Bhaavna: To understand and walk the path

We have been blessed with many powers & gifts – writing, hearing, speaking, walking, touching, smelling – but among all, the saintly believe the following two powers to be of greatest value:

1 Bhaavna(...to do with feelings, emotions & sentiments) – Jazbaa/Fire

2 Baudhakta (...to do with intelligence & understanding) – akal – soch

 

Bhaavna

The connection of Bhaavna is with the element of Fire (Agni ). The one who lacks fire /jazbaa is a cold person. Such a person is unable to establish relationships with other people. The quality of Jazbaa is important to establish relationships.

Baudhakta (Samajh)

Baudhakta /Samajh is based on understanding things. Samajh (understanding) will work well when in one direction.. When samajh is spread-out (khaler), everything will remain incomplete (adhoora).

Therefore, Samajh may also be only in one state/direction (dasha) in one moment of time. A great singer may not be a great poet. Most singers are dependent on the Poets. And top poets are not painters, top painters are not Saints...and so on.

Samajh  is called Baudhakta and Jazba is called Bhaavna. These two are very important boons we are blessed with. If one has only Bhaavna without Baudhakta (understanding), it is difficult to understand the relationships established.

The world of science

In today’s world we see that each part of the body is becoming an entity of its own, that each part is having a specialist. This did not exist earlier. There was just one traditional doctor (Hakim /Vaid) – who checked and operated on the ears, or eyes or teeth. Fever or any other diseases – all were treated through one Hakim. Today there are specialists for each body part (Ang). Eye, brain, heart etc specialists. Today there is so much knowledge, but still the specialists are thinking there is more to learn. Each part is great in the way. We have more knowledge of everything; is true, but have we completely understood it ?– the scientists do not believe this.

Samajh can work well in one direction only. If we try to know everything – we will be left with everything incomplete (adhoora).

 

The dilemma of Samajh first (understanding) or Bhaavna first (be One with it)?

So first what do we do – understand or become one (judna) with it?

Guru Nanak, a saint and philosopher says first understand (samajh / sayaan). Adopt it later, first understand. There are some people in this world who understand later, but become one with it first. There are some that understand well, but because of low Bhaavna they cannot connect.

Man can be bamboozeled by the fact that how much there is to know. It is incredible. Samajh(understanding) is a lot, and often when one has a deep understanding of things and is far on this journey and thinks understanding about it is all that can exist then emotionally they could become cold.

A higher sense of development

These two powers are really incredible. It is said that some people in this world are Emotionally higher developed (Bhaav pradhaan) and some are developed higher with their understanding (Baudh pradhaan). Some philosophers have even described it as that Women are Bhaav Pradhaan and Men are Baudh Pradhaan. Bhaavukta has a greater place in women than baudhakta, Baudhakta has a greater place in Men than Bhaavukta.

By this standard, both are incomplete.

Baudhakta is called eyes. Bhaavna is called the feet. If you have seen the path, then to walk, we need the feet. If we have eyes and have seen the path, but have no feet – we cannot walk the path. If we have feet, but no eyes, we will stutter everywhere – left and right.

 

Some philosophers argue that Bhaavna is Mahaan in comparison to Baudhakta. These people have called Women great. The one who has Bhaavna pradhaan, is maybe called like is a women like.  

Sigmond Freud: has said that India’s holy people are women-like. They may have a body of men, but are on the inside Bhaav pradhaan (emotionally highly developed). However, in his statements Freud was making fun– that these holy people are lost on their lives.

His idea behind saying that, was that Bhaavna  makes you feel lost. If you can’t see (understand / Baudhakta) you will always stutter and bang into everything & everywhere.

The spiritual saints on the other hand say, if you have no eyes and stutter everywhere – maybe one day you may still reach where you want to. Because at least the walk exists. But the one who just has eyes, but no feet, will spend his/her entire time in seeing. Without feet you cannot walk the path.

Often the intelligent remain behind, the Bhaavuk (with Bhaavna) reach.. (their destination - oneness).

It is said that first our responsibility is to understand, and then walk that path.

