Updated: 20 hours ago
As a Yoga teacher - I am also a breathing teacher. Breathing, called pranayama, is one of the eight limbs of the ancient Vedic system of spiritual liberation called "Yoga". In our primary Yoga texts we discover that the promises of fulfilling the Yoga process can result in ascension to a higher plane. All eight stages of Yoga rely on each other, therefore, they all rely on breathing. I'm always interested and concerned with how people are utilizing oxygen - so this new mask thing we are dealing with as a society is an interesting quandary for serious Yoga practitioners to ponder.
In my early twenties, when introduced to Yoga, I was comforted by the control I quickly developed over myself by taking my breathing seriously. For the first time in my life I was learning to breathe "correctly". And not only was I learning to breathe correctly for health and well-being, but also for reasons which really captivated me -I was learning ancient methods of breathing for spiritual purposes.
No matter who you are breath/oxygen regulation and manipulation are powerful tools in combating everyday anxiety. By controlling our oxygen levels we can better abide in a heightened state of consciousness, decreasing feelings of something we all suffer from at times - what I call, existential angst - an underlying anxiety because you exist. (Existence, as Buddha pointed out, causes anxiety.)
My opinion regarding masks has nothing to do with politics or any pseudo faith in the medical industrial complex dominating our health-care collective consciousness. As a yogin, wearing a mask works against my practice and lifestyle. It works against my spiritual goals. It is not only for practical health reasons that I disagree with mask wearing for myself - but because of the spiritual work I do as a devotee of religious Yoga.
Because in yoga we practice breathing all the time, it’s called “PRANAYAMA” - as I stated above.
Pranayama is two Sanskrit words:
Prana - means life force energy
Ayama - means to control
Yoga as a whole has 8 parts and is a very serious practice of purifying the psyche, or energy body, before physical death. Yogins believe preparation for physical death is super important because of the technicalities of reincarnation. Just because people aren't generally aware of what happens to their subtle body during the process of reincarnation does not mean that it doesn't happen. Yogins are very interested in this process. We take great interest in reincarnation and the possibilities of our future whereabouts. We practice experiencing the reality of higher dimensions during our meditations - and we understand that one might reach those higher locations with proper preparation. That proper preparation is contained in our yoga scriptures.
My state of consciousness at the time of my physical death is important to me - and other yoga enthusiasts. Through lifestyle regulation (yama/niyama), exercises and breathing practices (asana/pranayama) we elevate self awareness - and control of self-consciousness (pratyahara). We work to maintain this control and to have it at the time of death - instead of spacing out into non-consciousness/non-objectivity. This is important to us as we transition out of our bodies into the astral realm. We are aiming for our next reincarnation to be in a higher dimension. To do that, the subtle body has to be compatible with the levels of vibration of that higher environment. This all depends on oxygen and it purification properties. We are at it's mercy. It has the power to increase the vibration of the subtle body which is necessary for compatibility with higher dimensions.
My religious practice, Yoga, depends on my conscious, everyday use of oxygen. Maybe no other religion can make this claim in quite the same way, but Yoga certainly can. Although some may find this a selfish reason to avoid mask wearing, I disagree. I have worked diligently on my health, healing myself of the common cold, common viruses and bacterial infections. I did this by not treating myself with pharmaceuticals, but rather pushing my body when it became ill to create its own antibodies - which it clearly did. I haven't taken an antibiotic since 1998 and haven't had a cold since 2000.
This COVID thing is not exactly a 'bring out yer dead' situation.
(See Monty Python And the Holy Grail if you don't get the reference.)
If the air was full of toxins and people were dying around me, I'd put the damn mask on and fatefully kiss my hopes of achieving a higher dimensional reincarnation goodbye! But we're not. Not even close. So please, please understand that for some people, oxygen and it's effect on health and consciousness, are spiritual matters, not merely survival.
What does oxygen do? It purifies you. Heals you. Relaxes you. Focuses you. Calms and sustains you. True practicing yogins go to great lengths through aggressive breathing exercises to perform super clean-outs of physical contaminants from the physical body as well as psychic contaminants from the energy body, also called the subtle body. This is the body you are in when you are in dream realms and the one you will find yourself in when your physical one dies.
You’ve done this over and over, its called reincarnation. But nature has you programmed to not recall the process of transition from one body to another and to not remember past lives. Yoga aims to help the student gain insight into the reincarnation process, to reveal its secrets, and ultimately to attain higher, less traumatic living environments.
In Yoga we believe that, depending on your actions, you can either go upward in your incarnations or you can go downward. You could become a king or a peasant, a hero or a criminal. You can become and angel or you can become a demon.
As a yogin, every moment of everyday that I am a breathing being on this Earth I am practicing pranayama. It’s that important. During a concentrated Yoga exercise session, time is set aside to perform a super psychic clean out. Yet pranayama, from a yogic standpoint, concerns every single breath.
Every breath matters.
And you can’t make up for during your concentrated yoga session what you missed out on when you were wearing a mask and poisoning your body with what nature intended for you to breathe out as waste.
When I wear a mask, which I do when I must, like at work, my pranayama practice absolutely STOPS. It actually becomes an experience of the opposite, of anti-pranayama.
I am inhaling waste. Heavy carbon dioxides, carbon monoxide, nitrogen and many other heavy toxic gases gather in my mask, I breathe them in over and over until I feel light headed - then I instinctively pull my mask under my nose. I feel how my own waste is depleting and poisoning my body and mind. I go home with a headache most of the time. No wonder people who wear masks in the medical industry seem so often unhealthy and tired. Now I get it.
I don’t wear a mask when I am not required to not because I am a Trump supporter, in fact I loathe him. There’s nothing to trust about politicians. And its not because I’m stubborn or lacking in knowledge about the 'facts'. In fact I’m relatively passive - but informed. I don’t wear a mask because oxygen is the single greatest asset to my spiritual practice. I have focused on and taught about breathing for 20 years, I know the value of oxygen. And it would take much more than a 98% recovery rate to convince me to sacrifice my oxygen intake for social acceptance by wearing the mask when it is not demanded of me by law.
Oxygen is the most important thing in my WHOLE life, and in your's - whether you're a yogin or not. There’s nothing more important.
The next most important thing is water.
If someone pressures you to stop drinking so much water - or to contaminate your water, for the supposed, but not apparent, good of others - would you do it? Or would you determine this to be a quite unreasonable request?
I hope we can all expand our understanding of oxygen and consider it's value to others - especially outside of politics, mainstream medicine and mainstream media. Not all of us take positions based on what we see on cable news or from what a doctor or nurse told us. Let’s consider this from a spiritual perspective, a Yogic perspective. And not what we might WANT Yoga to be, but from what it is as it is found in its scriptures. The source texts.
Thank you for reading, I am very aware this is not an easy topic to deal with.
Take care and take deep breaths!!