Overview of Breathing Meditation
Though the term Yoga has been defined in various ways in many different Indian philosophical and religious traditions. The fundamental definition of Yoga originated from the Sanskrit word “Yog” which means “union”.
To understand the importance of breathing exercise in yoga, we must interpret yoga as the synchronization of mind, body, and the environment (internal as well as external to the body).
There is a very famous quote by Swami Sivananda
Oxygen levels and the functioning of the brain is a synchronized process. Having enough oxygen in the brain is essential to brain functioning, and along these lines, to the body in general. There is a constant supply of both oxygen and glucose that is required by the brain. Without enough oxygen or with low blood-oxygen levels, the brain has trouble signaling where to send blood to oxygen-hungry muscles and tissues.
Having said so breathing being the only process to supply oxygen to the brain. Therefore, breathing exercise plays an important role to keep the brain in an active state which further monitors the oxygen supply to the whole body.
But we must understand breathing exercise is not just a single activity i.e., to inhale oxygen. It includes inhaling oxygen, holding up the oxygen for bodily functions, and exhaling the carbon dioxide out of the body.
That is why conscious breathing exercise is the essence of yoga as it helps in rhythmic control of the body with respect to the immediate environment. It is through the breath that we can explore different levels of consciousness. At the point when you focus on every part of the breathing process, you are conscious; you let go of the past and future and are centered around the breathing process. This is the reason breathing exercise intentionally is its own contemplation. Unconscious breathing is constrained by the medulla oblongata in the brain stem, the crude piece of the cerebrum, while conscious breathing originates from the more developed zones of the mind in the cerebral cortex.
So conscious breathing exercise activates the cerebral cortex and the more exceptional regions of the cerebrum. Conscious breathing exercise sends driving forces from the cortex to the interfacing zones that sway emotions. Initiating the cerebral cortex has an unwinding and adjusting impact on the emotions. Generally, by conscious breathing exercise, you are controlling which parts of the psyche rule, making your consciousness ascend from the primitive to the elevated state.
How we must understand,
The Rhythmic Control of Breathing
When you consciously slow down the exhaling process, the cerebral cortex gets activated. At that point, the cerebral cortex sends inhibitory driving forces to the respiratory center in the midbrain. These inhibitory impulses from the cortex flood into the zone of the hypothalamus, which monitors emotions and releases stress from this area. This is the reason slowing the breath soothingly affects your emotional state.
Role of Breathing Exercise in Channelization of Subtle Energy
Inside the spine, on the off chance that you know its physical development, you will know there are two openings on either side of the spine which resemble channel pipes for all the nerves to pass. This is the Ida and the Pingala, the left and the right channels.
There are 72,000 nadis or channels through which the concealed energy streams all through the body. Of the 72,000, there are 3 that are the most significant: Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. You must note that “Nadi” doesn’t mean nerve. Nadis are pathways of prana in the framework. These 72,000 nadis don’t have a physical appearance. In the sense, on the off chance that you cut the body and look in, you won’t discover them. Be that as it may, as you become increasingly conscious/mindful, you will see the energy isn’t moving aimlessly, it is moving in built-up pathways. There are 72,000 unique manners by which the energy or prana moves.
The Ida Nadi begins at the Muladhara Chakra (left dissection of the body), courses from the left testicle to the left nostril, and corresponds to the Ganges river. Ida is lined up with the moon energy and has a quieting and cooling impact.
The Pingala Nadi also begins at the Muladhara Chakra (right dissection of the body), courses from the right testicle to the right nostril. It is related to the sun vitality and has a warming impact.
The Sushumna Nadi is the central channel through which the Kundalini energy travels. It is associated with balance. Over the span of the day, the left and right nostrils interchange in which one dominates. This is cultivated through erectile tissue in the nasal section that blows up with blood to cut off or lessen the progression of air. One of the nostrils will dominate dependent on your psychological, emotional, and physical state. They substitute each other for the duration of the day. As they change over, the Sushumna is initiated, yet just for a few minutes. The key is to actuate Sushumna for a more drawn out timeframe. This is practiced when both the Ida and Pingala are streaming equitably.
Breathing Exercise, Prana And Pranayama
In yoga, we figure out how to control prana, the essential power, through pranayama. We utilize the breath in pranayama to figure out how to control prana, however, don’t mistake prana for breath. Prana is the vitality that vivifies the lungs. It isn’t the breath. Utilizing the breath is the most straightforward technique for preparing prana. When you can control prana through pranayama you are better ready to control the development of prana to different organs and areas of the body.
The breath being the method of pranayama, we center around the three phases of breath: inward breath (pooraka), maintenance or retention (kumbhaka), and exhalation (rechaka). Be that as it may, as per yogic writings, pranayama is maintenance. Inward breath and exhalation are strategies for influencing maintenance.
Kumbhaka, or maintenance of the breath physiologically affects the cerebrum. To begin with, it gives a greater chance to the cells to assimilate oxygen, and dispose of more carbon dioxide. This has a quieting impact on the psychological and enthusiastic body. Actually, scientific examinations have demonstrated that slight increments in carbon dioxide for a short measure of time diminish tension levels. Be that as it may, it is just valuable up to a specific level. Carbon dioxide turns out to be exceptionally destructive, even lethal at elevated levels.
Besides, when the breath is held, the cerebrum alarms on the grounds of the increment of carbon dioxide levels. Expanded carbon dioxide levels animate the mind’s vessels to widen. Along these lines, more vessels in the cerebrum are opened up to improve cerebral flow. This develops a tremendous measure of anxious vitality in the cerebrum, constraining the formation of new neural pathways, and the enactment of lethargic centers; the mind is initiated and awakened!
Breath And Sound
Each vibration has sound. Breath, a vibration, likewise has sound. The Yoga Chudamani Upanishads expresses that the breath has a sound that is heard at a specific degree of cognizance. As indicated by the Upanishads, the sound of the breath is “So” during the inward breath and “Ham” during exhalation.
At the point when you pull back your senses from the outside, you are then fixed on the interior sound and can hear the breath. By intellectually reciting – So-ham, the mantra shows as a perceptible sound in the inward ear. In Kundalini Yoga, we intellectually chant Sat on the breath in and Nam on the breath out which fills a similar need.