Take it in any sense, it is true. The doctor cannot agree more with that, or the yogi, even the athiest. If there is one thing which is truly common among every living thing in the planet, it is breathing. And this breathing is the key to everything says none other than the Masters of the Mind aka our sages, rishis, munis, raja-yogis, hatha-yogis, the crown of all, Patanjali Muni
Try this experiment. When you are about to sleep, watch your breathing. You will notice that it has reduced greatly and is almost subtle. Watch your breath after you have climbed up the stairs, the obvious difference is felt. But this is not all, the breathing holds the key to our very realization. The name Pranayama, which is derived from Prana or Life Force and Yama – the regulation is all about breathing properly.
GnanaBoomi’s favourite Swami Vivekananda narrated the following story to the western world, which conveys the importance of breathing. Let us see it in his own words.
There was once a minister to a great king. He fell into disgrace. The king, as a punishment, ordered him to be shut up in the top of a very high tower. This was done, and the minister was left there to perish. He had a faithful wife, however, who came to the tower at night and called to her husband at the top to know what she could do to help him. He told her to return to the tower the following night and bring with her a long rope, some stout twine, pack thread, silken thread, a beetle, and a little honey. Wondering much, the good wife obeyed her husband, and brought him the desired articles. The husband directed her to attach the silken thread firmly to the beetle, then to smear its horns with a drop of honey, and to set it free on the wall of the tower, with its head pointing upwards. She obeyed all these instructions, and the beetle started on its long journey. Smelling the honey ahead it slowly crept onwards, in the hope of reaching the honey, until at last it reached to top of the tower, when the minister grasped the beetle, and got possession of the silken thread. He told his wife to tie the other end to the pack thread, and after he had drawn up the pack thread, he repeated the process with the stout twine, and lastly with the rope. Then the rest was easy. The minister descended from the tower by means of the rope, and made his escape.In this body of ours the breath motion is the “silken thread”; by laying hold of and learning to control it we grasp the pack thread of the nerve currents, and from these the stout twine of our thoughts, and lastly the rope of Prana, controlling which we reach freedom.”
We do not know anything about our own bodies; we cannot know. At best we can take a dead body, and cut it in pieces, and there are some who can take a live animal and cut it in pieces in order to see what is inside the body. Still, that has nothing to do with our own bodies. We know very little about them. Why do we not? Because our attention is not discriminating enough to catch the very fine movements that are going on within. We can know of them only when the mind becomes more subtle and enters, as it were, deeper into the body. To get the subtle perception we have to begin with the grosser perceptions. We have to get hold of that which is setting the whole engine in motion. That is the Prana, the most obvious manifestation of which is the breath. Then, along with the breath, we shall slowly enter the body, which will enable us to find out about the subtle forces, the nerve currents that are moving all over the body. As soon as we perceive and learn to feel them, we shall begin to get control over them, and over the body. The mind is also set in motion by these different nerve currents, so at last we shall reach the state of perfect control over the body and the mind, making both our servants. Knowledge is power. We have to get this power. So we must begin atthe beginning, with Pranayama.”
Marvelousis’nt it? Now if and when you feel imbalanced or angry or disappointed, know that it can be brought to a control by controlling your breathing.