Ayurveda & the finding our ‚balance’ with Bhaavna and Baudhakta

The founder of Ayurveda– Vaid Dhanantar – is a jewel of Bharat (India). He was blessed with the understanding of the various herbs and its combinations.  He says that Ayurvedic medicines do not cure the person, but rather bring the person in balance (santulan).

For example the body needs a certain warmth – if it is too much then the body becomes pit pradhaan (heavy) – if more water – kaf pradhaan – if our lifestyles have become sedantary then balance of air  has been lost in the body.

If the Balance (Santulan) is lost for a long period of time, then the whole bodily system suffers. Just as a car making noise and if we dont correct it,  all of the car machinery may be spoilt at some point.

 Everyone has similar Bhaavna and Baudhakta – but because of our lifestyles the santulan (balance) is disturbed.

Iqbal, a sufi poet says –

„Tere seene main dam hai, dil nahin hai

Tera dam garam ye mehfil nahin hai“

 

Explanation: Baudhakta is a light of the path, that one can see the path. But the onus is on us to then walk the path. Do not let our jazbey/fire become cold. With Bhaavna (feet) there is a 1 in a 1000 chance that we may still reach our destination. But with Baudhakta (eyes) only we cannot reach anywhere. We need to walk the walk.

 

Iqbal further says–

„Ye theek hai, dil ke paas rahe paasbaane akal

Lekin kabhi kabhi ise tanha bhi chhor de“

 

Explanation: For protecting the innocent-emotional heart, its good to have the protection of the brain (akal), but sometimes we must also leave the heart alone.

For example; if a mother always wants to take the hand of an adult child (like when the child was young), but mom insists she had made him walk like that and insists also now to do it, the child will become challenged.

When you have to meditate (Jap) then put your akal to the side. The path to oneness is with Bhaav as jazbaa will create sanctity inside. 

 

And the ones within which this bhaavna for Oneness is born – is called Bhakt. Bhakt is a Sanskrit word – a combination of Bhaav & Ankit.  If Bhaavna has this moment of stillness – (ankit ho jaana) it means you have started walking the path.

 

„Pandit, Soor, Chatar-pat Raaja

Bhakt baraabar aur na koye“

 Spiritual saints have said that Baudhakta (Akal) has advanced a lot – science has made progress leaps and bounds, but the heart has been left behind. Bhaavna has been left far behind.

Bhaavna – attachment, love and devotion

Bhaavna helps us establish relationships – with families, friends etc. This relationship is of Moh (attachment). If therer would be no Moh, no mothers would take care of their children, no fathers would take this children on their shoulders and show the world. That the families don’t scatter, Moh is important from this perspective.

·      Attachment

Bhaavna, when it flows downards, it become attachment. In attachment there are demands, a sort of a selfishness.

For example: If a child grows and cannot make its parents happy (sukh), they get angry.  If they give then unhappiness, the parents may even curse them. Familial relations find their basis in attachments.

·      Love

When Bhaavna flows in the middle (sam-tal) at an equal level, it is called Love. Attachment has demands and is based on  give & take. In Attachment there is no fulfilment, no quenching of the thirst. But in Love, there is sacrifice.

For example: a child may give his hand in fire (to play – unaware of its effects). The mother may pull the child’s hand and the child may cry. The mother may hit the child as a lesson not to do it again. The child may think of the mother as a demon as she didn’t allow the child to play.

In love, their is sacrifice.

The stories of Laila and Majnu , Sohni and Mahiwaal, their relationships are relationships of love. Histroy bears testimony to their glorious sacrifices for love.

 

·      Devotion

Bhaavna when it flows upwards, it becomes devotion. It flows like a fountain – with a spring in its feet. The bliss of Devotion (Bhakti).

In Love, all your thoughts are lost. In Devotion all bad thoughts and deeds at the level of mind are drowned.  

In Bhakti, the Bhaav has been Ankit. In other words feelings, emotions and fire within  are in Oneness... Ik.

