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Breathing and lifespan

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

The breath is the most vital process of the body. It influences the activities of every cell, and linked with the performance of the brain. Human beings breathe about 15 times per minute and 21.600 times per day. Respiration fuels the burning of oxygen and glucose, producing energy to power every muscular contraction, glandular secretion and mental process. The breath is linked to all aspects of human experience.

Most people breathe incorrectly, using only a small part of their lung capacity. The breathing in then generally shallow, depriving the body of oxygen.

The length or quantity of life is also dictated by the rhythm of the respiration. The ancient yogis and riches studied nature in great detail. They noticed that animals which a slow breath rate such as pythons, elephants, and tortoises have long life spans, whereas those with a fast breathing rate, such as birds, dogs and rabbits, live for only few years. From this observation they realised the importance of slow breathing in short, quick gasps are likely to have a shorter lifespan than those who breathe slowly and deeply. On the physical level, this is because the respiration is directly related to the heart. A slow breathing rate keeps the heart stronger and better nourished and contributes to a longer life.

The video in this article is preparatory which introduces correct breathing habits. It helps focus the awareness on the on the breathing process, which is otherwise normally ignored. Practitioners develop sensitivity to the respiratory process and retrain the muscles of the pulmonary cavity, enchanting their vital capacity and preparing them for pranayama.

Rhythmic, deep and slow respiration stimulates and is stimulated by calm, content states of mind. Irregular breathing disrupts the rhythms of the brain and leads to physical, emotional and mental blocks. These, in turn lead to inner conflict, imbalanced personality, disordered lifestyle and disease.

"Yoga breathing" establishes regular breathing patterns, breaking this negative cycle and reversing the process.

Breathing is mainly an unconscious process, conscious control of it may be taken at any time. Consequently, it forms a bridge between the conscious and unconscious areas of the mind. Through the practice of pranayama (breath control), the energy trapped in neurotic, unconscious mental patterns may be released for use in more creative and joyful activities.

"Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha" Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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