On the 19th July, IYA team including Prof Kambhampati Subrahmanyam, Sri DR Kaarthikeyan and Ravi Tumuluri visited Rajarajeshwari Temple and paid their respects to Sri Sri Sri Jayendra Puri Mahaswamiji, the present pontiff of Sri Kailash Ashrama Mahasamshtana. Sri Sri Sri Tiruchi Swamigal was the…
by Shri K. C. Jain, Treasurer, IYA & Managing Trustee, Adhyatm Sadhna Kendra, Delhi
Breath–perhaps is the single-most defining activity we associate with life. We may regard breath as a wonderful gift from nature to all living beings. Inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide is perhaps how most of us would define the activity of breathing as. But we need to understand that our breath is not merely the provider of oxygen to the body nor is it solely responsible for the exhalation of the carbon dioxide which removes the toxicity from our bodies. Breath is not a nourisher or cleanser alone, it is much more. In fact, our breath is a barometer of our inner and physical health.
Let me explain this further. Breath has two distinct qualities–it is both voluntary and involuntary–and these give it its form. When it is in what we may call the ‘auto’ mode, it is an indicator of our health as the rhythm, speed, and depth of the breath all indicate the soundness of our health. And here, by health I am referring to physical, mental and emotional health. The moment there is a change in one’s emotions, a concurrent change occurs in the rhythm and speed of the breath. This is because the change in the emotional health affects the physical health and the physical health affects the rhythm and speed of breath and vice versa. By this, there is a very clear implication. As individuals, it is in our hands to control our breaths and regulating the breath can help us in regulating all aspects of our health.
This can be understood with an example which many of you will find more familiar. Pranayama, what is often understood as a breathing technique associated with meditation, is in fact not merely a breathing exercise but is instrumental in regulating our entire energy levels, and consequently, our health. This is precisely why in almost all systems of meditation tremendous emphasis has been laid on regulating or watching the breath. Therefore, in different exercises of Pranayama, breathing is regulated. The principal tenet behind this is that if we just learn to take deep and rhythmic breaths, we will be able to improve our holistic health significantly.
Let us understand the importance of the speed and rhythm of breath and its relationship with health. Speed and rhythm are two distinct characteristics of our breath which need to be individually monitored with regard to the health of an individual. On an average, we take 15 to 17 breaths in a minute, which is known as the speed of our breath. The rhythm of the breath is the increase or decrease in the number of breaths in a given time. If there is an increase in the number of breaths we take in a minute, or any given time, it indicates a disturbance in our emotional, mental, and physical health. On the other hand, a decrease in the rate of breathing implies breathing has become deeper and the overall health of the individual is advancing towards greater stability. Therefore, in order to monitor our health, we need to monitor both the speed and rhythm of the breath we take.
The inference that can be drawn from the relationship that exists between our health and breathing is that our aim should be to work on regulating our breath on a regular basis to develop a system, whereby, over a longer duration, we are able to control our breath to become more rhythmic, more regulated, and stabilized. If we are able to master this art, we have learnt the art of regulating not just the breath but also our health, without external support. Consequently, our breath can serve not just as a means to survival and barometer for our health, but also as a master key to correct the majority of our disorders, be they physical, mental, or emotional.