My Guru, yeah… that’s what you call it in India, my yoga teacher Swamiji, said one day that he thought it was weird that no one ever gets lessons in breathing. “Pranayama” This is the most important thing of all… If you don’t get enough oxygen… if you don’t send it all over your body, you’ll never get it right. Then at some point you get problems because something gets too long without oxygen or with too little oxygen.
I never thought about it that way, breathing goes by itself, I ‘live’ and so it’s good… but it’s not! We hear often enough that we need to hydrate well, drink enough water because that’s what your body needs… But when do we hear that we have to breathe well because that’s what your body needs?
I’ve never been told, actually! Not that way at least. I was taught that breathing through the nose was good… out through the mouth than possibly… Or breathing to your abdomen… But the whole background was never elaborated.
While this is the first necessity of life and the most important thing of all to function well on multiple levels.
And then breathing in the right way. Making sure your body gets enough oxygen to function properly. Swamiji told us that we had to learn to breathe. Breathe well, breathe deeply… Breathe out well, breathe out deeply… It’s the beginning of all yoga, the meditation, the asanas, the satsang is good and proper breathing.
And what’s it all about? Your breathing?
Breathing in seems to be the most important thing there is. The oxygen is drawn into your body and absorbed into your blood so that it can be transported to the vital parts of your body such as your heart and brain. That’s why we’re breathing. I was never told and I have to say I never thought about it like that.
But what about the exchange of substances…
Have you ever thought about the usefulness of your exhalation? There’s a moment between the inhalation and the exhalation. This moment is crucial for your body and we never really make the most of it…
You breathe in oxygen (O2) and exhale the superfluous CO2…
In that subtle moment when your lungs are full of oxygen, there is an exchange of substances. The oxygen, the O2, is absorbed into your body while your body throws out substances at the same time this is no longer necessary. Substances that are superfluous and eventually become toxic to your body. Toxic if you have them in large numbers in your body. And if you then know that what is separated out with your exhalation is CO2, carbon dioxide, then we all know that this is not a good substance.
In the Pranayama, holding your inhalation or exhalation has a name. So the moment of exchanging the substances oxygen and carbon dioxide. This moment is called Kumbhak. Then you have the internal kumbhak and the external kumbhak. So I’m talking about keeping the inhaled oxygen longer in your body, in your lungs, for a better exchange of substances.
Breathe these substances out completely!
You want to get rid of these substances! It has a reason that they’re exchanged, so we exhale them! Everything has a reason 🙂
But what do we usually do? We are focused on the inhalation and halfway through the exhalation we are oke with it and we start breathing in again.
Try to keep in mind that you breathe out completely. That you really squeeze out everything you have in your lungs. This certainly doesn’t have to be every breath but just keep in mind that you breathe out really well at least once or twice a day. That precisely those substances do not accumulate in your body!
Yoga Inspiration – Pranayama
How should we correctly breathe?
Try to get your breathing out longer than the inhalation. Make sure you breathe everything out. That after this you can really fill your lungs with fresh, healthy oxygen. At least that’s what we’re hoping… If you are in nature, that chance is of course greater than sitting on a terrace in a city centre 🙂
If you want to breathe well and give your body a good chance to do what it has to do, then breathe deeply through your nose. Hold your breath for a moment so that the substances can be exchanged and then breathe out as long as possible through your nose.
Do this several times a day!
Pranayama are breathing exercises but if the basics are not right… Prana is breath and Yama is control… We have to get it back first, getting the breath under our control and not the other way around. That’s why I haven’t actually mentioned pranayama yet 🙂
Be aware of your breathing, get that oxygen into all parts of your body… While breathing, remembering that it goes to the tip of your toe is a great start (mind over matter 🙂 ) That alone sends the oxygen a lot further into your body.
In addition, make sure you get the waste products out of your body… By leaving leftovers, for a very long time… can cause illnesses…
Read more about the background and theory of Pranayama here.
I’m writing this down, at first, for myself… In order to put what I’ve learned into words again, and in doing so, to make it more intrusive on myself… Next to that I hope that you will get some curiosity and go out and investigate this.
What I write is not necessarily the truth, I am also searching, investigating and learning. While writing, I am checking what I wrote and learned during my 200RYT course in Pushkar…and googling to learn more.
I do hope that you do the same and in the meantime learn too 🙂
And if I miss something that’s supposed to be there, tell me!
I like to hear it and I like to add it here or in a new blog 🙂