The bridge to subtle dimensions

Beneath the physical body there is a more subtle layer or sheath, the energetic sheath, through which prana circulates, through small channels or vessels – some as thin as a hair, the masters say – called nadis. They are up to 360,000.

The main one, Sushumna Nadi, is located throughout the entire spine. The care of vital energy through conscious, deep and complete breathing (Pranayama) favors the correct channeling of energy in the channels of the subtle body, especially in Sushumna Nadi.

Breathing in Yoga is always done through the nose, unless otherwise indicated in very special techniques. Breathing through the nose is already an autonomous and involuntary function of the body. By doing so within practice, we make it conscious and voluntary. By practicing complete inspiration and expiration through the nose, we regulate the movement of the diaphragm and the lungs, we absorb the greatest amount of air and oxygen, which enters from the bottom of the nostrils to the brain and central nervous system. Therefore, we capture more prana (life force).

The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body

Jason Crandell

The villi of the nostrils filter and clean the air, which when entering and leaving through them regulates its own temperature and adapts to that of the body. The sense of smell is stimulated. The parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are harmonized, and the alternate energy channels to Sushumna Nadi (ida, cold, lunar, feminine, calm quality, associated with the left fossa and the right hemisphere of the brain and the parasympathetic; and pingala, hot quality, solar, masculine and active, associated with the right nostril and the left hemisphere and the sympathetic).

Yogic breathing thus endows a wider lung capacity, greater oxygenation of the blood and the whole organism, a more powerful cleansing of toxins through the elimination of waste, a cleaner circulation and a toned and strong nervous system. His constant practice makes us breathe in our maximum capacity also outside the mat. The breath is also a bridge between the physical and non-physical dimensions.

Change only happens in the present moment. The past is already done. The future is just energy and intention.

Kino MacGregor

The practice of Pranayama is expressed in three components: inhalation (puraka), retention (kumbaka) and exhalation (rechaka). Puraka is the active phase of respiration, as filling the lungs with air requires muscular activity that displaces the diaphragm and opens the rib cage. In rechaka the diaphragm and rib cage return to their normal position without effort. During practice, in moving in and out of asanas, and in adjustments during asanas, inhalation is often used to activate and grow, and exhale to project and release.

In each inhalation we bring fresh oxygen to the body to produce nutrients, in each retention we intensify its presence, and in each exhalation we expel toxins in the form of carbon dioxide. Or, what is the same, in puraka the primordial vital energy (prana) is received, in kumbaka it is treasured, and in rechaka it is distributed while the toxicity is expelled. After each inhalation and each exhalation a natural retention occurs, but in Pranayama we make it conscious and prolong it at will, especially in the antara kumbaka, after puraka.

When you delve further into Yoga it is very likely that you will hear this maxim at some point: The yogi does not measure his life by the passage of the calendar pages, but by the number of his breaths. Quality breaths, of course.

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