“When the breath is unrestrained, so is the mind. However, when the breath is under control, the mind will be tamed as well.”
“Breath is life” states a famous yogic proverb. In the absence of breath, life fades out.
When a child is born, his first breath is life. Any obstruction or delay of this process results in his death. On the other hand, the last breath of a person signifies his passage into another dimension and his parting from this world.
Between these two points in time, birth and death, the human being breathes incessantly, even if unaware of this process most of the time.
Yogic teachings have always stressed the importance of a correct pattern of breathing. According to tantric teachings, a healthy person breathes approximately 21.600 times in 24 hours. This means one breath every four seconds.
Normally, a person breathes slower when relaxed, and faster when active. The act of love usually accentuates the breath, the heart is more active, and the blood flows easier.
However, Eastern sages tell us of certain prolonged erotic games where breathing is deep, rare, and fully controlled.
According to the yogic tradition, life is in close relationship with patterns of breathing. One can easily notice this in the case of reptiles.
Take, for instance the turtle: it breathes very rarely and yet has an exceptionally long life. On the other hand, the mouse has a rapid breathing pattern and lives a short life.
According to the Gheranda Samhita, “By slowing down the rhythm of your breath, the vital energy will reach high levels; by increasing the frequency of your breath, this energy of life will diminish”.
Another important Hindu text, Shiva Samhita, states:
“The body of the one who regularly practices breathing techniques develops harmoniously, has a nice smell and becomes strong and attractive. The sage who practices these techniques will destroy all the Karma accumulated in this life or from his previous lives.
Thus, many yogis devote their lives exclusively to this practice, that is to obtain the conscious and complete control over the breath, knowing that this will make them gain control over their destiny.”
METHOD FOR BECOMING AWARE OF YOUR BREATH
Try it even now, without having to change your ordinary rhythm or pattern of breathing. Place one hand on your abdomen, a little higher than the navel.
First, notice if the abdomen is completely relaxed when you breathe in. A normal breath occurs when the inferior part of the abdomen enlarges as the air gets inside the lungs and it contracts when breathing out.
Yet, many people breathe in a different manner. In addition, many people breathe only through their mouths instead of their noses. Such practice leads to losing the capacity to focus, physical weakness and heart diseases.
Tantric learning asserts that, if the two lovers breath abnormally and they are stressed, then there is a danger of impotence, lack of normal libido, emotional and mental problems as well as physical debility.
In Tantric and Taoist texts, the importance of breathing rarely during intercourse is accentuated because then the consciousness focuses on assimilating and retaining the energy of life.