In Rebirthing circles, it is a common fact that is often belted out, that conscious breathing or conscious connected breathing helps bring about an expansion of consciousness. This is a no-brainer! Breath and the mind are closely interlinked to each other.
The best strategy to control the ever-jumpy mind is to bring the breath into a rhythm that can tame the mind like a kite that flies with the thread running high. Control the thread, control the breath, and the kite is under your control. That’s the way to control the mind! The ancient rishis knew it and the yogis know it. It is time for all folks to uncover the power withheld at the humble door of our own breath.
Breathwork is the process of total self-renewal at the mind-body-soul level through sacred breathing practices. Due to the depth of transformation that its practitioner experiences, it is known to empower one to “give a spiritual birth” to himself, hence Rebirthing Breathwork. Originally founded by the great immortal saint of the Himalayas, Mahavatar Babaji, it is the long-kept secret of the radiant rishis who reside there. Leonard Orr, a disciple of Babaji, is known to have brought it to the world.
Having been closely linked to learning and practicing Rebirthing Breathwork that uses conscious-connected breathing cycles and Kriya Yoga, the art of mastering the subtle energies in the body by moving the breath along the spine, I understand that Kriya Yoga is a powerful technique to self-mastery. Kriya uses devotion and attunement to the guru as a key component to mastery — and ultimately liberation, which is amiss in rebirthing and holotropic breathing. This very important aspect is functional to make any breathing practice not a dry, monotonous technique but an actual experience of our highest Self through grace and self-effort.
Mahavatar Babaji is the revered teacher who brought Kriya Yoga to our world, and Paramahansa Yogananda is the one who spread it to the West in the first half of the 20th century. Swami Kriyananda, founder of Ananda Sangha, took it further and shared the teachings of this powerful method of self-realization and also propagated the forming of World Brotherhood colonies in Italy, America and India.
Breathing with awareness and being in the now became widely popular in consciousness circles with the book Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Words like consciousness, awareness and being in the now, and being in the body, became common norms among people discussing spirituality in these circles. The science of conscious breathing is far more subtle than what we think and has been the subject of discussion by saints and seers for centuries.
“Paramahansa Yogananda also said that the mind is influenced by where in the nostrils the breath is felt to flow,” said Nayaswami Jyotish, spiritual director of Ananda Sangha “People of prim, judgmental disposition tend to breathe narrowly through the center of pinched nostrils, as if to avoid taking in too much of a messy universe. Millions have become familiar with the heavy, power-seeking Darth Vader Pranayam. Breathing through the mouth pulls the energy downward in the spine and deprives the brain of part of its oxygen supply. Yogananda said that the most beneficial place to feel the flow of breath is in the upper nostrils, where oxygen can pass easily into the frontal lobes of the brain.”
So, my dear friends, if you happen to be in spiritual circles where conscious breathing is the norm, take a moment and see if you also see joyful hearts, calmness in the faces and stillness in the body of the ones practicing it, for the true purpose of any breathing exercise is to help us tune in to the inner fountain of joy: the reflection of God within. When it shines forth, you cannot miss it!