I had written a post about how the outer environment affects our inner world in the previous post and promised to speak more about how our breath can help us. Well, here is how it can help us! You can read the previous post here.
Recently, I was involved in a altercation with someone and it turned into a heated argument. We both were going head on head with each other about our opinions and what had happened until I noticed something. I was feeling so hot! My head, face, palms and chest were so hot and it was suffocating! The moment I noticed it, I started to let go of the argument and started taking my awareness inside me to observe all these sensations in the body. This helped me cool down a bit.
Have you been in a situation like this before? What has helped you to come out of it? What helped me to control my emotion at that time was my BREATH.
Every emotion in the body – anger, sadness, joy, etc. has a corresponding rhythm in the body. If we notice our breath when we are angry it is shallow, fast and hot. Yes, our breath can be of various temperature! When we are sad, we sigh – which is long, deep and our exhalation is longer than our inhalation. When in joy or happy – it is long, deep and inhalation is longer than exhalation. Like smelling something really nice or delicious! These emotions trigger these different patterns of breathing in our body. This is done automatically by the body with out any intervention from us.Now here is the best part – We can use the breath to control the emotions too! When I heard this for the first time, I was like – “REALLY? I am not sure about that!”. But this was until I experienced it myself. Breathing in a particular pattern can induce a corresponding emotion. So instead of being overwhelmed by our emotions, we can transform those using specific breathing techniques. You can listen to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explaining in the video.
This is the not the first time we have heard this. We have been doing this for a long time. Have you heard people asking you to take deep breath in and out when you were excited or angry? This is to come out of anger by using your own breath. When you take long deep breaths, the breath induces a sense of calmness or happiness which acts against your anger and helps you snap out it! This the secret behind the technique.
Now we need the skill to know which breath to use when and how. This is where the Art of Living course has helped me. These techniques are taught in such a superb way in this course that anyone can learn and practice it. You learn something called the Sudarshan Kriya in the course which helps you de – stress and release the built up emotions that are hidden deep in your body. You also learn pranayamas – techniques to control your breath, in the course. They teach you the link between the body, breath, mind and emotions that will help you manage your emotions next time. You do a lot of yoga and meditation in the 20 hour course spanning across 4 days which helps you to release the tensions in the body and mind. This is what Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says about Sudarshan Kriya –
The Sudarshan Kriya incorporates specific natural rhythms of breath which harmonize the rhythms of the body and emotions and bring them in tune with the rhythms of nature. The breath connects the body and mind. Just as emotions affect our patterns of breathing, we can bring about changes in our mental and behavioral patterns by altering the rhythms of our breath. It flushes our anger, anxiety and worry; leaving the mind completely relaxed and energized.
Try it out to experience it yourself! Here is the link : http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/public-programs?center=&scenter=8512&ctype=9142
It is natural for the mind to get caught up in emotions. The duet of the breath and emotions has been there since we came into this world. But we dont have to be stuck in emotions the whole time and lead a life dictated by emotions. When we learn these techniques, it helps us to dance better to this duet. More importantly, it helps us to control the duet! So the next time you are caught up in any emotion, take a deep breath, SMILE and remember – YOU ARE IN CONTROL!