Aswathy Vijayan is a cherished Omflow teacher, mother, and wife from Thiruvananthapuram in India.
Aswathy teaches hatha yoga and meditation with the foundation of mindfulness and deep connection to the breath.
In this article, Aswathy explains the power of breath for calming the mind.
“Breathing in, I am aware of my heart,
Breathing out I smile through my heart.
I embrace my heart with the energy of mindfulness” ~ Under the Banyan Tree by Thich Nhat Hanh
Breath is among the five pranas (life forces) of life—others being food, water, sunlight, and thoughts. Every breath refreshes our life by a few minutes, but ironically, breath is given the least attention and awareness in our lives.
Understanding the Breath and Mind Relation
Breath not only determines whether one is alive, it also determines the quality of life. Imagine a beautiful sunset; watch the golden waves break in the shore, and the beautiful melody of the ocean.
How would the breath be at this moment?
As much as a calm mind makes the breath deep and full, so does a deep breath, which can calm the mind. Long, deep, conscious breaths help us to quiet down a disturbed, unfocused mind and to be present in the now, which is the very basic step to mindfulness. Our breath is the key to unlock the calmness, awareness, and mindfulness within us.
This is the science behind pranayama (breathing exercise), which literally translates to the “movement of the life force.” Hence, in the ashtanga yoga or eight limbs of yoga, Saint Patanjali placed pranayama at one step above the asanas, as the age old technique of pranayama helps control our monkey mind.
Acknowledging the importance of pranayama, we have integrated it in the beginning of every practice.
How to implement the essence of breath in our daily life?
>> When we wake up to a beautiful day, practice the simple pranayama of lung-filling deep breaths. This simple routine will help us begin the day peacefully.
>> Whenever emotions and thoughts overpower us, take a moment to follow the journey of the breath to declutter and relax the mind.
>> At night, before closing the day, allow a few deep breaths to settle you into the quietness of the night and into a beautiful sleep.
Let us be always reminded of the journey of the breath, to live, and to be alive each moment.
“Yoga is a path for peacefulness, for calmness. So if at all, there is an aim for yoga, the aim should be the peacefulness.” ~ Aswathy Vijayan