Breath is life. We depend on this simple, vital act. But as it’s something that happens so naturally, many of us pay little attention to it. So how can we gain control over our breathing and truly benefit from it? The wellbeing perks are almost endless, says pranayama yoga expert Michaela Olexova. So take a leaf out of her book and try the breathing ritual below to attune to your life force energy.
Take a deep inhale and exhale. How does it feel? Really, just stop for a minute and notice your breath or prana. Is it slow or fast, regular or uneven, shallow or deep? Does it feel expansive or restrictive?
The truth is many people wouldn’t even know what their breath should feel or sound like. We breathe every day yet we pay so little attention to our breathing. It happens naturally, subconsciously and it doesn’t really require much of our assistance.
We wouldn’t survive over three minutes if we didn’t breathe but little do people know that their breath holds much greater potential than just keeping us alive. According to the ancient yogic texts, it’s the most powerful source of energy that connects our body to the solar plexus – our battery or sun – and as such can control every cell in the body, manifesting itself from physical actions to thought force.
“Only when you learn how to control your breath, you can truly be in charge – not only of your thoughts and your actions but the whole of your life – manifesting your true dreams, desires and passions in this world!”
As described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, when tapped through specific breathing techniques or pranayama, this energy is released for physical and mental rejuvenation. Although he originally presented it as an essential exercise primarily aimed to improve our concentration, the concept of breath control has evolved over the centuries and has been also referred to as a spirit breath, directly connecting us to our souls.
Today, even modern medicine recognises that specific breathing techniques are beneficial in managing some of the disorders of a modern life such as stress, tension, anxiety or fear. However, there are also regular pranayama practitioners who consciously control their breath to calm and still their mind, improve focus and will power, enhance perception or awaken the dormant spiritual force.
The word ‘pranayama’ itself is a Sanskrit compound of two words ‘prana’ (life force) and ‘ayama’ (extend or expand) and one thing I’ve discovered over the last 15 years practicing and teaching yoga is how far one can go using the power of your breath, transforming yourself from where you are now to where you want to be – physically, mentally & spiritually.
15 Minutes To Life Force Attunement
Controlling your breath takes time, practice and guidance. Before you start your first attempts controlling it, let’s just sit comfortably with your eyes closed and begin noticing your breath, developing the connection and tuning in to your life force.
Body: Allow your body to breathe in its natural way and simply observe how the prana manifests in your physical body. Hold your focus in the ‘solar plexus’ around your naval and your heart. Start noticing the expansive movement in your abdomen and your chest as your body inhales and a sense of release as it exhales without you controlling it. Be present in this observation and slowly become aware of the rhythm and frequency of prana throughout your body. (5 minutes)
Mind: After your body starts relaxing, slowly move your focus to your mind using your third eye (Ajna Chakra) as your focal point. Keep breathing in a natural way. Notice your mind opening and expanding as your body inhales and the flow of your thoughts slowing down as your body exhales, leaving you with a sense of peace and clarity. If your monkey mind starts wandering off, bring your focus back to your third eye without force and continue observing your natural breath. (5 minutes)
Spirit: You should now be fully aware of your breath flowing through your body and mind and how it manifests on both levels. Moving even deeper may seem a bit tricky at first but trust that your regular practice removes any obstacles that hold you back. Start by scanning your spine, the centre of your being, with your inner eyes and continue watching your breath. On the very subtle level, visualise the prana rising upwards through your spine towards the crown chakra as your body inhales and washing down towards your seat as it exhales. Don’t control or force your breath. (5 minutes)
#GetYourOMBack at www.michaelaolexova.com