--

Sources: 

1. Sri Guru Granth Sahib

2. Adapted from lectures of Sant Maskeen ji

Breath - Don’t use a lot where a little will do

"Don’t use a lot where a little will do.”

- Conventional Wisdom

AWARENESS

How does it make you feel when you consciously think about your breath? Breathing is after all just normal stuff which works automatically without a person’s conscious effort.

A few years ago, my breath awareness was limited to a few situations - for example when in a stressful situation I would take a few deep breaths and get on with my work again. Other moments I was reminded of my breathing was in high altitude (upwards of 3000 meters), when each step becomes a sort of a rhythmic play of breath & steps. One step after the other, you learn to take it in your stride. 

Since my own practice of Pranayama (yogic-breathing), which has brought long term improvements to my respiratory system including lung capacity, strengthening of the breathing muscles and improvement in efficiency of breathing, I have rediscovered my rhythmic play of breath & steps.  

So we will see how that works, and set some ground first.

BACKGROUND

Let us take a short peek into some studies on breathing. A healthy person in normal conditions (without chronic ailments) breathes in from 6-7 liters of air per minute. 

 DID YOU KNOW: A normal person breathes in almost 11000 liters of air every day

The air that is inhaled has about 20-percent oxygen, and the air that is exhaled is about 15-percent oxygen, so about 5-percent of the volume of air is consumed in each breath and converted to carbon dioxide. Therefore, a human being uses about 550 liters of pure oxygen (19 cubic feet) per day.

People with chronic ailments ‘breathe in more air’

Below is a chart that shows persons with some sort of chronic ailments tending to breathe in more air per minute a.k.a. minute ventilation. 

Persons with chronic ailments tend to breathe in more than required air into the system therefore Hyperventilating. Breathing deeper and faster than normal (hyperventilating) alkalises the body by expelling carbon dioxide (CO2) and increases the sensitivity of the nervous system.

  DID YOU KNOW: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is good for you

 

"Normal ventilation leads to high (or normal) CO2 in the arterial blood and body cells. As a result, O2 transport is normal and a healthy person has normal oxygen values in the brain, heart and other body organs and cells."

Prolonged or excessive hyperventilation can cause adverse effects including bronchoconstriction; dizziness, fainting and headaches due to vasoconstriction and  unsteadiness, skin rashes, excessive appetite and emotional instability due to increased nervous sensitivity. (Simon-Borg Oliver in Applied Anatomy & Physiology of Yoga).

(image normalbreathing.com :

with enough CO2  the blood vessels open; letting fresh blood flow in to the vital organs like heart, brain, kidneys, liver etc. In case of less CO2 constricting of the blood vessels restricts the blood flow)

DID YOU KNOW: Healthy individuals today are breathing in more than a few decades ago  

Studies have also shown that in the modern day, due to our lifestyles and environment the normal person is also hyperventilating as clear from this chart below.

                                             

(source: normalbreathing.com)

In Yogic breathing (Pranayama), periods of Hyperventilation are managed to a certain advantage in a way that mild alkalosis increases mobility (flexibility) of joints, muscles and nerves because of fluid surrounding these structures becomes less vicious in alkaline conditions.

 

SO WHAT IS THE FUSS ABOUT BREATHING LESS? 

Short periods of Hyperventilation can assist in internal cleansing, help strength, flexibility and fitness and prepare a yoga practitioner for  a meditative lifestyle which mainly involves Hypoventilation (reduced minute ventilation).

Let us look at how yogic breathing works. Yogic breathing is synonymous with Diaphragmatic breathing - which sends the Diaphragm ‘down and out’ with the inhale and ‘in and up’ with the exhale. More can be found in our other blog piece here 

So how can breathing exercises increase CO2 levels?

According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, an experienced Yoga practitioner can achieve this by using Hypoventilation in the form of:

  1. respiratory suspension (breath-holding)

  2. long slow deep breathing 

  3. minimal breathing to “still the fluctuations in breath”

Hypoventilation causes physiological acidosis (acidic blood), hypoxia (reduced oxygen in blood) and hypercapnia (increased CO2 in blood).

Let us look at a few yogic breathing exercises that can cause us to Hypoventilate in a regulated way. 

 

BHRAMARI PRANAYAMA (Humming bee breath)

Bhramari is the type of pranayama that involves audible humming of the exhalation through the mouth. This  causes nitric oxide formation in the sinuses. Humming has been shown to cause fifteen times (15x) the normal production of nitric oxide (NO) gas in the sinuses of the skull (Weitzberg & Lundberg; 2002). 

NO has been shown to have several beneficial effects on the body. NO has also shown to regulate physiological processes such as vasodilation, thus enabling opening of the blood vessels allowing blood to reach vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys, liver etc). NO is also implicated  in smooth muscle relaxation, pregnancy and blood vessel formation. 

Due to the central anti-stress effect that Nitric Oxide has, yogic texts have always regarded bhramari pranayama with high esteem. 

 

NAADHI SODHANA PRANAYAMA (Alternative nostril breathing)

Nadhi = Channels

Sodhana = Cleansing 

As the name suggests, breathing in Nadhi Sodhana involves breathing in from one nostril and breathing out through the other. There are various rhythms and ratios of inhale to exhale including combinations of holding breath inside and holding the breath outside after the exhale, which are introduced over time with more practice. 

Typical benefits from Nadhi Sodhana pranayama include a slightly tonic effect on the mind, relaxing effect on the body as a whole (muscle relaxation, lower respiration rate, lower blood pressure), vasodilation and improved internal regulation (digestion, elimination, hormones, detoxification, sleep quality, circadian rhythms). 

 

CONCLUSIONS

Along with breathing exercises, it is very important to address lifestyle changes which impact chronic overbreathing. Below for a partial list of important factors to this lifestyle change: 

1) Understanding that breathing less at rest delivers more oxygen to body cells

2) Constant commitment to breathing normalization since the purpose of training is to change one's automatic breathing pattern

3) Adopting Dietary changes to introduce more alkaline foods & lifestyle 

4) Understanding that even short episodes of hyperventilation (e.g., heavy breathing for 1-2 hours during sleep, overeating, or stress) produce serious enough damage

5) Creating a daily ritual to practice Pranayama and some basic cleansing exercises

These are some of the changes, which along with our regular yoga practice can help us achieve a state of homeostasis with our breath. 

 

And remember again, Breathe…but not too much! 

The FIVE sheaths of body

Our body has many hidden layers under. We are not only what we see each other on the outside.

Background

The vedic text of Taittiriya Upanishad embedded in Yajurveda first gives us this Ananda Valli. The Ananda Valli asserts that knowing one's Self is the path to freedom from all concerns, fears and to a state of blissful living.

The Ananda Valli classifies these as concentric layers (sheaths) of knowledge-seeking.

1. Annamayi Kosh

2. Pranamayi Kosh

3. Manomayi Kosh

4. Vijnanamayi Kosh

5. Anandmayi Kosh

We have the journey towards Anand (Bliss) after crossing everything. Anand is the core inside and the layers outside reaching to Annamayi Kosh. What we see each other at a bodily level – this is Annamayi Kosh. Every kosh (Sarir) has its own food and demands and character.

Of the five Sarirs (Sheaths) the 5th Sarir is identified as mool – it is Source (aadhaar) of blissful being.

                                                                     

Image source: By Torsrthidesen (Wikimedia commons)

1. ANNAMAYI KOSH – ANN MEANS FOOD. THOUGH THE PHYSICAL SHEATH, OR PHYSICAL BODY, IS THE MOST TANGIBLE ASPECT OF OURSELVES.

The verse in Ananda Valli offers relational connection between natural elements, asserting that everything is food to something else in universe at the empirical level of existence, either at a given time, or over time.

Most of the animals, vegetation, insects are living at this level of body. Even some Human beings are only living at this layer of existence only.

Worries = Chinta

When someone is worried, it is mostly about tomorrow – what will come tomorrow. It is called Chinta. Some live in the memories of the past, some worry about the tomorrow.

