|Fetch Your Breath Up From Deep Below
12th May, 2004
Men of wisdom fetch their breath up from deep inside and below, while others breathe with their voice box alone. Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela often relied on mind-cleansing meditation combined with deep breathing — to restore their flagging energy and create inner peace whenever stress built up in their lives.
Normally, we tend to breathe with just the top half of our lungs, leaving the bottom half unused and full of stale, impure air, preventing the fullest absorption of oxygen. The stale air resulting from the poor use of lung capacity virtually affects every organ in the body. We take tens of thousands of breaths per day; yet, it is quite possible that we may spend our whole lifetime without ever pondering about whether we can improve the quality of breathing. Considering our breathing becomes more and more shallow and ineffective from birth onwards, this is a matter of utmost concern.
Those engaged in teaching disciplines such as singing, playing a wind instrument, athletics, yoga and martial arts are required first to become attuned with their breathing to mark growth in their chosen fields.In order to record progress in any type of spiritual discipline, it is immensely important that all parts of the body receive sufficient oxygen, especially the brain.
The natural motions resulting from deep breathing help to open up the chakras through which chi — alternatively called prana or ki — enters the body. Moreover, the physical action of every breath we take causes the internal organs to be massaged and facilitates the movement of nutrients and wastes. Finally, concentrating on natural breathing unclutters the mind, freeing it from mechanical, everyday, fixated thinking. This mental shift can be termed as a first step towards unification of mind and body.
If you wish to make deep, abdominal breathing an integral part of your daily life, first familiarise yourself with natural abdominal breathing, which involves four distinct stages: Inhalation, retention, exhalation and pause.
Deep breathing reduces stress, deepens insight, expands consciousness and increases intuitive perception. Shallow breathing blocks energy whereas deep, rhythmical breathing generates energy.
In all situations, breathe. Be aware of your breath. If you are in a conversation, take a moment to breathe before you respond. Focus on slowing your breath, and you will find that you are establishing contact with your own internal energy.