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If breath can be stabilised, regularised, the thoughts will automatically be stabilised. The ‘presence’ ( self- presence) helps in calming the mind, as breath is regularised.

Thoughts emerge due to oscillations of the mind and gets expression from the cosmic vital life-force (or pran-energy). Breath, itself is not cosmic life force but a manifestation of it, surmises YogaSutra. That which causes the motion of breath, that which is the vitality of breath, is the pran-energy. Thoughts are also manifestation; thoughts are not real, they project ‘a’ state of ‘be-ing.’

What is not real, is changeable. Thoughts can change with each moment, each breath. While nature of thoughts are temporary, breath is ongoing, however, subject to conscious regulation. So do thoughts. Thoughts can be consciously changed, modified, regulated.

When breath is aligned, thoughts are aligned. As thoughts are regulated, breath is regulated. A good quality of breath leads to good quality of thoughts. As one regulates breath patterns, one is aware of thought patterns also. If one desires a good nature of thoughts, one can work on the patterns of breath, making the breath cycle long and relaxed. In the awareness of breath, lies the awareness of the oscillations of the mind and the nature of thoughts.

The science of breath is the science of regulation of inhalation, restrain and the exhalation of the pran-energy which is called pranayam.

A question that may be contemplated is: why do we even have thoughts? Thoughts and thought processes helps us to negotiate through the maze of life. A thoughtless state is a good respite from the wavering of the endless thoughts, that can be attained through the state of concentration, however, thoughts can’t be non-existent. Their quality though can be enhanced.

How to watch thoughts

How can one be aware of their thoughts? If thoughts can be dealt with an observer/witness attitude, without getting attached to them or considering them real, then much of the pain and misery that an unhelpful thought brings, can be reduced. So long as we consider thoughts to be real which has the power to drive our lives, we may continue to suffer. For example, a fearful thought which has not even manifested yet, can control our actions and course of life.

Detachment with thought is by witnessing the thoughts. This is a way, a method to loosen the grip of thoughts that control our minds. If we let go, release a fearful thought, the pran-energy is free to move and open to several possibilities; including enabling thoughts to change the course of events of life itself.

What connection thoughts have with breath?

In YogaSutra of Maharishi Patanjali, (YS 1.34) it is stated that by exhalation of breath (technique of pranayama), the body-mind becomes calmer. By the breathing technique, by calming the mind, it is possible to have awareness of thoughts, it is possible to assume observer/ witness position of thoughts and have a detached position. So as to not give in to anxious thoughts, so as to move to positive, life-enhancing thoughts, so as to have conscious creation of thoughts and be guided by only those thoughts, that enhances pran-energy, the vital life-force.

And also, so as to not gripped by emotions and feelings of unhelpful life-force- depleting thoughts. We tend to identify ourselves with thoughts (YS 1.4). When this identification is “known”, one also knows what their true essence is ( YS 1.3). And so, thoughts can be allowed to come and go.

Thoughts can be mastered and the way to do it is through practice (abhyas) and vairagya ( detachment). How to practice them? The YogaSutra(YS 1.14) prescribes, “long-time, continuous (without break), and with sincere devotion. What is the method? The practice of breathing techniques (pranayama). The mastery of thoughts can be gained with practice of concentration.

Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is an emotional healer and a forgiveness teacher. All the ideas expressed herein are her own, and not professional advice or medical prescription. Her website is: Email: