Why Focusing on the Breath is Essential During Asanas
Questioner: Why should we focus on the breath during asanas?
Sadhguru: Your mind and emotions need a single object to focus on. If both of them stay with the same object, you are at maximum ease. If your body goes in one direction, your mind goes in another, and your emotions go in yet another direction, you will be struggling. Let’s say you have a job that you are very involved with, a family at home, and an affair on the side, you will be in a lot of mess – never at ease. Only if your body, mind, and emotions are focused in one direction, you will be at total ease.
Nothing and no one – neither your job nor your wealth nor your family nor your love affair – are as reliable as your breath. As long as you live, it will always be there. It is the most steady and reliable thing to focus your mind on. If while doing an asana, you do not focus your mind onto the breath, it will go all over the place. Therefore, focus on the breath. If I take away your breath now, you and your body will fall apart. It is your breath which holds you and your body together. This kurma nadi, as we call it in yoga, is like a thread that ties you and your body together.
If you constantly stay with your breath, if you really travel with it, one day, you will understand where you and your body are linked. Once you know this, you can hold your body at a distance, and all your trouble and suffering will be over. All the trouble and suffering in your life arise from your body and your mind. If you can hold your body and your mind at a distance to yourself, this is the end of suffering. And only when there is no fear of suffering, a human being will dare to explore his life at full stride.
So, being with the breath is very important. One thing is your mind has a steady companion to stay with. Anyone may leave you, but your breath will not leave you until you die. And another thing is it will transport you to a place where you and your body are linked. If you don’t want your life to be determined by multiple factors of compulsiveness, if you want to do or undo your life by choice, it is important to know this place.
Take a look at the Hatha Yoga Guide, where Sadhguru elaborates on many more aspects of Hatha Yoga that can deepen your practice and experience of this profound technology.
Editor’s Note: Isha Hatha Yoga programs are an extensive exploration of classical hatha yoga, which revive various dimensions of this ancient science that are largely absent in the world today. These programs offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore Upa-yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya, Surya Shakti, Yogasanas and Bhuta Shuddhi, among other potent yogic practices.