THE PRANAYAMA AS THE FOUNDATIONAL LINK BETWEEN MIND AND BODY
It is customary to divide respiration into two series of mechanisms:
1. The external respiration is the route traveled by oxygen (CO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air circulation that is created between the nostrils, the mouth, and the lungs.
2. The internal respiration is the route traveled by oxygen (CO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the physiological channels of the organism outside of the lungs.
In body psychotherapy, the external respiration is mostly the focus of attention because it can be changed by the voluntary movement of the muscles. The body psychotherapist cannot directly affect the internal respiration, but he is mindful of it, for it has a great impact on the vegetative and affective dynamics. However, these internal interactions are for the moment not well understood, or more specifically, not sufficiently understood to allow an explicit handling in body psychotherapy.
The breathing exercises in yoga form the discipline of pranayama. They use hatha yoga to modulate the external respiration and call the effects of internal respiration on the organism, prana. Prana designates metabolic operations that remain difficult to explain as long as we do not have a full description of the impact of internal breathing on the organism, on affects, and on the vitality of the mind. The body psychotherapist of today has but a simplistic vision of what is described by the Hindu theories of prana, which has been associated with magical and alchemical properties. It is probable that some of these magical properties will be revisitedâ by tomorrow’s scientists.