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Breathing : Two Branches For Beneficence!

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Thinker13
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Posted 11/10/11 - 12:07 PM:
Subject: Breathing : Two Branches For Beneficence!
Breathing is an in-built function in our organisms. It pretty much keeps on going all the time on its own unless disturbed by something. I have wondered all my life about the role it plays in our functioning. I wonder how the ancient sages would have observed the niceties of breathing and the role it plays in our organisms. It never seems me trifling or tedious to speculate how they would have found out nuances of various patterns of breathing. After prolonged meticulous observations they would have established relationships between various breathing patterns and states of mind. Then, some of them would have invented the ways to alter them to induce various states desired. Some of them would have used it as an object of meditation because it is so perspicuous a bridge between conscious and subconscious.



The incessant watchfulness of breathing can be clearly traced back to have originated in a few traditions. However, some of the most profound resources have been lost in the mysterious fog of time.


Similarly, altering the patterns in which you breathe in order to affect changes in psychology and physiology can be traced back to a few traditions.

Anapanasatti sutra of Buddha is one such source which emphasizes on being aware of breathing. This awareness ought to be unbroken and incessant. It is said that Buddha attained enlightenment by this technique. Having tried everything and having dropped everything; this technique became the final stepping stone for Buddha. This practice holds supreme importance as far as meditation techniques are concerned. You can also trace back this observance of breathing back to lord Shiva who described techniques for transcendence to his consort Parvati in Vigyan-Bhairava.

Pranayama on the other hand aims at fiddling with breath in some peculiar patterns. These patterns are clearly based on observations of Yogis. They studied various patterns of breathing accompanying various physical and mental states and based on these empirical observations and induction therefrom, they created superb science of Pranayama.

Breathing practices cannot be divided in more than these two branches. In one branch the emphasis is on watchfulness of inhalations and exhalations and the other branch stresses on both observance as well as altering of breathing. The subtle science of swara also belongs to the second branch of manipulating breathing patterns.

It must be noted that it is not possible to change the way we breathe without observing it at first. It must also be noted that there is nothing called pure witnessing of breathing-because, as soon as you start observing it—its nature changes. It is important to suggest that both of these branches inculcate some common aspects, still, they are radically different in their goals.


Pranayama, aims mainly at purging away of toxins and increasing vitality which in turn makes body ready to hold breath on its own without any effort, which in turn makes a native attain Samadhi. Anapanasatti on the other hand is a practice where meditation on breathing is an aim and it also ends up conferring state of Samadhi and not purification of body. You cannot assert that Pranayama is also meditation because you concentrate on breathing, because, there is a very tiny possibility of having sustained attention when you are continuously altering the breathing patterns. In case of Anapanasatti though, you do not disturb breathing and hence all your energy is spent in watching it and it prepares a bridge between consciousness and super-consciousness.

None of the techniques is superior over others. In various walks of life you need one technique or the other.
henry quirk
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Posted 11/10/11 - 12:29 PM:

I can't speak to your post, Thinker, in any direct, meaningful, way, but: I contribute this, for what it’s worth…


At various times, folks (believe it or not) come to me in various states of despair over this or that...my first (and usually, best) advice to these folks is 'breathe'.

Get that air into the lungs! Get that oxygen to the brain!

Calm the hell down!

More often than not: if you breathe (deep), then you calm down, then you can 'think'
Thinker13
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Posted 11/10/11 - 1:42 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
I can't speak to your post, Thinker, in any direct, meaningful, way, but: I contribute this, for what it’s worth…


At various times, folks (believe it or not) come to me in various states of despair over this or that...my first (and usually, best) advice to these folks is 'breathe'.

Get that air into the lungs! Get that oxygen to the brain!

Calm the hell down!

More often than not: if you breathe (deep), then you calm down, then you can 'think'


Most pertinent bit of advice Henry! I have done this since my childhood days, when, I first got a few books into my hands which taught me Pranayama. smiling face

thedoc
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Posted 11/10/11 - 8:02 PM:

If you have ever been involved in a childbirth you will know that there is a rhythm that is taught for breathing that will help to relieve some of the discomfort of the process. If you are ever injured it can help then as well.
Thinker13
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Posted 11/11/11 - 12:25 AM:

thedoc wrote:
If you have ever been involved in a childbirth you will know that there is a rhythm that is taught for breathing that will help to relieve some of the discomfort of the process. If you are ever injured it can help then as well.



Indeed. I have not been involved but I know about it. smiling face
libertygrl
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Posted 11/15/11 - 12:57 PM:

quoted from www.thecouchforum.com/comme...0&findpost=21209#post21209 :

Thinker13 wrote:
Interestingly: Since I have been an ardent observer of breathing patterns --i not only observed but also read that there is a good enough possibility of smoking being so addictive because it helps people breath in certain patterns![ The corroborative assertion being that the same amounts of nicotine( supposedly the cause of addiction) supplied to persons would not satiate them!]

What do you think about this conjecture lib?


well, nicotine is a pain suppressant. it is also a stimulant, *and* a relaxant. so because of these things, my experience has been that yes, it does help you breathe easier, especially if you're under a lot of stress or in pain. pain and stress cause difficulty in breathing, and nicotine eases these things. of course, as you say, the initial rush wears off over time and it soon becomes a sheer dependency to where the withdrawal makes you feel like crap, so you have to keep smoking just to keep from feeling like crap, it becomes a self perpetuating cycle (similar cycles in caffeine addiction). furthermore, the tar and other toxins build up in your lungs causing problems like bronchitis, lung disease and other things that will ultimately make your breathing much worse.
Thinker13
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Posted 11/15/11 - 1:48 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
quoted from www.thecouchforum.com/comme...0&findpost=21209#post21209 :



well, nicotine is a pain suppressant. it is also a stimulant, *and* a relaxant. so because of these things, my experience has been that yes, it does help you breathe easier, especially if you're under a lot of stress or in pain. pain and stress cause difficulty in breathing, and nicotine eases these things. of course, as you say, the initial rush wears off over time and it soon becomes a sheer dependency to where the withdrawal makes you feel like crap, so you have to keep smoking just to keep from feeling like crap, it becomes a self perpetuating cycle (similar cycles in caffeine addiction). furthermore, the tar and other toxins build up in your lungs causing problems like bronchitis, lung disease and other things that will ultimately make your breathing much worse.



Your apposite comments evoke the same feelings we have always had--that lack of prudence and foresight, belief that seeking for instant gratification can make us really happy, do irreparable damage. Perhaps damage is not irreparable in the long run because such pursuits leave indelible marks on our consciousness ( one consciousness if you would!) which becomes the motor force of our search for permanent happiness in beyond.


I highly recommend you watching this video :http://www.thecouchforum.com/comments.php?id=1812

A tiny model of what consciousness might look like! Though interactions in macro-consciousness might not be so devoid of collisions!
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