Gain Happiness Through Breath Control

Irrespective of what makes us happy, one thing is certain that we all want to be happy. Who is there who does not want happiness in the life? No body would like to invite tragedy, sorrow, troubles or any adversity even for a single moment. Happiness has different meanings for different persons but every one needs it. The cause of some going to war and of others avoiding it is the same desire in both for being happy but in different contexts. There is a motive behind each action, that is to gain pleasure.

In fact, every moment of life with every breath every one needs happiness. There is no exception because this is the original desire of the individual self. Even after death, an imagined happiness in heaven is solicited by every one.

What is the happiness? Have you ever thought about this? You can answer it differently from the different impulses of your mind. A servant feels to be happy when he gets free and a master feels happy when he gets more servants at his disposal. With one servant, he is happy. When he gets one more servant, his happiness goes up and up with every addition. A money monger also feels alike when he adds up to his coffers. Since impulses of your mind control the definitions of your happiness from time to time, we could feel happiness all the time. No it is not so. Sometime, we are directed to feel sorry for the same incident. It is a matter of experience we individually gain from each incident.

Source of happiness does not exist only in worldly possessions, glittering resources, lavish food, charming bodies, or supportive circumstances. If it was so, all the rich persons might have been happiest all the time. Whatever joy they feel in achieving their possessions is only a sting of excitement, an illusion of happiness, and inseparable from the hidden fear that tomorrow it might not be the same – let us enjoy today and today only. Worse is the mirage of those driven by the lust for sensual pleasures in the illusion of happiness; unless restrained. They often end up entrapping themselves in negative thinking and infirmities. It is nothing else.

That is why the elevated thinkers of different ages have unanimously taught us that the secret of joy lies in restraining the extrovert passions, in limiting the sensual thirst rather than satisfying or running after them. You should have feeling from your inner heart to enjoy. Happiness is an intrinsic feeling, inexplicable in words. It is like the spirit of religion, which can not be rationalized or confined to fixed set of conditions.

How would you create those feelings in your mind which may help you to enjoy the happiness? Though the modern science has gathered a lot for our comforts, the internal solace can not be built up unless you have sound health all around – physically, mentally and spiritually. The elevated thinkers, the vedic rishis were perfect scientists of spirituality, consciousness and nature. They had a reach in deepest depths of human mind and heart. They knew the hidden nature and intricacies of emotions and influence of intrinsic impressions carried in the unconscious mind. They had therefore devised excellent methods of yoga which can be practiced by anybody for mental and emotional refinement and focused orientation. These practical exercises include – prānāyāma (exercises of deep, harmonized breathing) with bandha and mudrā; and dhyāna (meditation). Most prominent and popular among the yoga practices. Most prominent and popular among the yoga practices in the present times is prānāyāma as it has direct impact on the state of mind and as different kinds of prānāyāma happen to be pre-requisites for meditation and higher-level of spiritual sādhanās.

Thousands of yoga centers and schools across the globe are offering different levels of training courses or packages on elementary exercises of prānāyāma these days. Millions of people have benefited from sincere practices of these simple breathing exercises. With regard to happy state of mind and inner self, the positive effects of proper breathing are verifiable through modern scientific methods.

We are aware that adequate and harmonized supply of oxygen through balanced and deep breathing helps nourishing secretion and circulation of several neuro-peptides and healthy activation of the endocrine (hormonal) glands which lead to a state of psychosomatic calm and peace.

More importantly, the upward flow of vital spiritual energy (prānā) is attained through adept practice of some prānāyāma which helps refinement and controlled use of the extrasensory element of sexual pleasures (kama).

We know that the upward movement of oil in a lamp helps the conversion of oil into light upon ignition. Similarly, the upward movement (through the Susumnā Nādi in the endocrine column) of the vital energy of prānā generates vigor, awareness and spiritual radiance. This is attained by thorough practice of specific prānāyāma with mula bandha and observance of chastity of thought and conduct. By upwardly control, the sublime energy of prāna immanent in kama which otherwise drains off through stimulation and discharge of the genitals due to erotic thinking and sexual excitations is not only preserved but is also transmuted into the spiritual energy of zeal and joy.

