PRANA AND PRANAYAMA
The Conscious Control of Breath
To breath means to live, and to live means to breath.
Every living creature depends on breathing. Stopping the breathing means stopping the life itself. While we can live without food for a few weeks, without water a few days, life without breathing is possible only a few minutes. This shows how important is the breathing for the entire organism. Every function of the body is connected to the breathing. A person is born and naturally breathes. In fact it is an inherent gift--- as well as like the one to see, hear, smell, and feel. However he/she really doesn't know how to breathe, it breaths automatically as if that is enough. It is interesting to mention that this very important process for our existence is not developed and we never tried to study and master it.
No modern science turned its attention to study the breathing. Because the correct breathing is an art that brings great health and longevity. The main source of the human energy can be found in a few liter/pound of inhaled air per second, that is what makes for 21 600 breathing per day more than 25 cub m / 92.0301 square ft air, which is transformed and regulated by our lungs.
The quantity and quality of the inhaled air, and with the rhythm that is absorbed and transformed into a life energy force determines our physical and psychological health as well the longevity of our life.
When a living being (including animals) breathes faster and shallowly, its life is shortened, the opposite when it breathes slowly and deep the possibility of longer lifespan is greater.
That is why the Yogis calculate life not by days or years but by the count of the inhalation and exhalation.
The duration of normal human life should be between 100 to 130 years, if we consciously comply with the rhythm of the breathing. Why then the average human being cannot get to that age?
The disorganized human activity, the insufficient hygiene and the incorrect breathing are the factors not to achieve great health and longevity. Furthermore the civilized people don't really know how to breathe!
The artificial lifestyle in the big cities with its modern apartments and houses, and the way one works under stress in the factories and offices makes us forget the natural rhythm of the breathing. The negative emotional life, the fear and the nervous tension literally ( if we can say it in that way) contract the throat, hinder the deep and correct breathing. The way the children breathe today is enough only to barely ventilate their lungs and to grow, but is not enough for complete healthy existence. Most people breathe superficially using 1/10 of their lung capacity and this habit shortens the lifespan, lowers the vitality and predisposes them to diseases. In some instances nature forces us to breathe deeply. For example, when during the summer we take a cold shower, involuntarily we begin to breathe deep. If we pay attention we will notice that the chest is expanding and contracting as if someone ordered us to do it, but it is only because an external irritant acts upon the skin.
Thousands of years ago before even modern medicine came into use, the Yogis had known that the skin can breathe almost like a second lung, and without such, life could not be possible. Every external irritant which has a contact with our skin-cold, heat, or physical touch, reflects automatically upon the rhythm of our breathing. The deep breathing is necessary for our all over health. Unfortunately, however, the modern civilized person clogs the pores of the skin, which is in alliance with the lungs and exercises a beneficial effect on autonomic nervous system. An analogy we can use here; “It is not the same to clean only one part of your body than the whole body” isn't it?
Sadly the people are satisfied to clean only one part of the lung and breathe only with 1/10 of the lung capacity.
The quantity of the moving air in and out of our lungs, depends by the way how one breathes.