"Breathing is very important. Without breathing spiritual body is not coming, spiritual mind also is not coming." - Sri K Pattabhi Jois
Similarities Over Differences
What do Christians, Muslims, Hindu’s, Buddhists, Atheists all have in common?
What do children, seniors, males, females, Africans, Caucasians, Asians all have in common?
What do criminals, saints, businessmen, prostitutes, preachers all have in common?
What does every single human being alive on the planet right now have in common?
We all breathe.
No matter what the person's belief system, the actions they take take or what their outer shell looks like this one thing is done by every single human alive.
You could be a saint and you breathe. You can be the worst criminal in the world and you still breathe.
Agreed? Next question.
So what is it that is breathing you?
Have you thought about that before? What is this force that is creating the breath in you?
There are many names you may come up with depending on where you were born and what you were told.
You might call it God, Brahma, Source, or Tao to name a few.
These are just names. Labels.
Like truth it is only really one thing with different names. This force can be pointed to with these names but the reality is that it is beyond naming.
Feeling is Understanding - Wim Hof.
What breathes you isn't something that is best understood by your head. It is better understood when it is felt
Just stop right now. Find a quiet space and lay on your back. Let everything go, all physical doing and then see if you can feel the breath moving inside you.
Don't think about it. Don't do anything. Just feel your breath. Feel the inhale and feel the exhale.
This is actually a miracle.
You don't have to do a thing and you are completely taken care of.
This force has been doing this for you your whole life.
Since the day you were born and it will until the day you die.
It's a comforting feeling isn't it? To know this whole life isn't all on your shoulders? It's always been this way we just forget it.
I'm certain that senses are closer to God than our thoughts" - Karlfried Graf Durekheim
The Yoga of Sleep
Another place this is really apparent is when you fall asleep.
No one really knows what happens when you sleep but your body is taken care of while "you" take a break and head off into dream land.
"You" don't have to do a thing except create the conditions for that to take place. To "allow" that force to come in and take care of you.
You find a nice dark quiet place. Make sure you won't get disturbed. Make sure you are nice and comfortable and then as long as your thoughts don't get in the way you hand over the controls.
Yoga with Breath as the Focus
When you practice yoga with the breath as the central focus it's a similar concept as preparing to go to sleep.
You are taking some time to create the conditions for the breath to come through. To experience the breath.
This is done when you prepare the space by reducing the amount of external distractions. Next you prepare your body so the breath can be experienced without any physical blocks.
It's similar to preparing a garden to allow the plants to grow easier. We create the conditions to let "that which can't be named" in.
In the case of our bodies it comes in through the breath.
Unlike falling asleep, in yoga practice you consciously participate in it. You surrender to it.
This is no small thing.
This is "that which is beyond naming" coming through you.
Just the same way it comes through in an evening sunset, in your lover's eyes, in your child's laugh or in the light of the full moon.
And this is available to you anytime you want.
This is yoga. It's in the breath and it's what unites us all.
"This yoga is not for exercise. Yoga is showing where to look for the soul - that is all." -Sri K Pattabhi Jois.
The method I have learned that helps me experience the breath is called Ashtanga Yoga. Where Ashtanga begin is with the Sun Salutations - Sanskrit is Surya Namaskara but often when this is taught the most important piece is left out. Let me show you what I mean.......