Words of Wisdom by Swami Satchidananda
- Make the Best Use of the Breath
"In Yoga asanas or in yogic breathing, one should
never exert oneself. Let things come in their own time.
Remember: Slow and steady wins the race. Particularly
when retention during pranayama comes in, one must be
very, very careful. Many people think yogic breathing
means to take a deep breath in and hold it as long as
possible until the entire body becomes shaky, and that
they call yogic breathing. It's not that. Pranayama is
a controlled, rhythmic way of breathing. As you inhale,
you make the best use of the breath by holding just as
long as is comfortable and then exhaling, taking twice
the time to exhale as to inhale. That is how to approach
"God bless you. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti."
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- Watch your mind. Watch your breath. Become an observer, which is the key to Jnana Yoga. Don’t worry about particular techniques. Just sit back and observe the breath, mind, and thoughts. Just see what’s happening within you. Become a witness, which is a wonderful form of meditation. Be still and watch what is happening in your mind and in your body. Maybe you have been repeating a mantra or focusing on one object for a time. You may then relax and sit calmly and watch the mind; observe the peaceful vibrations that come. Listen to the silence completely. Observe your own brain. See how peaceful you are. The mind seems to be totally at rest. You might think the mind is almost asleep, yet you are still conscious of the whole thing. The body is resting. The breath has very much slowed. The mind is almost sleeping but you are aware of everything.
Ask yourself, “Who is aware of them? What is this awareness? Who knows all these things? That is You, the Knower. You are totally different from your body, from your mind. You are the witness—what you call the Self, the pure Self—the witness of the body and mind. If you could maintain this witnessing constantly, still knowing you are the witness all the time, you would reach Self-awareness or
Self-realization. Keep up this awareness, even in your day-to-day activities. When you are eating, when you are walking, and especially when you are distressed, you can still witness. You will constantly enjoy supreme peace. Through this practice you become the master of your own body and mind. You’ll walk through life like an undisturbed sage.