Seminar 2

Practices for Directing the Breath for Healing

Rhythm and Life

Rhythm is the nature of motion, and motion is the nature of life. Life is not possible without motion, and motion is not possible without rhythm. It is rhythmic motion which keeps the whole universe going, and the same motion is the hidden secret of our lives, as we are a miniature universe within ourselves. Our breath is both the cause and effect of this rhythmic motion. Inhaling and exhaling is just like the pendulum of the clock. When it is regular the clock goes on regularly, when slow the clock goes slow, when quick the clock goes fast. So it is with us. When our breath is rhythmic, all things go well -- the mechanism of our body, the working of our mind, and the work of our feelings, all are normal. Therefore, all we think, speak, and do is normal and right. When the rhythm of our breath is irregular, all illness comes, thoughts wander, feelings are upset, and our life becomes full of confusion. All we feel, speak, and do has a bad effect, in other words, a wrong effect upon ourselves and others. Therefore, by Fikr the Sufi sets his breath to the proper rhythm; and when it becomes a habit by a practice done every day, the Sufi's whole life becomes orderly and regular, because the rhythm in time becomes a habit of the breath. And while awake or asleep, the breath goes on rhythmically, keeping all pulsations in rhythm, on which the health entirely depends. The rhythm so produced by the breath keeps the thoughts in order, the will powerful, the memory in order, the feelings normal -- and thereby all one's affairs in life come into prefect and proper order.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Githa Riyazat 2 -  Esotericism: Rhythm in Fikr

 

Rhythm of Breath and Health

Rhythm is the principal thing to be considered in breath, as it is on the rhythm of the breath that the working of the whole mechanism depends, and the chief reason of irregularity of the beats of the heart or head is lack of rhythm in the breath. As man generally neglects to think of his breath he overlooks the fact that his health entirely depends on rhythmic breath. Rhythm is the central theme of the whole creation... If rhythm were not an instinct the animal would never have known how to walk nor the bird how to fly. The life of man is so pulled from all sides, so divided, that he often forgets things that are most essential to his life, which the lower creatures seem to keep more correctly in their lives. Neatness in man's work and balance in man's actions show rhythm in him. When man shows lack of balance in his life and when his life is disturbed and all things seem to go wrong, it is most often that the rhythm of his breath has become wrong. Irregularity of activity and repose in the habits of life causes disorder of rhythm in the breath.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume XIII -  The Gathas,
Part IV: Pasi Anfas: Breath, Gatha I, The Rhythm of Breath

 

Regular and rhythmic breathing gives health to body and mind both.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume XIII -  The Gathas,
Part IV: Pasi Anfas: Breath, Gatha II, The Life–Power

 

Balance of mind entirely depends upon regularity of breathing.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume XIII -  The Gathas,
Part IV: Pasi Anfas: Breath, Gatha II, Regularity of Breath

 

Effects of Irregular or Weak Breathing

One who does not breathe fully, in other words freely and deeply, can neither be well physically nor make use of his mental faculties. Very often one finds most learned and intelligent people unable to work as they wish and incapable of finishing a work which they have taken up. Sometimes a person thinks it a bodily weakness or mental weakness or lack of enthusiasm or loss of memory, not knowing that it is very often a matter of regularizing the breath. Most often people think that it is the external senses being tired or exhausted that prevents their thinking, but in reality it is the absence of right breathing, for right breathing can make the mental faculties clearer and the outer organs of the senses more capable of perceiving.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume XIII -  The Gathas,
Part IV: Pasi Anfas: Breath, Gatha II, Full Breath

 

Different Rhythms of Breath

1. Distinguished by speed.
There are three different rhythms of breath which have influence upon the mind. Slow breath gives tranquillity to the mind, and all the creative faculties of mind have scope of work given by this rhythm. Moderate breath helps the mind to continue its activities. If one wanted to make out a plan of work, or wished to accomplish a certain work, the slow activity of breath spoken of above would not be helpful; though for poetry or music the activity of breath which is slow is more helpful. But quickness in the rhythm of breath produces confusion, although it gives a force to physical activities. One can run better or swim well when the breath is in fairly quick rhythm. When the rhythm of the breath is too quick, it brings confusion to the mind and exhaustion to the body.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume XIII -  The Gathas,
Part IV: Pasi Anfas: Breath, Gatha II, Full Breath

 

2. Distinguished by pattern of inhale and exhale.
There are three different kinds of rhythm in the breath: the rhythm which cannot be distinguished in the continuation of inhalation and exhalation; the rhythm that can be distinguished by the two distinct swings of inhaling and exhaling; and evenness in breathing. Those who have not mastered their breath are under the influence of these three rhythms, their health, their mood, and their condition in life; but those who master the breath, can put their breath in any of these rhythms; and when mastery is acquired then the healer has the key to wind any clock... The healer therefore must get his rhythm right so that he can control the mechanism of another person's body...

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume IV -  Mental Purification and Healing,
Part II: Healing, Chapter III, The Development of Healing Power, Rhythm

 

Balance in man's life and being is maintained by the evenness of inhaling and exhaling.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume XIII -  The Gathas,
Part IV: Pasi Anfas: Breath, Gatha III, The Subtle Waves of Breath

 

3. Jelal, Jemal and Kemal.
The whole creation has been formed by the law of rhythm, and rhythm is the cause of all the variety we see in nature. The sun, moon, the stars, woman, man, and all other aspects of nature differ owing to the law of rhythm. Therefore, the seer understands all things and their past, present and future, by the rhythm of the breath. There are two peculiar forces in the rhythm, which in music are called strong and weak accents. Suppose we push the pendulum of a clock with the finger. . . the first swing it will make will be strong, the next turn it will take will be the reaction of the first force, which naturally will be milder in force. So it is with the breath; the breath which flows through the right nostril is Jelal, which represents strength. The breath that flows through the left nostril is called Jemal, which is milder. Breath being the very life, and its influence being not only on our mind but even on our life's affairs, the Jelal and Jemal count greatly with our life's affairs. And when the rhythm is broken, meaning upset, the Jelal and Jemal come into conflict with one another, That is called Kemal. During this time the strength with which the Jelal and Jemal hold our affairs is exhausted, and it brings failure and destruction. Therefore, the Sufi breaks himself to God, Who does not receive them who are unbroken. Uniting with God, the Unlimited, means breaking the self that is limited.

Asrar-ul-Ansar - 7, Mysticism: The Effect of Jelal, Jemal, and Kemal

 

Rhythm and the Healer

The healer, therefore, must get his rhythm right, so that he can control the mechanism of another person's body. In India there is a custom of clapping the hands or snapping the fingers when somebody is yawning. The idea is that yawning is the sign of the falling of the rhythm, it is the rhythm of one's body that falls to a slower rate when one feels inclined to steep, and the clapping of the hands and the snapping of the fingers set the pulsation of the other person in the same rhythm as before. It is just like shaking a person who is nodding, to bring the mechanism of his body into proper working order. When the healer is capable of regulating his own rhythm he becomes capable also of making another person's rhythm regular. It requires great knowledge and inspiration concerning the nature of the human mind and body; and the healer who knows how to work with it is like the conductor with the orchestra. The health of everyone that he heals he keeps regular, as the conductor keeps the rhythm of every musician who plays in the orchestra.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume IV -  Mental Purification and Healing,
Part II: Healing, Chapter III, The Development of Healing Power, Rhythm

 

Rhythm of Breath and Healing Power

The development of healing power depends upon the development of the breath. The breath can be developed by purification, by extension, by expansion, and by rhythm.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume IV -  Mental Purification and Healing,
Part II: Healing, Chapter III, The Development of Healing Power, Rhythm

 

Regular breathing, with rhythm and good circulation of the blood, is necessary. If not, while sending power outside for healing, one gets the disease of the person whom he heals; or when wishing to master something in life, he himself becomes mastered; when wanting to catch someone, he becomes captive.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Githa Amaliyyat -  Psychology II.5,
What Should Be Practiced in Everyday Life to Develop Psychic Power.

 

The mastery of Fikr helps a healer to hold the thought of the patient before his mind. It is Fikr that helps to heal a patient from a distance. Breath, so to speak, is an electric current that can be attached anywhere; distance makes no difference. A current of breath so established puts the ethereal waves in space into motion and according to the healer's magnetic power the space between the healer and the patient becomes filled with a running current of healing power. There is no doubt that spiritual evolution is the first thing necessary; without this the mind power of a healer, however strong, is too feeble for the purpose.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume IV -  Mental Purification and Healing,
Part II: Healing, Chapter IV, The Application of Healing Power, Absent Healing

 

Yogis, who rise above the thoughts and feelings of those around them, attain power by the control of the breath. So the method of the inner cult of Sufis also depends upon the science of breath. Knowledge of another person's pleasure or displeasure, the message of affection, the warning of hostility, all are received by the way of the breath. The one who is conscious of the rhythm of breath and whose breath is pure from grossness, begins to perceive a sense which becomes, in time, a language to him.

Hazrat Inayat Khan - Volume XIII -  The Gathas,
Part IV: Pasi Anfas: Breath, Gatha II, The Rhythmic Breath
(worth reading it all)

 

‘[With rhythmic breathing] the whole system catches the vibration and becomes in harmony with the will, which causes the rhythmic motion of the lungs, and while in such complete harmony will respond readily to orders from the will. With the body thus attuned, the Yogi finds no difficulty in increasing the circulation in any part of the body by an order from the will, and in the same way he can direct an increased current of nerve force to any part or organ, strengthening and stimulating it.

Yogi Ramacharaka - Science of Breath Yogi Publication Society, Chicago USA. 1904 p 61-2