Breath as Gateway to the Mind and Heart

It may seem silly to talk about the Breath as Gateway to the Mind and Heart, but in the yogic philosophy an important tool is our breath. So think about it – breath is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die. In our daily life we breathe and we move – and we do not often consciously coordinate breath with movement. Our bodies naturally coordinate our breath with movement on a physical and physiological level. When our bodies react to stress, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), a part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) activates the flight or fight response. Western science typically looks at the SNS as an automatic regulation system that operates without the intervention of conscious thought. In the Viniyoga methodology, the idea is to consciously activate the breath first, then initiate movement while we practice yoga.


Prāņāyāma (breathing techniques) positively affects our physiology, calms/focuses the mind, invokes the relaxation response and captures our attention away from an extraordinarily busy world that keeps us living externally as we meet the many converging demands of family, employers, and society. Prāņāyāma takes us from the external world to an inner personal space and focus.


I say to my students during breathing exercises and relaxation – “Soften into your breath, allow your breath to deepen and lengthen; hear the stillness within you; that stillness is with you where ever you go; this is your internal environment. Know that this stillness is a place where you can go to connect with your inner wisdom, innate intelligence and unique self. Enjoy this stillness and access this space through the connection with your breath whenever there is a need to do so, to replenish, refocus and rejuvenate.”


In addition to learning breathing techniques in group classes, I lead workshops that teach skills to improve breathing capacity.


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Comments: 3
  • #1

    Roy Krantz (Wednesday, 25 July 2012 07:40)

    This is a brilliant blog post. Please continue this line of thinking as I found it most helpful in developing my practice.

  • #2

    Susan Krantz (Wednesday, 25 July 2012 07:46)

    Thanks for the compliment. I’m working on another post over the weekend. Check back next week.

  • #3

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