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Breathing as vital energy

Studies about yoga and breathing say that the life of a person, who lives for about 100 years, is equivalent to about 800,000,000 breaths. We breathe approximately 22,000 times a day on average. The human being is made to live 175 years, that is, seven times adulthood (25 years), breathing well will increase our longevity and quality of life exponentially.

Not all of us breathe in the same way, our actions and emotions radically influence the frequency and number of breaths. Stress, fear and anxiety are just some of the causes that generate accelerated, arrhythmic or uneven breathing. Taken to a numerical aspect, we could say that the higher the number of breaths, the lower the physical and emotional quality of life, on the contrary, with a lower number of breaths we will have a higher physical and emotional quality of life.

We need to take the time to listen and feel our breath, it is of vital importance and even more so, in the times we live where the use of the facemask is more common. We are not fully aware of the importance, form and quality of our breathing, perhaps it is one of the vital actions that we are mostly most unaware of until we carry out a specific activity, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, which allows us to explore and increase our awareness about our breathing. Of course, most sports help us discover our breathing, but more from the physical need to have a greater lung capacity and physical resistance.

Being aware of our breathing is an exercise of observation and concentration that requires stillness and silence. Yoga as a physical, mental and spiritual science and practice offers us a wide variety of breathing exercises that can help us to increase the quality and awareness of how we breathe. The same happens with meditation, which bases its science on the observation of our breathing.

In almost all oriental or Asian disciplines and practices, breathing is the key to our health, in yoga, we call breathing "prana" which means vital energy. Breathing is feeding the body with oxygen, we give our cells the necessary sustenance for our body to function at maximum performance in almost any circumstance, climate or situation. A person can go between 4 and 5 days without drinking a drop of water, or between 45 or 60 days without eating, however, an average person without specific preparation cannot last more than 2 minutes without breathing, after this time the CO2 buildup in the body begins to spasm the diaphragm and muscles eventually leading us to death.

This simple comparison of times on the most vital and basic aspects of our existence helps us understand the great importance of breathing, without which it would only take us 2 minutes to lose our vital support. As people, we often consider big changes in our lives, related to physical fitness, food, relationships, our career, etc., but we rarely consider improving our breathing. If we took breathing as the basic pillar of our health, the rest of the changes would happen quickly in a sustained and natural way.

A simple example of how the body works completely automatically is when we have an upset or problem, the body generates a deep inhalation and exhalation, commonly called a sigh, which makes us feel calmer. This reaction occurs because by inhaling a greater amount of oxygen, we widen the ribcage, and mobilize the diaphragm, massaging the stomach, the heart and different nerve branches of the brachial plexus, which gives us that feeling of immediate relaxation.

The air we breathe is charged with oxygen or other essential gases, but it is also charged with free electrical energy, made up of ions and atoms that form electric and magnetic fields. This energy is absorbed through breathing, and transformed at the cellular level by our body.

To better understand the energetic aspect of our body, let's take as an example a cell of our body, this is made up of atoms that have a central nucleus, around which electrons revolve, with positive and negative charges, these electrons and atoms keep them cohesive. our cells and in general all our organic and vital structures. Breathing better means having more energy. When we breathe, we inhale the ether of space or as Sir Oliver Lodge said in his work "The ether of space", the ethereal energy contained in each cubic millimetre of space is equal to that of a power plant with a million horses working non-stop for 40 million years. Thus, we can imagine the immense invisible power that we are surrounded by and that we breathe every day. That is why breathing is key to keeping our body healthy on a mental and emotional level.

Looking at nature, the stars and the immensity of the sea or the mountains can help us understand the concept of ether or vital energy a little better.

Taken to the scientific field, to further transcend the importance of the air we breathe, we can refer to the research of Doctor Manfred Curry (December 11, 1899 – February 13, 1953), and his discovery of an excessively rare gas, called Arane, which is an isotope of ozone. Many beings, including humans, cannot do without this gas and when it is missing, it seems that it is more difficult to breathe. According to Doctor Curry, Arane is an essential gas for all human beings and without its existence, life on earth would be unsustainable.

Talking about Prana or contemplating breathing as vital energy is linked by modern science, as pseudoscience, but nothing is further from reality and there are already many studies carried out by medicine about how breathing affects our body and health. in a positive and effective way. To give a close and current example, we can resort to the Wim Hoff breathing system, which has shown how with proper breathing training and practice we can improve our immune system, eliminate depression and increase our physical resistance and mental strength. This a perfect example of how breathing is pure vital energy.

Our meditation teacher, Dr Marut Damchaom, told us to do the following exercise before going to sleep; to be aware before falling into the depth of sleep if we fell asleep with an inhalation or with an exhalation, and the same when waking up, do we wake up with an inhalation or with an exhalation. This would be the most advanced level of consciousness and knowledge about our breathing, undoubtedly difficult, but not impossible, many Tibetan monks choose the moment of passage to another life, they are totally aware of the moment they die and so absolutely conscious of the time they stop breathing.

In the meantime, and as an exercise we can settle for being more aware of our breathing, just realizing that we are breathing, when we inhale and when we exhale, how beautiful it is and how alive we are.

The article was written by Robert Brown.

Other sources from the book "Yoga para todos" from Desmon Dunne, Editorial Toray 1969

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