Updated on: Friday, November 12, 2021, 07:15 PM IST

Guiding Light: The life breath of existence


Q: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. What is the role of the breath in one’s spiritual growth?

Sadhguru: In yogic terminology, the breath is referred to as koorma nadi. The koorma nadi is that which ties you as a being to this physical manifestation of a body. As you know, the body is an accumulation of what we have eaten, or in other words, it is just a piece of the planet, but right now, you perceive it as “you” because body and being are so well tied together. And it is the koorma nadi, the thread of koorma, which does that. If I take away your breath, you and your body will fall apart.

The significance of the breath in spiritual practice is that it gives you access to that point or that dimension where the physical and the non-physical are tied together – that is if you know the breath as koorma. Right now, you only know the sensations caused by the passage of air – that is not koorma. The koorma nadi is more than the air that you breathe – but without the air that you breathe, it will not happen. The passage of the air is important, but koorma is not limited to that. It is the life-breath of existence that you are inhaling and exhaling. If it is taken away, you and your body will not be capable of staying together. They will fall apart.

Travelling with your koorma nadi is an effort to know that space where the physical and the non-physical meet. That is the purpose of the Shambhavi Mahamudra – to be in the twilight zone where you are in the physical but touch a dimension beyond the physical. It would be very simple to leave the physical and go to the non-physical – a bullet in the head would do that, but that is not our aspiration. The aspiration of a human being is to be rooted in the physical but have a taste of that which is beyond.

The breath is one of the easiest tools to approach the non-physical dimension. There are other ways too, but they would need much more care, instruction, guidance, and assistance. With the process of breath, it happens much more easily. That is why the breath is significant in a spiritual context.

(Ranked amongst the 50 most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the “Padma Vibhushan”, India’s highest annual civilian award, by the Government of India in 2017, for exceptional and distinguished service.)

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Saturday, November 13, 2021, 07:00 AM IST