Swami Rama explains the fascinating intricacies of breath in this series from the classic Path of Fire & Light lectures (1986). Breath is the conduit of the more subtle life force (prana). Learn how actively changing the flow of breath can balance your nervous system and emotions. As Swami Rama demonstrates, the ancient yogis came up with a specific set of breathing and mental practices designed to lead you to sushumna—a state of equilibrium that induces meditation, a joyful mind, and (ultimately) samadhi.

Fresh from the Himalayan Institute archives, this digitally remastered Wisdom Classic is exclusively available here in the Wisdom Library.

Breath: Bridging Body & Mind

How we breathe affects our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, which in turn affects everyone and everything around us. The breath is a bridge between the conscious part of our life and the unconscious part, between the present moment and the past. Yoga science teaches us how to be here now by paying attention to posture, breath, and meditation.

Ida and Pingala: Emotions & Breath Flow

Well-balanced breathing leads to well-balanced living. The electric current of our right nostril is positive and warming; the current of the left nostril is negative and cooling. As Swami Rama explains, by paying attention to our breath two or three times a day, we can learn to balance our nervous system.

Nostril Dominance & Emotional State

Swami Rama leads us through an exercise in breath awareness focusing on the flow of the breath through our nostrils. By training ourselves to control this flow we can maintain greater equilibrium as we go through the day; we will experience fewer and milder negative states, and enjoy life more.

Breath Flow & Quality of Meditation

How can we control and limit our negative emotions? By training ourselves to control the flow of our breath through mental effort. With practice, yogis can learn to establish sushumna—equilibrium of the breath, which leads to a peaceful and joyful mind.

Further Reading

Path of Fire and Light: Advanced Practices of Yoga

by Swami Rama

Essential reading for all serious hatha yoga students. Swami Rama provides an in-depth study of swarodaya, the science of breath, with step-by-step instruction on advanced pranayama exercises. In Path of Fire and Light, Swami Rama shares with Western students, for the first time, remarkable and practical information on the systematic techniques of an ancient and profound tradition of spiritual growth.

Source: Path of Fire and Light lectures (Honesdale, 1986)

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