Breathing, an autonomous and fundamental aspect of human existence, is intricately connected with consciousness, perception, and our overall well-being.
I would like to just suggest that you read that line again slower and really focus on its meaning.
Every breath we take is not just a mechanical function but a dance of life, a rhythm that has been persisting since our birth. Yet, many of us ( Im being kind right here) are unaware of the potential that this simple act holds in transforming our lives, especially in the realm of stress relief.
Yes, the first sentences is suggesting that you consider every breath you take a dance of life.
"I would like to suggest that you sit in your favorite meditation position and repeat that line over and over. Yes, like a mantra. 7 1/2 minutes minimum."
In the vast expanse of cosmology, every element and energy has its rhythm. Similarly, our body, a microcosm of the universe, has its rhythm, primarily dictated by our breath.
"Whoa a poetic reference to cosmology and the breath? I think I need to sit down, right? Hang in there 1/4 complete....you can do it"
The ancient practice of pranayama, stemming from Indian traditions, celebrates this rhythm & has for a long time. Pranayama, emphasizes the control and modulation of breath to achieve equilibrium and clarity of mind.
When we look at the nature surrounding us, we see that every living organism breathes. Trees breathe through photosynthesis, fish through gills, and birds with lungs much like ours. I know this is really pushing it for a lot of people out there, so let consider there are people out there different than you. Are you good on that? Shall I continue? Yes Dennis. please continue...
This universal act of breathing signifies a connection, a bridge between life and the consciousness that pervades it. Stress, in contrast, is a modern-day ailment, a deviation from this natural rhythm, a sign of disharmony.
"We're talking about the not good for you kind of stress. Let's just be clear about that."
Historically, stress was a response to immediate threats, an evolutionary tool ensuring our survival. However, in today's fast-paced world, this stress response is constantly triggered by deadlines, financial burdens, and societal pressures. Such chronic stress disrupts our natural rhythm, leading to a host of physical and psychological issues. And were keeping it light hearted... I could dive deep right here but its already deeper than most would prefer.
But really how does breath fit into this equation?
When we are stressed, our breathing becomes shallow, and rapid.
This kind of breathing signals our body to release stress hormones, further perpetuating a cycle of tension. By being conscious of our breath and employing techniques like pranayama, we can reverse this cycle. Slow, deep breaths activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's rest and digest response.
One of the most celebrated breathing techniques for stress relief is the 'Anulom Vilom' or alternate nostril breathing. This pranayama technique involves inhaling from one nostril while closing the other and then exhaling from the opposite nostril. This simple act balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain, inducing calmness and clarity of thought.
I bet you would like a very articulate scientific breakdown of exactly what is happening biologically, physiologically etc.
The relationship between breathing and consciousness can be understood when we dive deeper into the realms of human psychology. When we breathe consciously, we bring our attention to the present moment. This mindfulness anchors us, preventing the mind from oscillating between past regrets and future anxieties. In this anchored state, the mind is less susceptible to the stressors of the external world.
Drawing parallels with nature, imagine a tree standing tall amidst a storm. While its branches may sway with the winds, its roots remain deeply embedded in the earth. Similarly, when we root our consciousness in our breath, external stressors, no matter how strong, cannot uproot us from our center of peace.
In conclusion, the act of breathing, so innate and essential, holds the key to mitigating the stresses of modern life. By channeling the wisdom of pranayama and the understanding of our inherent connection to the universe through breath, we can navigate the tumultuous waters of life with grace and poise. So, the next time you find yourself engulfed by the overwhelming waves of stress, remember to pause, breathe, and reconnect with the consciousness that lies within.