“I have this today, will I have it tomorrow or not” – Chinta (Worry)

A Sufi poet Sheikh Saadi – you may worry about anything, but do not worry about food. He says he is surprised that the milk in mother’s breasts comes first even before the child is born. Food is available even before a child can move.

 Eckart Tolle, a famous spiritually enlightened Western philosopher says in his interview that when he left everything for good and went and sat in a park on a bench – starting a new journey of his life, he was worried about food. But there was someone who always provided for him. There was always food.

 In the same interview he also says that he didn’t know that he could still live a spiritual life in a society and he that he discovered it over years with his own reflection and practice.

 One doesn’t need to go to the mountains to be a Yogi or Saint. Living like a saint in a society is the highest test of your spiritual awakening.  

 

The Future and the Past

Dharmic Rishis (Saints) have observed, that young or youth will mostly worry about the future. The aged and elderly will mostly be in memories of yesterday. They won’t talk about the tomorrow or coming future – as coming future reminds of death. Death is far away from Youth, so chinta is of future.

“Beet gayi di yaad payi hadda nu khaave, aaun waale sehen paya mann nu tadapaave”

- Bhai Bir Singh ji (Punjabi poet)

The time that has passed, the memories are eating my bones. Future is hanging on me and my soul is anxious.

So what about ‘today’?

Today went by in the memories of yesterday and the worries (chinta) of the future. That’s how our ‘today’ went by.

“Life is going by - the breath that was in my mouth (an expression), I didn’t think how to best use it. I just think about the memories of my past breaths and worry about my future breaths.”

- Bhai Nand Lal, 17th century Persian poet in Punjab region of undivided India

We waste the present, the Now. Lets talk about NOW.

People who are associated & living in the future will be very worried person.

People who are living in the past are dangerous.

In Sanskrit, the past is known as ‘Bhootkaal’. People who live in the past were known as Bhoots (Ghosts).

 

Rishi munis (Saints) of India have said:

The ones who live in the present are Devtas (Godly)

The ones who live in the future are Insaan (Humans)

The ones who live in the past are Bhoot (Ghosts)

 The one who doesn’t value the present will have either worries of tomorrow or memories of yesterday.

To live in today is make the best of today. Not to worry about tomorrow. Not bear the weight of yesterday and its memories.

Sometimes we can see how people are stuck with their pasts. People write, EX- Member of Parliament on their names, signatures etc, therefore indicating that the past (Bhoot) is stuck to it.

What you are today is the question?

 Chinta = Worry

Chinta rog (disease) is not with birds, insects and animals. They live in the moment, the now, but because they do not have this knowledge (Gyaan) that they are living in the moment. Despite living so beautifully they cannot elevate their living. They do not have a similar intelligence like humans, most of the animal kingdom. (Baudhak bal nahin hai).

Humans have this knowledge (Gyaan), buddhi etc but despite that most don’t realize how to live in the now, today. Living  for today is important, because this is what will become our past, the memories.

In Punjabi (north Indian language) there is a saying “Aj nu Sawaar” which means - Improve your today.

Anecdote: Raavan

Raavan (the demon) was a very good disciple of Shiv ji. He knew that riches will not make Shivji happy, so he severed his head for Shiv ji many times. Shivji put his head together and gave him a boon.

Now Raavan has fallen in the battlefield after Shri Ram has struck him with his arrow. Shri Ram said a great man has fallen today. He asked his brother to go and take some value and knowledge from him. Laxman (brother of Shri Ram) goes and talks to Raavan. As he stood by Raavan’s head, Raavan doesn’t say a word. Laxman comes back and is sent back again by Ram. Shri Ram tells him to go and stand by his feet, explaining him that there is a certain way of asking.

Raavan then says to Laxman, there is no tomorrow in man’s life. If there is something important do it today with your life. After saying this he passes away.

 

Anecdote: Tulsi Das

Tulsi = Indian Basilicum with many medicinal properties.

