Column: Yogi Ashwani


An individual cell is the basis of all creation and human body is a reflection of that creation. A cell is complete in itself, a nuclear entity with its own energy and prana. The human body is a combination of cells, these cells combine with each other in various permutations and form different systems — the respiratory, excretory, skeletal, muscular, digestive etc. The tri (three) doshas of vata, pitta and kapha also originate at the level of the individual cell; each cell therefore has the potential to control the various functions and processes of the body and thereby the activities of nature and the universe. The ancient sciences of Patanjali Yoga, Tantra and Sanatan Kriya all delve into techniques which take a holistic approach and deal with all the levels of awareness of that one cell. 

Therefore vata, pitta and kapha operate not at a macro level but at the cellular level and it is the single cell which is responsible for all positive and negative effects which ultimately influence the whole body. It is this cell in which heaviness accumulates and depending on the dosha type, the disease, whether obesity, depression or heart trouble starts. It is important to note here that, if this cell is exposed to large doses of oxygen suddenly or instant heat as in certain types of pranayamas, then initially one does feel good as these pranayamas force the heaviness out but this sudden burst of oxygen and energy spends the finite life force in the cell, and the life span shortens.

To understand breath we need to understand the complete mechanism, how with the process of respiration, energy is produced and utilized in the body. The entire process is divided into two parts according to modern science, inhalation (rechak) and exhalation (poorak) but yoga talks about retention (kumbhak) also.

When we inhale we take in oxygen and the prime property of oxygen is “combustion” or burning. In the entire process oxygen causes combustion and energy is produced which is utilized by the body, carbon dioxide and water are released. Whenever something is burnt, along with the main product, by-products or toxins are also produced. In this process also a waste product is released in the body which is called “ama”. This ama, if not thrown out of the body starts collecting and rotting in the body resulting in diseases or ailments. The faster you inhale and exhale, you induce this whole mechanism to work faster. So the more oxygen you take in the body more ama is produced in the body. This collected ama which is acidic in nature then slowly and steadily starts corroding the internal organs. I have through various experiments experienced the effect of corrosion. A direct symptom of collection of ama is emotional tensions and congestions, greying of hair, wrinkling of skin, losing the glow and tendency of weakness. 
Also we need to understand the process of ageing. “More is not always good, nature is balance, and a healthy body is also a result of balance”. When we inhale oxygen, through combustion, it produces energy, this energy is utilized by the cell (the single unit which constitutes the physical body), the process is called metabolism. Now this cell utilizes the energy produced and after a period of time dies and two more are generated or we can say it splits or mutates into two. The underlying point to understand is, faster the breathing, faster is the metabolism and faster is the rate at which the cell degenerates or mutates. Every new cell produced is weaker than the previous one and reflects the state of the body. This entire procedure is ageing of the body. If we look at nature we’ll observe that animals who breathe fast have a short life span, for example dogs have a maximum life span of 16 years and animals like tortoise who breathe slow live for up to 150 years. In simple words faster the metabolism, faster is the process of ageing. It is also noticed that when a person is going through heart attack, he pants for more and more air, so is the person on the death bed doing, the body tries to draw maximum oxygen as the cell is dying.

Now visualizing the whole process in totality, fast breathing techniques on one hand push the body towards faster ageing and apparently give a feeling of utopian strength, but actually the body is losing strength and on the other hand the internal organs are being weakened and diseased with the effect of corrosion because of ama. The effects are the symptoms of ageing.

—The writer Yogi Ashwini Ji is the head of Dhyan Foundation, Delhi.
For Details contact:

July 2010

click here to enlarge

 >> Cover Story
 >> From the Editor