The #1 key of mindful yoga
Realising the breath: the number one key of mindful yoga. By Jacqualine Tara Herron
The flow of your breath has many associations and connections that influence the relationship between your body, mind and emotions. Yet, despite being fundamental to our existence, it is largely untapped as a source for healing and regeneration.
Breathing serves many purposes. Besides being the fundamental thread linking birth to death, it functions as a bridge between your body and mind over which fresh energy and insight travels freely, awakening your conscious awareness.
Breathing recharges the electrical currents in and around the body, balancing the vibrational messaging that regulates the heartbeat, calming the nervous system, improving physical balance, sensory awareness and attunement.
The depth through which breathing influences our conscious and subconscious mind is a science within itself and at the very core of yoga — known as Pranayama, breathing techniques, and Pranic Healing, the balanced circulation of prana, in Ayurveda. You can experience the efficacy of its power and protection through practicing yoga, meditation and other forms of Ayurvedic healing.
Prana exists in all living things and all living things exist within prana. It is the pure vital energy that sustains life as we know it from within and without.
The densest form of prana is drawn in through the breath to the lungs enriching our oxygen levels and absorption into the bloodstream and also through the digestion of fresh food. The most subtle form of prana is in the quality of our thought processes and state of mind which influences our consciousness and overall wellbeing.
The correct flow of prana via the nasal passages and subtle energy channels known as ‘Nadis’, helps to re-balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, generating more clarity and thereby enriching your cognitive and intuitive perception. This also supports the regeneration of a healthy internal condition, which can help resolve many kinds of illness or other imbalance.
The benefits of conscious breathing are all embracing. The increased intake of prana becomes an organic medicine that can transform your physical wellbeing as well as the nature of your psychological and spiritual experience.
When high levels of oxygen and prana are absorbed, this generates an internal chemistry that produces more neutralising, calming alkalinity to circulate through your bloodstream enriching the quality of your blood cells, reducing inflammation and naturally detoxing visceral tissue.
This is your natural, internal pharmacy of bio-chemical change and regeneration-boosting healing and reducing the symptoms of stress. This innately helps you to feel happier which, by default, makes you healthier.
The cycle of repair is also stimulated by experiencing happy, creative and peaceful thoughts that generate harmonious vibrations of wellbeing, equally relaxing the central and autonomous nervous systems.
These vibrations then trigger the body to manufacture essential hormones which are released through the ductless glands of the endocrine system.
As these hormones flow throughout your body via the bloodstream to all your internal organs and muscles, they become neuro-chemicals that contain the ingredients that alter your chemistry, restoring healthy cells.
This whole process, in turn, purifies your lymphatic system via detoxifying the lymph nodes, thereby boosting your immune system, strengthening your ability to overcome many kinds of common infection or ill health. Your overall immunity becomes more effective even through diverse changing life conditions and environments.
On the other hand, all forms of tension or negativity, whether caused by injury, pain, fear, poor posture, anger, jealousy, anxiety or stress can produce toxic levels of agitation in the form of neuro chemicals such as cortisol or adrenaline that creates acidity in the bloodstream, which eventually deteriorates the physical bodily tissue damaging the efficiency of many bodily functions.
Acidity is degenerative and corrosive, causing inflammation, weakening connective tissue, digestion, elimination, bones, viscera and most importantly the innate power of healing potential and regeneration within you.
These acidic conditions can also affect the balance of the brain as the nutrients required to think with clarity are depleted and may manifest as loss of patience, sleeplessness, poor concentration and depression amongst other psychological imbalances.
Psycho-neuro-immunology is a term used by neuro scientists to show that there are verifiable bio-chemical links between our psychology (the way we think), the nervous system and the endocrine glands which secrete neuro-chemicals into the blood stream and govern our overall health, our moods and immunity.
Though relatively new to Western thinking, this knowledge has been the foundation of yogic philosophy for centuries.
This philosophy, Vedanta, teaches that all the internal activities of our human life form are connected and therefore the importance of acknowledging the whole person is essential in order to awaken the innate spirituality of our unique human potential.
Significant change happens when the body and mind are in repose, in a relaxed and receptive state of being.
Consider that stillness is not the absence of movement, it is in fact a fertile and nourishing environment for psychological and emotional integration.
Movement is the forerunner of change. Real change occurs in the midst of seeming stillness when energy is vibrating at such an intensely subtle level, that it can only be perceived through the internal environment of the senses and not the physical eye.
Here you have the space and pause to perceive, reflect and accept the sensations of change that are arising. The relationship of the body-mind integrates change through stillness allowing the body to transform itself naturally with significance.
In deep states of relaxation and meditation, theta waves have been monitored flowing from the brain, which signify a calm, highly attuned, aware yet detached quality of consciousness that can also be interpreted as a transcendent state of mind.
These theta waves influence the internal pharmacy of your miraculous human form to manufacture and distribute dynamic neuro chemicals and hormones such as serotonin and endorphins that give positive, uplifting and elevated feelings to our whole being forming harmonious waves of restoration.
Realising the breath
This is a very alkaline state for your body and mind.
A sense of fulfillment and contentment can arise and it is within this composed internal environment that the molecules of your psychological, emotional and physical make up have an opportunity to naturally re-align, restructure and rebuild themselves.
This is the purpose of Savasana, the yoga asana of repose, known as corpse pose, when prana can be fully integrated and saturates your being, body and mind post any yoga practice.
Realising your breath is the key to unlock the passage to peace.
It is always there for you as a friend and ally. The breath is the inner mistress of the master yogi and yogini which could be depicted as the yin-yang symbol of male and female integration between the breath, the active principle, and the body the receptive principle.
You have given birth to the breath and the breath has given birth to you; your miraculous consciousness.
Jacqualine Tara Herron has been integrating the essence of her journey through life into all aspects of her work since initiating Evolve Healing Arts school and Yogic Solutions in 1989. Teaching yoga and meditation as a way to bring consciousness, healing and gratitude into the body and mind, her way is imbued with a sensitive and intuitive wisdom that allows everyone to touch the peace and contentment already resting within. Being greatly influenced by her experience of Taoist, Sufi, Buddhist and yogic practice with many years living in retreat, her professional role as a creative director in the development of wellness projects and spas, brings a mindful quality to those environments, therapies and guest experience. Having a tactile nature, in tune with awakening the senses to liberate the mind and heart, she focuses her gifts on freeing people from habitual psychological, emotional and physical limitations to connect to a soulful sense of themselves and find fulfilment.