Archive for the ‘Breath (Pranayam)’ Category


Breath is the place to start

The first and last things we do in this physical lifetime are to take a breath. Along with oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, the breath contains prana, the life force. We are regularly taught we can’t live without oxygen; it is also true we can’t live without prana, the vital force that energizes the mind, body, and consciousness.

Principles to remember:

1. Your rate of breathing and your state of mind are inseparable.
2. The slower your rate of breathing, the more control you have over your mind.
3. The mind follows the breath, and the body follows the mind.2

The breath is a fundamental tool for the Kundalini Yoga student.1 The average rate of breathing for most people is about sixteen times per minute. When the rate of breathing increases, or if it becomes rapid and irregular, the mind also becomes disturbed and erratic.2

Breath Frequency

8 cycles per minute:

  • Feel more relaxed.
  • Relief from stress and increased mental awareness.
  • Parasympathetic nervous system begins to be influenced.
  • Elevates healing processes.

4 cycles per minute:

  • Positive shifts in mental function.
  • Intense feelings of awareness, increased visual clarity, and heightened body sensitivity.
  • Pituitary and pineal glands begin to coordinate at an enhanced level, producing a meditative state.

1 cycle per minute:

  • Optimized cooperation between brain hemispheres.
  • Dramatic calming of anxiety, fear, and worry.
  • Openness to feeling one’s presence and the presence of Spirit.
  • Develops intuition.

Breath and mind connection

Why or how does the breath control the mind? When your mind is calm, meditative, and under your control, your rate of breathing will be slow, steady, and calm. So, it is logical that by breathing slowly and steadily you will calm your mind. Yes, to repeat, it’s a fact: As you change your rate of breathing, you change your state of mind.2

Yogis know this correlation to be true. We observe that a loved one is peacefully asleep by the rhythmic, slow movements of the breath. We recognize the quickened, shallow, erratic breath of a coworker as tension, stress, and concern. Take the opportunity to observe those around you – and yourself – as you stand in line at the grocery store, interact in a meeting, or any fitting moment.

Of all of the positive changes a person can make, learning to breath deeply, and completely is probably the most effective tool for developing higher consciousness and for increasing health, vitality, and connectedness in one’s life.1

Please see Disclaimer.

Pranayam Techniques

Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan® employs a wide range of pranayam, using the breath to effect and manage different energy states of health, consciousness, and emotion.1 The links below contain guidelines for simple breathing techniques – pranayam – that will get you started on this path of healing and awareness.

Long Deep Breathing [85KB PDF]: Calm the mind; balance the emotions; harmonize the body, mind, and spirit.2

Alternate Nostril Breathing [85KB PDF]: Energize and calm the nervous system.

Breath of Fire [96KB PDF]: Strengthen the nervous system; purify the bloodstream; energize, stimulate, and wake up; increase vitality.2

Suspending the Breath [65KB PDF]: Recondition the nervous system; integration of the body systems; experience deep stillness, shuniya.

more about Pranayam

Yogi Bhajan taught many other forms of pranayam such as segmented breath, Sitali, Cannon breath, and whistle breath. See the 3HO World Market for vendors that may sell specific books on Prana, Pranayama, Breathwalk®, and Kundalini Yoga or directly experience them in a Kundalini Yoga class.

All Information & Wisdom shared here by Yogi Bhajan from 3HO


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