Friday, December 25, 2009

Breath and Spirit: "Yoga Breath"

When anxious, nervous, stressed out or whatever takes you outside of the present moment, will inevitably be accompanied by a shallow chest breathing.

"Yoga Breath" typically refers to a way of breathing in which the stomach is pushed out on the on the inhale and letting it fall on the exhale. Breathing should NOT be up in the chest- inflating in and out.

"Prana" is "breath" in Sanskrit, and it is related to to "Pnuema" in Greek "Baruch" in Hebrew all of which can be translated both as "spirit" and "breath". Pranayama, often translated as "breath control" is the restricting or restraint of breath originally for meditative practices.

In Taoist Religion, breathing is considered to be one of the primary ways that we absorb Qi (Chi "energy") through the air. As a result, breath techniques in this tradition are some of the most elaborate I have come across. (Micro and Macro-cosmic orbits can be dangerous and should be done with a teacher). There is also the closing or locking of the "Four Gates" (the perineum, neck, stomach, and .... the other one) which is coordinated with the inhalations and exhalations and is often taught in so-called "internal" martial arts styles, such as Taichi, Qigong, and Bagua.

In tantrism, this is referred to as Kundalini (Rising), depected symbolically as a serpent rising up the spinal cord), though the Chinese Taoist and Indian Tantric practices are not identical, nor interchangeable, they do however appear to actually have common historical lineages.

It suffices, that during the day, whenever we can remember to "watch our breath," we can check to see if we are anxiously (even hysterically) breathing shallow in the chest up high, and whether we can remember enough times throughout the day to gently bring that breathing to our stomach, lower down in the abdomen.

No comments:

Post a Comment