Concept of Body & Breath
Sevangee is an organization for empowering individuals in multi-dimensional aspect of Body, Mind & Energy. Well through my long journey both in Indian and Chinese martial arts and exploring the realm of physical fitness, I have understood that it is time to bridge the gap between Eastern occultism and Western scientific approach to life. The key to understanding of any health, fitness and wellness fundae is one should understand the five main concepts of Body, Breath, Mind, Energy, and Spirit. As we all know the human body requires constant exercise; and regular exercise aids digestion, stimulates circulation and helps the body to resist diseases. In fact many of us have imbibe that, “We are, what we ingest!” But we have forgotten our environment is polluted. Our air and food are full of chemical wastes, preservatives and additives which affect our personalities. Hypertension and heart disease cause more deaths per year than any other accidents. As modern people, we have learned to survive these obstacles. The first main concept is the physical body; well we all have basically the same equipment; heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs necessary for life support.
Our bodies are delicate machines which need daily maintenance. Food is our fuel, legs are our suspension system, hearts and lungs are our compressors, brain, which is the bio computer, controls all of the body’s logic and behavioural programming. Our brain is capable of storing vast amount of data. How we think and what we eat affect our personality. Our life support systems are a combination of three basic mechanisms, the bio computer, compressor, and the suspension system. Exercise and nutrition are necessary to maintain the proper balance between the bio computer and the other two systems.
Our environment conditions us to live and think the way we do. Remember our physical body resembles a rubber band. If left inactive, it will contract and soon become stiff and brittle, any sudden or violent motion can cause it to snap, resulting in serious injury. Remember to do any stretching exercises initially start with slow and steady movement. Moderation is the key word, proceed gradually step-by-step. The intensity of the exercise should only be increased, once the body is flexible enough to withstand the heightened tension without risking unnecessary strains or pulls. Remember we are not too old, to exempt ourselves from any exercise program no matter what age it may be. The body that remains supple is able to endure the pressure of everyday living. Keep the body in shape, not merely toned but beyond the point of barely making it, you will notice a market improvement in the body and also harmony with your surrounding environment. The other four main concepts will be spoken in the next post.
Bent knees allow the springiness which is,
necessary to adapt to a changing terrain.
the spinal vertebrae compress and release,
and the pelvis remains loose.
Springy and supple joints
As the knees bend,
opens and close,
Springy knees induces,
in the rest of the body –
the back is agile and alive to the degree
that the knees are agile and alive.
Military posture is designed to cut off autonomy and independence, to influence the soldier to follow orders.
Concept of Breath: Let’s understand the concept of breath. All the cells in our body require oxygen. Without it, they couldn’t move, build, reproduce, and turn food into energy. In fact, without oxygen, we would die! The air which we breathe gets mixed with the blood in the liver which circulates to all parts of the body. The air has to travel a long journey; it flows from the nose through the windpipe, past the voice box or vocal cords, to where the lowermost ribs meet the center of the chest. There, the windpipe divides into two tubes which lead to the two lungs which are filled with tubes, called bronchi, these branches into even smaller tubes, much like the branches of a tree.
At the end of these tubes are millions of tiny bubbles or sacs called alveoli. The lungs contain almost 1500 miles of airways and over 300 million alveoli. These alveoli help perform an incredible magic act. They exchange it for waste products, like carbon dioxide, which the cells in the body have made and can’t use it. The red blood cells from the blood streams are like box cars on a train tracks, they show up at the sacs at the right time, ready to trade in old carbon dioxide that the body’s cells have made for some new oxygen which we have just breathed in. In the process, these red blood cells turn from purple to that beautiful red color as they start carrying the oxygen to all the cells in the body. It’s a remarkable feat; the brain does it automatically for us.
Stages in Breathing: Each single act of normal, unmodified breathing consists of four distinguishable stages:
- “Breathing In”, Inhalation.
- The Pause, Short or Long, Between Inhalation and Exhalation, also called as the Retention.
- “Breathing Out,” Exhalation.
- The Pause, Long or Short, Between Exhalation and Inhalation, also called as the Suspension or Readjustment Phase. The two “resting” stages may or may not be very restful since the whole respiratory system, including its muscular and nervous mechanisms, undergoes a reversal of direction and multitudes of minute adaptations take place whenever each such reversal occurs. All four stages are entailed in a complete act of respiration.
Benefits of Breathing from nostril: The frontal sinuses in the forehead above the eyes and the maxillary sinuses on each side of the nose, play various roles in breathing, thinking, illness and in most esoteric breathing art. Most of us realize their existence when they become infected, with colds, hay fever, or noxious gases or dusts, resulting in headaches. Some sinuses appear to perform an important function in cooling the brain. Nervous activity uses energy which seems to generate heat that needs to be controlled.
Thus, somewhat like the radiator of an automobile, the sinuses may serve as a cooling system for the brain, which supplements the circulatory system wherein the blood serves as a coolant. We seem to be able to think better when we have a “clearer head” resulting from well-ventilated sinuses. Deep breathing and posture exercises not only increase oxygenation through the lungs and circulation of the blood within the brain, but also tend to enlarge and clear the sinus cavities for freer air circulation.
The skin lining the nostrils consists primarily of membranes which do not dry out easily in the presence of moving air. They are kept moist by secretions called mucus which sometimes dries and hardens into a cake which must be expelled. Hairs embedded in such membranes, especially near the outer opening, often grow into sieve-like mats which catch and repel small objects, insects and dust. Olfactory end- organs are embedded in these membranes and some areas have a thick, spongy tissue which expands, so much sometimes-especially when irritated by infections or allergies that it closes the nostril completely.
Breath control by brain: A group of nerve cells in the medulla oblongata, the respiratory center of the brain, controls the contractions of muscles used in breathing. Inspiration takes place when the nerve cells of this group send impulses through motor nerves to respiratory muscles. The respiratory center cells function much like the pacemaker tissue of the heart, since they seem to induce rhythmical patterns of respiration without outside help, even though they are sensitive to various influences which modify their action. In addition to the involuntary regulation and regularization of breathing patterns, many involuntary reflexes also exist, such as those noticeable in choking, sneezing, coughing, and swallowing. It is almost impossible to breathe while swallowing food. Other reflexes may be noted, such as sudden holding of breath when we sniff ammonia and similar chemicals. If the air supply has been cut off, we automatically gasp for breath. Emotional excitement, fear, anger, enthusiasm all stimulate breathing, as may sudden increase in either heat or cold.
There are some voluntary controls of breathing. For example, we can deliberately take a deeper breath or stop breathing momentarily. Such direct control may be supplemented by indirect intentional control, as when we dance or kiss or drink or smoke or sing. We may deliberately run for such a distance that we get our “second wind,” after which we breathe more easily even though exercising strenuously. Part of the significance of distinguishing between voluntary and involuntary control of breathing is that many esoteric breathing exercises aim first at changing unhealthy involuntary patterns voluntarily and then at an establishment of more healthy patterns.
Whereas nervous tension produces some inhibiting influence upon deep, regular breathing patterns, deliberate effort to counteract these influences in such a way that our more completely spontaneous and uninhibited rhythmic patterns become restored as needed. Whatever happens in the mind influences the breath; the breath becomes quicker when we are excited and deeper and quieter when we are relaxed. In order to influence our breath we must be able to influence the mind. Our actions often disturb the mind, causing breath to exude from the body. Through daily breathing practice we can reverse this process, as a change in the breathing pattern which will influence the mind. Let’s talk of the mind in the next post, till then happy understanding and awareness of the body.