Cosmic Breath: Consciousness, Connection and Balance in Daily Life
by Rosemary Sahana Nulty
“Expansion of individual energy into cosmic energy is
called prāṇāyāma (prāṇa, energy + ayām, expansion).”
We breathe in and out without even thinking about it. This is a function of our autonomic nervous system. Now add thought, intention and control to that breath, and it becomes pranayama––conscious breath. But conscious breathing requires focus and effort. By controlling the movement of our breath, we direct the flow of prana (life force) in our physical bodies, as well as the non-physical subtle body comprised of chakras, pranic channels, mind, intellect and ego. It’s a shot of vitamin “B” for balance of body, mind, emotions and spirit.
The original Cosmic Breath created us and breathes in us now. The multi-verse expands and contracts with the pulsation of the Cosmic Breath. We are alive because of the Cosmic Breath. One might say that in the beginning, God, Source or the Will of Divine Consciousness manifested its creation by breathing that first breath of life, putting into motion all of existence––stars exploding and colliding, planets rotating on their imaginary axes, moons and planets revolving around each other in our solar system, millions of solar systems continually spiraling within a galaxy and billions of galaxies spinning in space, all kept in motion by the Cosmic Breath. And here we are in the midst of it all.
I’m from Michigan which is shaped like a glove. So when people ask me “where” in Michigan, I just point on my hand respond, “here.” It’s a Michigan joke, but likewise, our beautiful little planet earth is but a speck floating in the vastness of our suspended, spinning, vibrating galaxy. And our galaxy is just a speck in the unimaginable expanse of our universe. Just as we live within the universe, the universe is alive within us.
When scientific minds explore their theories, they often look to the super galactic for answers about how life functions on a subatomic level––and vice versa. In other words, how things work “in here” reflects how things work “out there.” For example, in reference to our non-physical subtle bodies, we might look at the chakras. You can imagine them much like galaxies of spinning, vibrating, radiating prana revolving like a vortex of energy.
Prana is the existential life-force permeating all things. It’s everywhere. Even the sun, air and grass we walk on have prana. Once we begin to observe the earth with this insight, we see and feel our connectedness to everything. We are not separate, but one. This realization is the primary goal of yoga. Although scientific research has measured the benefits of yoga to physical, mental and emotional well-being, the experience of connection and harmony is an inside job.
When I teach, I remind students that what they learn through yoga is applicable to daily life. Focus “in here” helps us focus “out there.” The same can be said for control and balance. Yogic breathing teaches us to calm the stormy seas of distractions through focus, observation and non-attachment.
So the next time you find yourself feeling an anxious or uptight, remember to breathe in...and out...and in... and out, then know that you are loved and supported by the abundance of and connection with the infinite Cosmic Breath.
Rosemary Sahana Nulty is a certified Kriya Yoga instructor trained in the Datta Yoga tradition by her Guru, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji of Mysore, India. She currently teaches the Cosmic Breath classes weekly at Wild Ginger in Sarasota, and once a month at the Mitreya Center in Bradenton. For a class schedule, visit WildGingerApothecary.com.