Tulsi Das was a great poet of his time. He was orphaned at an early age and studied at an ashram (community place). All villages in India and homes used to have Tulsi as it has so many medicinal properties. Tulsi Das used to do seva (service) of these Tulsi plants. That’s how his name came about. Once the owner of the Ashram was out for some moths and told Tulsi Das to take care of the plants.

After a couple of months when he came back, he found out that half of the plants were shrivelled (murjhaaye). He asked if Tulsi das had watered the plants. Tulsi Das said yes I was taking good care of them. But his Vidya Guru (Teacher) said, no you are lying. If you took good care then how can they be shriveled. Tusli Das felt a big jolt and heartache.  With that pain he became a Poet.

“Tulsi birwaa baag ke seenchat hun kumlaaye, Ram bharose jo rahe to parvat par hariyaye”

- Tulsi Das

But then told his Vidya Guru (Teacher) that I have been watering, but what about the trees at the mountains – who are not taken care of – but are standing green. Nobody is responsible there. If someone had to die, how can I change that?

His Vidya Guru gave him a big hug and said you are living in now. You are living in the present. Your higher being has today come out. 

 

2. PRANAMAYI KOSH

UNDER ANNAMAYI KOSH IS THE NEXT LAYER PRANAMAYI KOSH. FOCUSSING ON FRESH CLEAN AIR. IF SOMEONE STAYS ALL THE TIME IN BAD AIR, THE PERSON MAY BECOME DISEASED (ROGI).  WE ALL NEED FRESH AIR.

However, by eating bad food one can satisy the Annamayi kosh, the same with bad air, man can survive with bad air, but will become diseased (rogi).

Yoga devotes an entire class of practices called pranayama to replenishing the vitality of the pranamayi kosh. Exercises like diaphragmatic breathing, the complete yogic breath, and alternate nostril breathing are specifically designed to enhance the proper functioning of your second sheath.

In addition, getting plenty of fresh air and sunlight is essential for maintaining the health of the vital force. 

 

3. MANNAMAYI KOSH

THE THIRD KOSHA (SHEATH) IS MANNAMAYI KOSH. IT IS LIVING ON VICHAAR (THOUGHTS & THINKING). THE FOOD FOR THIS LAYER OF BODY IS GOOD THOUGHTS.

If you are reading this article, then it is the need of the Mannamayi Kosh. Like we need good food Annamayi Kosh and Pranamayi Kosh needs clean air, similarly Mannmayi Kosh needs good thoughts.

But like even by eating bad food we can suppress hunger, even bad thoughts, bad literature etc can feed and satisfy the Mannamayi Kosh. Mannamayi kosh needs vichaar. Without it one cannot live. Even if you sit in the temple the Mann it always in vichaar.

When one has a habit of eating bad food, one cannot appreciate good food anymore. Similarly, too much of bad thinking (or thoughts) can lead to a situation where you cannot appreciate good ones anymore.

Good thoughts has only a few sources. And why let bad thoughts go inside, like you don’t allow bad smelly food to go inside. It also becomes food. Where food becomes blood, vichaar (thoughts) mix with this blood.

 

Iqbal, a poet writes –

Ek phool gar chaahey toh gulistaan ban jaaye

Ek boond gar chaahey toh toofan ban jaaye

Ek khoon ke katre main wo taseer hai

Ek kaum ki taareekh ka anvaan ban jaaye

 

In summary: If our blood is clean – with good food & thoughts, then even one drop of blood can bring a revolution.

Mannamayi kosh needs good thoughts (Shubh Vichaar).

 

4. VIJANMAYI KOSH

THE FOURTH KOSH (SHEATH) IS CALLED VIJANMAYI KOSH. ITS FOOD IS HOSH (HIGH AWARENESS).

Being aware & mindful. Whatever we do eat, hear, talk, walk or any other activity – it is mindful. Even your sleep will be mindful. It’s often translated as “intellect,” but the real meaning is broader, encompassing all the functions of the higher mind, including conscience and will. 

