In the Beginning Was the Word and A Deep Breath

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Breathing. Photo submitted Brook Andrioli

I have been quiet on this blog because I have been working a new book about mediation and it has been keeping me busy. But Sheridan nudged me and said I hadn’t posted since October. Wow!  I realized October was my birthday month and January is (one of) my re-birthday months. And rebirth has been on my mind. The book I am working on is titled Awake! As in Ancient Days. It’s a quote from Isaiah (and Nephi).  Here is just a little bit from the prana section of the book I am working on:

It is said that our first breath sets the tone for our life. I came into the world fighting and angry at the authority that was pulling me from my mother’s womb in a way I didn’t like. In my baby pictures you can still see the marks on the side of my head from the forecepts. True to the saying, an emotional theme was set in my life for a few decades.

When I started my kundalini yoga and meditation journey in earnest, I found myself at a rebirthing class where I was told that we were going to do a meditation to clear any pain or trauma from our own birth and then retake our first breath.

I dropped into a deep state of self-hypnosis and saw myself in the womb, I also saw through my mother’s eyes and all her love and hopes for me. I prepared for the birth as I chanted and meditated and then came the breathing. We breathed for a long time, slowly and deeply across the tongue.

I was not sure which breath would be the first breath of my rebirth, but I could feel it approaching. I was in the birth canal. I could feel a pressure building. Inexplicably, I started laughing and crying. A blissful feeling was rising up my spine and my legs went tingly. It was more amazing than any kind of bodily ecstasy I had ever felt. The bliss was almost too much to bear, but I allowed it flow all through me as I wept, laughing joyful, ecstatic tears. I was told afterward that my experience was not uncommon for people who practiced kundalini yoga. I was hooked.

Though I was never really sure which breath was my new first breath, there was no question that I had been reborn, and it was an ecstatic rebirth. From that day on, I began to transform. That simple breath full of joy and excitement set a new direction for my life. The biggest change that everyone soon noticed, was in my voice and the power of my words.

Indeed, the breath and the Word are in an intimate relationship. In the heavenly realms, first came the Word, followed by it’s servant, the breath of life, or prana: God “formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man’s spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”  In the earthly realms, however, the breath comes first. Then as everyone anxiously awaits, comes the first sound–or yell, as it is in some cases, the Word that signifies that we are alive and here to stay. In the earthly realms the Word is given power by the breath.

The Mysterious Prana

According to ancient masters, “prana is a mystical force that is found in all living physical entities, but which is non-physical. It is in the air without being air. It is in water without being water. it is in food without being food.”  The word prana is derived from the sanskrit word meaning absolute energy–or in other words, divine energy. Or more specifically, as I understand it, the Light of Christ. The scriptures say that The Light of Christ “proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” It is “the light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed” (D&C 88:12-13; see also D&C 88:6-11). This power is an influence for good in the lives of all people (see John 1:9; D&C 93:2). In the scriptures, the Light of Christ is sometimes called the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, or the Light of Life. The ancients said that wherever there is life in the universe, there is prana. Without prana, all would be dead, lifeless matter.

Through prana fills the immensity of space and is in all things, animals and especially humans have a magical relationship with prana because of our intellectual capacity, which enables man the power to transmit, receive and transfer prana.

Woah! Did you read that?  This means we can get more prana… and use it in cool ways. For one, more life force means more energy and more power to act and not be acted upon, to be awake and not sleepwalk through life. We can also use prana for mindblowing things like rebirthing, healing, and more. I think that part of the reason birth is often such an amazing high for women is because of all the prana we take in.

Some of the deepest and most powerful things in the universe are embedding in the simplest things. In this case, it is the most basic human act. I always tell students and clients that if they want to change their state of mind, all they have to do is change the breath. It is really that simple.

Here is a story from Janice about a simple breath that she uses to change her state from work mode to mom mode. She also shares how changing the breath is something even children can do.

I noticed that I was always super grumpy and irritated when I got home from work. I realized it was from having a difficult time transitioning from work mode to homemaker/mother mode.  In a meditation class it was suggested that alternate nostril breath was really helpful in transitioning and changing states. So I started to use this tool to help me be happy with my family. After driving home from work I take a minute to do the breath. I also take a minute to visualize how I want to act when I am home with my children. I say a few affirmations like “I am joyfully choosing to serve my family” , etc. and then go inside to greet my family. It is amazing what a difference this has made. I really am happy and joyful when I remember to take 1 minute to do this. It makes my home a much happier place.

When my children are arguing, fighting, talking back, or otherwise choosing bad behavior, we play the breath game. Each child gets to make up a new way to breath as quickly as they can. If they protest, I make one up for them or just breath consciously myself. They come up with some pretty silly breaths. It immediately creates a shift and change. All negativity vanishes in an instant, in just one breath. It is  truly amazing how quickly and effectively that one simple change (the breath) can change everything else.

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Brook doing alternate nostril breathing

 

FYI, I will teaching a 6-week rebirthing class beginning at the end of February (This is a live, weekly kundalini yoga class that I stream on-line. Stay in the loop and learn more about meditation, mantra, prana, and more at www.treeoflifekundaliniyoga.com)