twitter @yogarobin108

Respiratory System, Breathing and Meditation

Entries in meditation (3)


Keep breathing... each inhale, each exhale matters 

Healing the Total Body: Where Western Anatomy Meets Eastern Spiritual Science

Healing Series, part 6 

Table of Contents:

Breath and meditation

Chakras activated by breathing

TCM and lungs

Respiratory system


Resting, relaxing, sleeping and balance

(back to the Healing Series)


Breath and meditation

Breathing brings me back to myself. It is the core of yoga. It is the way to stay present with my body, with my own intimate experience, and it is also the only way I can clear out my body's need to move and my mind's overthinking, to allow me to effectively meditate.

Breathing like a heartbeat

Breathing—smooth, even inhales and exhales through the nose, letting the breath move up and down through the back of the throat—is a necessary and inherent part of my Ashtanga yoga practice.

Being in the Mysore room, the breath of the group is louder than the music and there is no teacher voice leading. The breathing takes over the experience. It becomes like a heartbeat or like the metronome used in music. Ashtanga yoga breathing is called Ujjayi breath.

Full inhale, full exhale

The goal of yoga is to be at peace and grounded all day in life, not just in yoga. It's to train my body to breathe and be calm in any of life's situations. It's easy to breathe during yoga.

Often times during the day at home I'll check in with my breathing, especially if I'm agitated and realize I’m not really exhaling fully. I notice that I typically do quick sharp inhales and small exhales (enough to stay alive). Once I’m cognizant of this, I return to my soothing, even breath—grounding each inhale from the top of the head with a full exhale down to the base of my spine.


Resting, relaxing, sleeping and balance

Winding down in the evening is important for my lifestyle. This is when I go most inward and into my creative and rejuvenating space. Sleep is important to me and since I wake at 5:00 a.m. each morning, I'm usually in bed by 9:00 p.m. I do get an 8-hour sleep each night.

My nighttime routine includes no electronics or screen time in the last hour before bed, and meditation on my meditation pillow in front of my fireplace just outside the woods, which is grounding for me. This is where my breathing is most important, so that I take that calm into my sleep. It's all part of the yoga life.

Red wine enhances sattva

A glass of red wine is a nice ritual. On wine and Respiratory System, "The cardiovascular risks and benefits of the ingestion of wine... have been well publicized; however, less attention has been focused upon the health effects of wine consumption on the respiratory system. The contention that some of the health benefits of wine are due, in part, to its ethanol also prompts an examination of the data on the effects on the respiratory tract. Substances providing an anti-oxidant effect (i.e., Resveratrol) could conceivably be associated with a beneficial effect on lung function, as has been suggested by a number of studies." (Source:

On spirituality, my peaceful spiritual Sattvic state seems perpetuated with some red wine, yet with more warmth and gratitude. It enhances my spiritual state since it relaxes any tensions that may hold my heart hostage or any blockages in my subtle body. It offers insight into my mind-body as one entity, beginning with my breathe. Red wine presents benefits to the heart, mainly the Resveratrol (more on that for Cardiovascular System). Its heart-warming dimension of love is calming, and helps me balance out more Tamas (dullness) and more Rajas (overthinking and action). As a part of evening meditations, savoring every sip of red wine reminds me to breathe. It’s an offering to me, like a treat. It brings meaning to the wine, by focusing and enjoying its favorable effects with each sip. That’s where the magic happens because the thoughts slow down and my body and mind relaxes.

Red wine in Ayurveda soothes the Vata dosha, white wine soothes the Pitta dosha. I have noticed the effects of restoring me to a balanced state.

Coming into balance

In terms of the gunas, when I’m feeling most Tamasic (getting tired, feeling bored to be in the room yet need to continue on), instead of getting up to take a break—which I know will exacerbate my state—I bring on the opposite of Tama, which is Raja. In other words, I move faster, breathe heavier (especially the inhales up into rib cage). This acts as a balancing act for me between Rajas/Tamas, which work together to make them both dissolve into myself, leaving Sattva. Since Rajas and Tamas are each something to tame in yoga, in this example, for me I am calming my story and emotional ego. Facing both Rajas and Tamas with the purpose of feeling more pure and Sattvic is a key to yoga.

In a similar way, TCM’s yin/yang are balancing. When I’m in the Yin, I’m feminine and softer. Yang is the opposing masculine. (each need each other to exist). Its balanced state is the goal.