 

5. ANANDAMAYI KOSH

THE ANANDAMAYA KOSHA IS THE FINAL AND THINNEST VEIL STANDING BETWEEN OUR ORDINARY AWARENESS AND OUR HIGHER SELF.

Many individuals who’ve had near-death experiences have reported experiencing a brilliant white light radiating all-embracing wisdom and unconditional love. This is the experience of the anandamaya kosha. Saints and mystics purify their minds so that they can have this experience throughout life, not just for a fleeting moment at death. (Yoga International – The Koshas)

When we eat good food, breathe good air, think good and are mindful, it brings in the feeling of bliss. Saadhna (practice) of hosh (high awareness) has to be done everyday.

Sareer sarovar bheetarey

Aachey kamal anoop

Param jot pur khok tumyo

Jaakey rekh na roop

 

The fifth kosh is like a lotus flower. Fragnanced, beautiful, anand saroop (outlook of bliss), playful & in complete joy .

 

 

May all reach this realisation of Ananda.

Yogic Breathing - Sports and daily life

How are you breathing today? 

Breath bring us in touch with ourselves immediately. Awareness of how we breathe is the first step to meditativeness. Yogic breathing is focussed on the Diaphragm, the muscle responsible for breathing.

It is a thin, dome-shaped muscle that separates the abdominal cavity from the thoracic cavity. During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts, so that its centre moves downward and when the diaphragm relaxes, elastic recoil of the thoracic wall causes the thoracic cavity to contract, forcing air out of the lungs.

In this video below, see how the riders from Tour de France use diaphragmatic breathing.

EXERCISE: Take a moment to put your one hand on the abdomen and take a few deep inhales and exhales. Feel the abdomen move out (like a filled balloon on the inhale)

 

YOGIC BREATHING -  SPORT & DAILY LIFE

The whole philosophy of pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) is based on improving the efficiency of our body system - such as respiratory & cardio-vascular and influencing our Nervous system to keep things relaxed and calm.

The base of each Yogic breathing technique is "Diaphragmatic breathing" 

In endurance sports like long distance running, biking, squash etc athletes can take that additional advantage of the knowledge of their breathing by practicing it regularly under the guidance of a yoga teacher or a breath specialist who can guide them through the various exercises and its benefits.

Once Yogic breathing becomes a part of your daily life - it can be practiced anytime of the day and at any place. Slowly, it becomes a part of our daily lives and we can enjoy better living quality and better all round sports performance as an athlete. 

Join our Pranayama workshops for learning more about it. 

Film credits: 30BananasaDay

Happiness and more...

What is attained at the state of body (sareer), is called „Sukh“ (Happiness / Comfortableness).

What is attained at the state of mind-soul (mann), is called „Anand“ (Blissfulness).

One is Sukh, the other is Anand. They are two vastly apart things like earth and sky.  Sukh, if any, will turn to Dukh (unhappiness) at some point. Youth may bring Sukh, but one day it will turn into Old Age (Budhaapa – read Dukh). Birth of a child may be Sukh, but death will turn it into unhappiness. Sukh will eventually turn into Dukh, it has its opposite.

On the other hand „Anand“ is blissfulness. There is no other state opposite of Anand. No second state of being (doosri awastha). Sukh is achieved from material things (Padaarath), Anand is attained with oneness with supreme energy (Parmaatma) inside of us . Sareer (body) needs Sukh – which it will get from material things but not from inside, only from outside – wealth, family, house, relationships etc. For material things one must look on the outside.  Anand is attained from inside.

One who is looking inside for material things (Padaarath) is living in confusion (bharam). One who is looking outside for oneness with the energy (Parmaatma) is also living in bharam.

„It does not mean Parmaatma doesn’t reside outside. But when we realise that when it is inside, it is near us. If  we have not made the effort to find Parmaatma so near, how will we find this supreme energy outside - far away from us?

Padaaraths have to be found outside – gold has to be found, wealth has to be found, beautiful house has to be found. Parmaatma need not be found, we just need to step in and enter the house of love and remembrance (yaad). The relationships of yaad (remembrance / acknowledgement) are of greater importance than the relationships of blood.

