In the previous article, we discussed how a simple breathing technique can optimise the metabolism of the body thereby increasing the life span of the cell and thus slowing down the ageing process. This is the first immediate benefit that basic yogic kriyas have on the metabolism of the physical body. I hope that some of the readers of the last week’s article have practiced the abdominal breathing technique. Yog becomes relevant to an individual only when it is practiced regularly. Yog is all about experiences and these have to be the practitioner’s experiences.
Let us now make a minor alteration to this abdominal breathing technique.
Sit with a straight spine. Close your eyes and take your awareness to the navel and start abdominal breathing. With every inhalation your abdomen expands and on exhaling it contracts. Make your breath slower, deeper and gentler.
Slowly as you practice the abdominal breathing, feel the air entering the nostrils and flowing through your throat gently making a hissing sound through it.
Continue with abdominal breathing with this modification with the mouth closed.
The above mentioned practice is called the Ujjai Pranayama and it will be used in all our future practices.
Breathing in the right way has a direct effect on our health and state of being.
Look around yourself in nature and observe the breathing rates of different animals or insects around you. You will find that animals that breathe the fastest have the shortest life span while animals that breathe the slowest have the longest. A dog which takes 70-80 breaths a minute lives up to 12-13 years maximum, while a tortoise lives for over 150 years taking just one-two breaths a minute.
During the respiration process, a lot of energy is produced, but as an equal and opposite reaction, a lot of toxicity is also generated in the form of ‘ama’. These toxins corrode the cell and lead to ageing. The faster one breathes, the more are the toxins produced and the faster is the rate of deterioration of cell.
Ujjai Pranayama, is a complete balancing and purification technique, that rids the body off toxins (released during the respiration process), by heating it to a temperature where toxins are removed and simultaneously cooling it making for a complete balance.
This pranayama, has an instant calming effect on the entire body. Whenever you are angry, nervous, anxious, scared or emotional – the first symptom is – the breath shoots up! In such circumstances, you may attempt ujjai and notice the difference yourself.
Having this basic understanding of the style of breathing and its affect on the physical we will start next week with the practice of understanding who we are on the physical level with joint rotations as detailed in Sanatan Kriya.
Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic sciences. His book, ‘Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension’ is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing.