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Change your breathing, change your life

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What if something as natural as your breathing affected your moods? Rajshree Patel, one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time, is convinced of the power of breathing. She shares her mantra with her course members, world leaders and multinationals.

Rajshree, the female face of Art of Living, discovered breathing as a tool for happiness when she ended up at a meditation evening with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. She was flabbergasted when he explained that breathing can have a big influence on emotions.

“I thought: huh, could it be that simple? But yes, it is the most direct way. You can change thoughts and emotions through your breathing. It’s very hard to explain; you have to try it and experience it for yourself. It’s like talking extensively about how delicious the food in a restaurant is, but you won’t experience the sensation of the flavours until you try it yourself.”

Would you try to explain it anyway, this secret of breathing?

“Breathing is the most important thing in life: it gives you life energy. However, most people don’t use breath to its full capacity. They only use 30%, they breathe superficially and irregularly. And they don’t exhale completely, although this is terribly important, because that’s when you breathe out toxic substances and make your mind calm and pure.

Breathing is inextricably connected to your mood. For example, when you are angry, you breathe quickly, you inhale more, and your breath is hot. When you’re sad, your breathing becomes heavy and slow and you exhale more, through your left nostril. But when you’re relaxed, you hardly notice inhaling because it’s that easy. You can turn it around as well: you can influence your emotions with your breathing. You can use your breath to create positive emotions.”

That sounds like magic. It can’t be that simple, can it?

“That’s exactly what I thought after my first course: if I were able to bottle this and sell it, I’d be the richest person on the planet. After the course I slept better and deeper, and I worked faster. A few weeks later I did 33 cases a week instead of 11. And I didn’t have to do anything for it apart from the breathing exercises. It’s a lot like water: you hold your hand in it and it gets wet. It’s that simple. Before this course I existed, after it I was alive!”

Text: Bianca Bartels - Photo: Eli Defaria

Want to read the whole interview with Rajshree Patel? It was published in Happinez 1 - Follow your heart