Till the time we have to find / look for padaarath – we will always feel hungry. You’ve eaten food in morning – in evening we are again hungry. There is more and more hunger – it is never ending.

Mann (Mind-Soul); if it enters the house of yaad, there is a sense of all hunger being quietend.

So how do we trust this? How can we?

In this 21st century, we are leading a life with the fundament of Vigyaan (Science) and not Gyaan (knowledge of Paramaatma). The more our trust in science has kept increasing, the lesser we trust Parmaatma.

What is Science – To turn the padaarath (material things) according to our needs (apne anukool karna) is in simple words science. If the air is too hot, to make air conditioners to cool it. If water is too cold and difficult to shower,  make it hot. Turning metals like Iron into shapes and designs as we want them to be. Tools have been made by man, iron is made by nature (prakriti).  Man changes the way iron (or other metals) are offered by prakriti.

Gold, Silver, Iron, Copper, Earth, Air – all of them have been turned by man to suit his/her needs and requirements. Water naturally flows down, but  we pump it up to high buildings, according to our requirements. If we don’t turn prakriti according to our needs, man will not get kinds of Sukh (comforts).

Vigyaan is standing on the ground that padaarath needs to be changed acording to our needs. This will give Sukh. Padaarath are all outside. Inside one cannot find gold, silver, copper, iron, wealth, family, house, food etc. Because all Sukh of body are outside, padarath are turned into the requirments of the body.

On the other hand – Mann(Mind-soul) will find Blissfulness (Anand) when it is turned to Parmaatma. If we dont do this, we will not experience Anand. Sareer will have all Sukh with padarath, but mann will be in chaos (kalesh).

It can be fairly said that most people who are very happy  at the level of body , are equally opposite unhappy at  the level of mind-soul. The body needs Sukh, the mind-soul needs Anand. Sukh comes from material things, Anand comes from the connection to the inner supreme energy. One day Sukh will convert to Dukh (unhappiness).

With the needs of the body, the mind can become distracted too. The mind makes the requirements of the body, like its own. But his is not what it needs. So what happens is that material things are now possessed, the body is in Sukh (happiness) but the mind did not receive Anand (bliss). It can be fairly claimed that as the comforts for body increase, the mind goes further in a trumoil.

There are only very few people who may be happy at a physical level and blissful psychological level. In ancient Indian history a few names come up such as the Philosopher-King Janak  or Guru Gobind Singh ji (Tenth master of the Sikhs).

„Meri muflasi se tang aakar, kahin aur jaane waale – ye sakoon na mil sakega tujhe reshmi kafan main“

Ameer Minai, Sufi poet

 

 The urdu langauge poet says , that these big people with big wealth and family and houses and silk clothes seem to him like they wear a beautiful cloth to cover their dead souls.

The day of end of this body comes, the material things stay – but there is no more a body to enjoy these. Eyes will one day end but beauty will live for ever, our ears that listen will one day be gone but music never has stopped, our tongue one day will end eating & tasting but the tastes of the material things (ras) won’t end .

Bhartar Yogi says „Human thinks I am consuming these materials –NO, actually the materials have been consuming us“

Sareer (body)needs Sukh (comforts / happiness), Mann (mind-soul) needs Anand (bliss). Sukh will not be without padaarath (materials). If we are hungry, we need to eat. If we need something can’t have it without wealth. We have to search for it.

If Sareer (body) doesn’t get Sukh, if it doesn’t get these material things – it will suffer.

If Mann (mind) doesn’t get Anand, if it doesn’t connect with parmaatma (all pervading energy within us)  – it goes in complete chaos.

 

In the end it is for us to reflect on it philosophically, how to attain this balance . Our lives are over in a blink of an eye. What is the feeling we want to have when breathing our last.

A true yogi will reflect on this and always strive to find this balance, to make his or her life better and then, the lives of the people around him or her.

 

Sources:

(i)             Sant Maskeen Singh 

(ii)           Bhagvad Gita

(iii)          Sri Guru Granth Sahib

(iv)          Ramayana