Our breath is a natural mechanism available for us to heal. Healing takes place when the body and mind is coherent. This coherency is attained through focused breathing. But it is just not the breath that heals, it is the intention behind each breath, each in-take and out-breath, that does the magic. It is the fusion of the two.
Focus on the pattern of your breathing. When is it short and quick? When is it deep and long? Breath determines the state of being we are in, meaning, what we are thinking, what we are feeling at a particular time.
When breathing is focused, everything comes together. In the sense that if you are in a ‘scattered’ state of being, you will ‘come together’ in an energetically coherent state. This is the state where the mind relaxes, the body relaxes. You shift from fight — flight — survival mode (which is sympathetic nervous system) to rest and digest, growth and repair system (which is the parasympathetic nervous system).
So, in survival mode, while your heartbeat is increased, pupils are dilated, the mouth gets dry and other stresses builds up in the body, the opposite happens in the state of relaxed breathing; you tend to salivate more, you heartbeat is pleasantly slow, muscles are relaxed and there are increased stomach movements and secretions. In other words, you feel good, connected.
During mediation, in many ways, your breath decides what stage of meditative state you are in. When you are totally beyond this space time reality, you almost stop breathing.
Left Breath or Right Breath
Let’s do a little experiment. Bring the back of your hand close to the left nostril and feel the breath, now do the same with the right nostril. Which side of the nostril does the breath feel stronger? The stronger side changes every 1.5 hours to 2 hours. The only time the breath flows evenly through both the nostrils is during meditation. Coherency is attained when breath is even.
So, coming back, how does an individual heal with breath-focused meditation?
Focus on inhalation and exhalation helps to cultivate mindfulness and concentration. This in turn, brings, insights. In mindfulness, one is aware of the process of change. “Awareness is important for healing,” vouches Dubai-based healer, Chamuel, also a reiki master and a sound therapist.
“In meditation, when the breath and the body become one, transcending time and space, it connects with the divine consciousness for healing to take place,” says Chamuel.
So, let’s say, you want to deal with your anger (or branches of it; hatred, dislike, resentment or irritation). Now press your right nostril through right thumb inhaling fresh, pure energy through the left nostril. Now close the left nostril through the right index finger and hold the breath for a couple of seconds.
In holding that breath, be aware that you are going to release the anger from your body and mind, Now, lifting the right thumb, very consciously and slowly, from the right nostril, with intention, release the anger. Follow the breath to full exhalation. And in the end, release the last, left over exhalation, to completely get rid of that emotion. Repeat the process. Do the same with the left nostril, this time, releasing attachment or addiction.
In meditation, when the breath and the body become one, transcending time and space, it connects with the divine consciousness.
The revered 92-year old Buddhist Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh states that we only need half a minute of mindful breathing to improve the quality of our breathing. “This is the basis for bringing peace to our body, feelings, mind, and our perceptions.” (Hanh, ‘Peace of Mind’, 2013).
“Breathing in, I bring in a pleasant feeling, a feeling of joy.”
“This is not a mere imagination or wishful thinking. It is possible to generate these feelings with mindfulness.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, ‘Peace of Mind’, 2013).
As per meditation master Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, with focus on breath an individual is able to connect to the “stillness of the body, silence of speech and spaciousness of mind.”
It is in this stillness and silence that healing occurs. The mind connects to the body as the body is still. And the mind is not wandering. The two connect. The mind is free of clutter. The mind-space, therefore, is available. That space becomes the room for the change, for the transformation and for the healing to occur. There is nothingness at that point. From nothingness, one has the power to create everything, anything and bring in the new change.
—Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is a chakra balancing meditation coach, Theta Healer and a sound therapist. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. She can be reached at: email@example.com.