You want to control your feelings but find it difficult… Depression, anxiety, fear, anger or grief fill your mind.
Many people turn to drugs to suppress these feelings. Strong Western drugs are available. So too is alcohol and marijuana. The more self-aware turn to herbal medicines. But still, the results are limited.
The wiser ones adopt an Ayurvedic lifestyle as the results penetrate much deeper. But, the wisest of all know that the mind and the breath are one. We breathe our feelings.
There is a breath of depression, a breath of anxiety, a breath of fear, a breath of anger and a breath of grief. “prana is the lord of the mind” says Swami Swatmarama in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Learning to control breath is the secret to controlling the mind and taking control of one’s feelings. Pranayama (breathing practices) help in this training but is not complete. Pratyahara (mastering the senses) takes it deeper. But this too is not complete. “Laya, or absorption, is the lord of prana”. This means that only when we are fully absorbed does the mind become quiet.
Breath may even stop at this time and we are filled with bliss. At that time, we remember our True nature as spirit and the veil of our ignorance (avidya) is removed. At this time, the master may simply be ready for moksha (liberation). Or, with dharma still to serve in this world, may return to ordinary awareness but be changed forever.
Now, knowing the “truth – sat” the mind engages. Think of this as a “reset”. The mind is no longer tainted by the old desires. The patterns of thought and feeling have been broken. The mind is now under greater control. There is inner peace. This is the path of Yoga.
For the person who is not ready for liberation (moksha), this practice must occur again and again. Living in this world constantly tempts the ego (ahamkara) and it is easy to forget.
This is why we practice daily. This is sadhana.