The Key to Yoga is in the Breath
The key to yoga is in the breath. To some this may sound a little simplistic, however when you strip it all back it is that simple.
Yoga literally means a state of union. The union between mind and body is linked via the breath. It is what takes the mind into the body and uses that intelligence to feel and report back in the form of awareness. It is only through this awareness that a person can be guided from within and experience union with soul, spirit or Self.
What do all the techniques of yoga share in common that make you feel good? When practicing postures, it is the breath that gives the body it’s lift through the side waist and then moves throughout the body to nourish and release stored tension. When chanting, the breath becomes relaxed and rhythmic as sound vibration moves from navel to throat. While performing yoga of selfless action through work, a person unites and connects with the task at hand and the breath flows freely. Sitting for meditation, both the inhalation and exhalation become more balanced and penetrating. Ultimately all techniques of yoga are developing the skill of continuing to breathe unimpeded through all situations.
Without a full and complete breath in yoga the most important ingredient is missing. The breath gives life to all living things, this life force or energy moves through the breath to support all areas. In fact it was this key discovery that the great Yogi’s experienced in themselves and documented in the scriptures. Basically saying that when you improve the breath you improve the mind – impossible not to as they co-exist in a way where one directly effects the other.
One of the first things you notice when starting yoga is how tight and restricted the body is, so why would it be any different with the breath? It takes a long time to open and re-align the body where as you can instantaneously lengthen and strengthen the breath. Simply through using effort in the right direction you encourage the breath to wake up and work more, then after a while a deeper breath becomes second nature.
In yoga the breath is also referred to as your natural mantra or japa japa, as the sound of it rising and falling happens of it’s own accord. When a person’s mind becomes familiar with letting go of thinking about the external world and shifting its focus to simply watching the breath, then an ever reliable pathway to a backdrop of peace and stillness is created. Just as the picture on a television is easier to watch with good reception, higher quality breathing makes it far easier to be absorbed in watching and feeling the movement of breath.
Most of the problems in life start being labeled as problems when a person reacts in a way that involves their breath catching or momentarily stopping. At this point tension is held within. If they continued to breath they would keep moving through the situation and remain open to the present moment instead of resisting what is happening. So in many ways there is no more practical and functional habit to develop than remembering to keep breathing.
The key to yoga is in the breath. The key to living a good life is in the breath. So breeaath!!