should bring the pressure down first by other means before practicing inversions.
Yogic breathing uses the nose and not the mouth.
The nasal passages are lined with fine hairs, which act as filters and trap dust particles and bacteria, and with mucous membrane, which warms and moistens the incoming air. The nose is divided by the septum into two narrow passages.
Inhaled air, having been drawn up the nostrils, passes into the pharynx, the cavity behind and communicating with the nose, mouth, and larynx.
When we inhale through the nostrils, blood circulating in the nasal passages heats the inhaled air, so that the air is warmed and moistened before entering the lungs! Dry air is also moistened, and the hairs in the nostril trap dust that could/would be harmful if it reached the lungs.
Healthy Pink Lungs on the Left Lungs from Smoking on the Right
Did you know that the lungs are not of equal size? The right lung is slightly the larger of the two and has three lobes to the left’s two. Adult lungs weigh about 2-2 ½ pounds. Healthy lungs are pink while those of smokers are purple-black. Yucky!
The mucous membrane lining of the lungs has hair-like cilia. The cilia trap of dust and dirt and push them toward the mouth. If the cilia are overworked and overwhelmed a cough is triggered. Too much dirt in the nostril a sneeze is triggered.
*If you are like me, it has been decades since I have had a science or biology class. But now I have a great appreciation for each breath and the yogic practice of Pranayama.
Breath Control may sound exotic at first, but it is very common! We use Breath Control for speech, whispering, singing, whistling, holding our breath (Holding our breath under water as an example) to name a few. Blowing up a balloon or blowing out birthday candles are all forms of breath control. Now I have a great appreciation for each breath and the yogic practice of Breath Control (Pranayama).
Quarrel Among the Senses
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 155
1. Once upon a time the senses quarreled among themselves
as to who was superior, each saying: “I am superior, I am
2. They went to Prajapati, their father, and said: “Sir, who is the best of us?”
He replied: “He by whose departure the body looks the worst – he is the best of you.”
3. Speech then departed and, having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?”
They replied: “Like the dumb -not speaking, but breathing with the breath, seeing with the eye, hearing with the ear, and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then speech entered in.
4. The eye then departed and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like the blind – not seeing, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, hearing with the ear and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then the eye entered in.
5. The ear then departed, and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like the deaf – not hearing, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, seeing with the eye and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then the ear entered in.
6. The mind then departed and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like children – not thinking, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, seeing with the eye and hearing with the ear. Thus we lived.” Then the mind entered in.
7. Now, when the breath was about to depart, tearing up the other senses, as a strong horse about to depart might tear up the pegs to which he is tethered, they gathered round him and said: “Sir, remain. You are the best of us, do not depart.”
8. Then speech said to him: “If I am the most prosperous, so are you the most prosperous.” The eye said to him: “If I am the firm basis, so are you the firm basis.” The ear said to him: “If I am success, so are you the success.” The mind said to him; “If I am the abode, so are you the abode.”
9. Hence these are not termed organs of speech or eyes or ears or minds. They are termed signs of life. For life itself becomes all these.
Those who are blind may feel that if they could recover their sight they would be dwelling in paradise, but we who have good eyes rarely take the time to appreciate that we are already in paradise.
According to yoga philosophy,
it’s the flexibility of the spine,
not the number of years
from your birth,
not your chronological age
that determines a person’s age.
This morning I was up before 4am and started studying on Pranayama (yogic breathing). I went into a sitting position to meditate. I looked down and PeeWee, my puppy was looking up at me. Without coaxing, she sat in my lap and we continued to meditate. Later my wife came in and took a picture. A puppy in your lap may not be perfect form, but it is an overwhelming feeling of love and peace.