One of my long-time yoga students sent me an article from Scientific American called, “Proper Breathing Brings Better Health—Stress reduction, insomnia prevention, emotion control, improved attention—certain breathing techniques can make life better. But where do you start?”
Basically, the article shows how scientific research has documented what yogis have been practicing for centuries. In fact, the breath is at the core of yoga. Although I’ve noticed that some of the current popular styles, such as vinyasa flow, don’t have much emphasis on breathing exercises.
Many years ago, I took Sivananda yoga classes, which usually included at least 10 minutes of such exercises, featuring several different forms of breath control. After reading that article, I was thinking about a man named Bharata, the teacher who taught those classes, when a text message came through from someone in the group text of yoga teachers at Moksha Yoga where I teach. To my surprise the text featured a photo of Bharata, with a link to his web site. He is not part of the group, in fact, he is retired from teaching yoga. So I was quite amazed to see his picture appear there, especially since I was thinking about him. I’ve also never seen any pictures appear in that group text.
A moment later, the person who put it up wrote and said: “Oops, that was meant for another group text. Sorry.” I responded by saying I was just thinking about that guy after reading an article about the importance of breathing exercises, and I left a link to the article for the teachers.
Of course it was a meaningful coincidence for me, and after reading the article I was moved to begin my yoga class this evening with a couple of the breathing techniques Bharata taught, including Kapalabhati (or Shining Skull breath) and alternate nostril breathing. I hadn’t done either of those particular breathing exercises in class for several years.
So that was a synchronicity for me. Psychic experiences, including synchros like that one, are referred to in yoga philosophy as siddhis. As with many synchronicities, I was left with the feeling that there was something bigger going on. What started with an article sent to me led to a discussion in the group text about the role of the breath, or prana, in yoga, and to my talking to my class about the article and leading them in breathing exercises they hadn’t seen from me in past classes.