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Picking Grapes
  • Writer's pictureLotus Anwen Sagebrush

Power of the Breath

Pranayama, breath control/ vital life force energy, is the force that exists in all things. Pranayama utilizes breathing exercises to influence the flow of pranic / qi energy into the energy channels within (these are learned and worked on within the Yoga practice that starts in November Virtuall). Yama means to control, so through breath exercises learned, one can influence prana to move fluidly through the sen/nadhi energy channels. Breath practice helps us go past our boundaries and retain a higher state of being. This is the goal for the Breath and Meditation practice through Rosa Albus that starts in November. There are four important aspects of breathing. Puraka = inhalation, Rechaka = exhalation, Khumbaka = retention of breath - antar =internal retention & bahir = external. Pranayama uses various breathing techniques to activate these principles. There is a fifth stage called Kevala khumbaka, but this is an advanced stage. Khumbaka, retention, is a vital stage of breathing that must be introduced slowly to the practice to be done properly. The practice of pranayama mainly works with the Pranayama Kosha - vital energy body (the koshas are layered within the yoga practices starting and also especially through the Vedic Thai yoga that moves/balances physically and subtly. There are five major pranas subtle. Prana governs the thoracic area. Apana governs the abdomen.Samana resides between the heart and the navel.Udana governs the neck and head. Vyana pervades the whole body. These Vayus are balanced through the Yoga practice. Along these five major pranas, there are five minor pranas, but will discuss this another time.

Pneuma, air/breath, represents the most primary evidence of vitality and life in beings. In Galen's time, breathing was thought of as more than just an exchange of air. Different forms of air were thought to animate bodily functions, blood circulation, cognition, respiration, and lymphatic. Breath, life energy, connects us to all things. Breathing exercises encourage the surfing of prana on its back into our energy channels to create greater vital health. Notice the symbiotic relationship in nature. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Plant breathe out oxygen and breathe in carbon dioxide. Practicing breath builds long-term self-awareness of self and the environment around us.

Did you know we breathe in and out around 10-15 times a minute and 25,000 times a day? How many times in a day are you aware of your breath? Did you know you can breathe into different parts of the body to release tension and pain? How many times do you stop and think about the fact that it is our lungs and airways that connect us to our environment? Of course, we touch the earth and people with our hands, feet, and body. We will talk about this another time. Our breath influences activities in every cell in our bodies and is linked to the performance of the brain. Well now, let us address that truth for just a second. In our fast-paced, stress-induced society globally, we all need to be focusing on the power of the breath to decrease stress, tension, mental/emotional/physical pain, and to feed our brain health. Most people breathe minimally using only a small percentage of their lung capacity. By studying Hatha Yoga, physical science, and the art of Yoga, along with a Pranayama practice, will correct this problem with breath. Through Pranayama and Hatha (through Rosa Albus, I give Ashtanga Vinyasa, Therapeutic Hatha, Yin, and Vedic Thai Yoga practice). Through practice, sensitivity to the respiratory process is developed, greater awareness to the body/mind/heart, retrains the muscles of the pulmonary cavity, enhancing their vital capacity. Besides pranayama creating a better quality of life, the length or quantity of life is also dictated by the rhythm of the respiration. Ancient yogis and rishis studying nature notice those animals with slower breaths like elephants have long life spans.

Physically this truth about life span is because the lungs are intimately connected to the heart. A slower and longer breath rate strengthens and nourishes the heart. I look forward to helping all those who wish to create a steady, personally tailored yoga sadhana (practice) including sitting. Learning to sit well connects us back to Prakruti/Mother Nature which we all need. Our hearts have the same electromagnetic field like Mother Earth's Heart.

Most gracious God, we come before you to pray for the wellbeing of the planet. You alone know the full extent of the destruction we have wrought to your beautiful handiwork, and what needs to be done to remedy it. We pray for the people around the globe who suffer because of environmental damage. We pray for the defenseless creatures harmed or made extinct by our selfishness and ignorance. We pray for the oceans, air, mountains, plants, and soil, that life and health may again pulse in them. We pray that we humans have a change of heart and stop harming the planet. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us that we may have the passion and wisdom to work effectively to restore your creation. Guide us in our personal, church, and community efforts. Give us the strength to continue on with this work when it is difficult and requires sacrifice. Bless the Earth and all its life in every way. We make this prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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