We may look at the children! They look so cheerful and energetic all the time! Why? Because their energy remains in the upper chakaras along the endocrine column. When we grow up, negative impulses of sensual pleasures boosted by ego and untoward effects of surrounding environment draw its flow downwards. With increased expectations, the chances of desperation of their fulfillment, anger and anguish due to non-fulfillment also augment and account for disturbing, suppressing and maligning the pure glow of creativity and vigor.

Lom-anuluma known as circular breathing in modern parlance and Bharmari prānāyāmas help controlling these excitations and related stresses to a great extent but one also needs to minimize one’s expectations from others and change the attitude to adjust with the circumstances in interest of the wider welfare approach. It is our attitude towards events not the events themselves which we can control.

It is irony of the facts that in spite of knowing all this, at the times of the aggressive or depressive mood of the mind is so strong that no thought of wisdom seems to work on it. One can not practice prānāyāma arbitrarily at any random time or place, one may need easy to practice physical exercises in such moments. The swara-vijňāna or the science of regularizing the rhythm of breath offers some practical solutions here.

One can experiment on himself to see that whenever he is in a quiet and calm mood (without any apparent reason for it!) and having positive thoughts, he must be breathing through the left nostril. His furor, excitement or abrupt untoward thinking would on the contrary be mostly accompanied by respiration through the right nostril alone.

The lunar currents (ida) manifested in the vibrations of breathing through the left nostril are referred as “Chandra-swara” and solar currents (Pingala) manifested in the vibrations of breathing through the right nostril are termed as ‘surya swara’. In simple terms, when we breathe only through the left nostril, the Chandra-swara is on, that becomes active. When we breathe only through the right nostril, the surya swara becomes active.

If we pay little attention to our breathing patterns, we will notice most of the time we breathe only through one nostril either through the left or through the right. It is only at the time of changing this flow from ida (Chandra) to Pingala (Surya) i.e. left to right or vice-versa that both the swaras are active for a moment. This change-over occurs periodically in about one to three hours time on an average. The flow of vital energy and prana is active through the Sushumana Nadi (an extrasensory canal or a neural passage of subliminal flow of air hidden in the inner core of spinal column) at these moments. This transition takes place at characteristic timings, e.g. exactly at the moments of the sunset which are of very significant importance in yoga and spiritual sādhanās(activities).

We all know that the rays of moon (Chandra) are cool and soothing whereas those of the sun (Surya) are energizing. As obvious by their names, the Chandra swara corresponds to a calm, stable and happy state of mind which is most suited for clear and discreet thinking, balanced discussions and adept decision making, etc. the surya swara occurs in the relatively excited, active, dynamic, agile, state of mind which is best for intrepid, courageous efforts and tasks requiring enthusiasm, force, aggressiveness and alacrity.

Sometimes we need to work late in the night which usually happens to be our sleeping time. Then we try to control our drowsiness by washing our face with cold water or drinking tea, coffee etc. Similarly, if we want to benefit from the knowledge of the science of regularizing the rhythm of breath, we can try one of the following easy practices guided by the researches of this science to alter or harmonize the breathing pattern as per our requirement:

1. Block the nostril at which the breathing is off. This can be done by pressing it by the two third parts of your thumb, keeping the top one-third part of the same at your nasal bone. Then, open the pressed nostril and exhale (breathe out) through this while blocking the nostril that was used for inward respiration. Repeating this cycle several times in succession would alter the direction of flow of the breathing. You will start breathing through the nostril which was blocked earlier.

2. Lie down on the side of the active breathing. The direction of the breathing will shift to the other nostril after some time. Practicing the breathing exercise described in para 1 above along with this will give you faster results.

3. Put something hard beneath the armpit on the side of the active side when you are working on the exercises mentioned above would help you in the rapid change in the swara pattern.

4. Eating butter oil (ghee) is supposed to be favorable for breathing by the left side nostril and eating honey for the right breathing.

5. You can keep a smooth clean cotton ball in the nostril of the active breathing to make it flow to the other nostril.

The equilibrium state of breathing when the air flows through the sushumna nadi is a blessed opportunity for those who acquire it and it is the stage when the individual leaps forward in the spiritual elevation besides having benefits for the health and happiness. This state ensures that all vices, illusions, attachments and ego drives are naturally pacified and the divine inspirations and enlightened thoughts are awakened. We may practice it whenever we have spare time to gain our happiness through better health.

Be Happy – Gain Happiness Through Breath Control.