In my yoga classes, I learned about the power of breath.
On average, the human body will die in approximately three weeks without food, three days without water, and three minutes without oxygen.
In a normal day, we breath around 20,000 times. In a passive manner, we inhale approximately 500 milliliters of air. During a long conscious breath that amount can increase by a factor of seven.
Prana is a Sanskrit word that translates as “vital life force.” Prana rides on the breath and is food for the mind and energy body. Just like a pen, prana is a tool. Pranayama is a series of breathing exercises that were developed to add consciousness to the breathing process. By controlling the flow of breath, we can increase the amount of prana in the body.
Our breath is the only friend that is with us on the first day, each following day, and our last day. This amazing friend is always free and never asks for anything in return.
When we focus on the breath, we calm the mind because breath has no demands. The body is the opposite with endless demands, needs, and desires. Each one tugs on the mind and disturbs the stillness. Through pranayama, we can return the focus inward and onto the breath resulting in a calm state of mind.
My Indian Yoga Guru, Surinder, taught that a lifelong practice of conscious breathing will lead me to my center.