The Control of Breathing
The songwriter, Pablo Milanés says that in life, we need to constantly search for reasons to carry on breathing. We are continually breathing and we automatically adequate our heart rate to the activity we are performing.
The primary goal is to supply oxygen to every cell of our bodies and get rid of the carbon dioxide produced by the different chemical reactions responsible for our energy metabolism.
The pulmonary ventilation consists of a constant air interchange between our body and the environment. It looks for maintaining the pressure of all respiratory gases at all times even when the body is sleeping; in sum, it creates a balance between the oxygen from the arterial blood and the CO2 from the venous blood.
Breathing is considered an external manifestation of life and energy due to its remarkable characteristic of being automatic and voluntary. Its unconscious operation is controlled by one of the most primitive areas of the brain called the cerebral cortex.
The control of the respiratory system works automatically throughout the respiratory nerve center located in the brain stem and the nerve impulse conduction organs.
The respiratory system gets activated when receiving stimulus from some receptors allocated throughout the body like the central chemoreceptors. You may find theses receptors in the spinal fluid. They are at the same level as the carotid, right behind the neck sternocleidomastoid muscle. The respiratory mechanoreceptors are around the muscle fibers in joints and in some striated muscles. They examine the chemical blood status and flesh through a “data report”.
Breathing in India has a metaphysic significance. It combines the body, mind and the spiritual side of us. The Pranayama comes from the Sanskrit and marries up the significance of Praya as the primary breathing and basic source of existence and energy. On the other hand, Yama represents the control over that energy and it expands over our bodies, psyche and our soul.
For Indians, breathing means a more profound dimension, which contains itself tons of wisdom. Same meaning for the Greeks in the ancient world. Breathing was an element that mediates between the body and soul.
Pranayama is the control of the breath. A voluntary and conscious attempt to stabilize the flow of the pran and apana. They are two kinds of energy whose movements are dynamic and intimately linked to breathing. This control synchronizes both energies in order to obtain a state of balance and a harmonious interaction with others. It denotes some sort of cosmic power or better said, all the power of the universe that rallies itself as a vital life force. All this happens when all of us breath. There are many literatures that explains Pranayama in many ways. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika book; for instance, talks about some techniques of Pranayama. It states that anyone could obtain some level of wisdom needed to put in practice all the knowledge and self-healing methods by controlling the breath.
The Pranayama technique entails much more than simply breathing. Most importantly, to fully relax, gain balance and calm between the endogenous and exogenous. It is a term the embraces a wide range of meanings. All of them have a main condition and is that the practitioner should entirely reach the perfection in asana, a Yoga posture.
Breathing and its self-control is to change our consciousness and perspective of ourselves and certainly the world around us. In sum, Pranayama would be some kind of awakening of our spiritual energy or “kundalini”. If you are looking for a drastic, yet positive change in your life, you should start practicing Pranayama in order for you to change the way you see the exterior and the interior, but most importantly how you see yourself.
Tags: Mind and body