Our personal energy level affects our lives in multifaceted ways. Energy determines our capacity for elegant action in the world. Energy bounds the intensity with which we can express ourselves. It determines, for instance, our ability to speak powerfully -- with animation and impact.
When our energy level is optimal, we become aroused and alerted to the world around us. Then, with a profound reciprocity, nature seems alerted to and connected to us. We experience energy as vigor and stamina -- the physical and mental strength that we can sustain and bring to bear upon any problem.
We all feel our energy in its potential and active forms. We sense our reserves as well as our immediate energy and use our assessment of both to determine which challenges we will take on and which we will decline. And one of our greatest sources for reserve energy is our spirit. Whether we recognize it or not, when we reach deeply within ourselves and tap into our spirit, that spirit gives us stamina, grit, scope, and energy that works regardless of everything happening around us.
Drawing Energy from Healthy or Unhealthy Sources?
Even though our energy level has multiple areas of expression and corresponding sources, most of us form habits and consistently draw our energy from a few favored yet unhealthy sources. Instead of drawing on the body-mind-spirit as a whole, we grab on to seemingly immediate solutions like food, drugs, emotional dramas, or excitement. But our design is subtler than that. Our sources are more diverse.
We need to think more holistically about our energy level and its sources, for quick fixes like food and drugs actually take away more energy than they provide. Breath, on the other hand, works as an energy source. It is one we don't use enough. Huge reserves of energy lie buried in our musculature and in our glands, ready to be tapped and used -- by mastering our own breathing.
You see, the nervous system can actually contain and release energy. The part of your nervous system called the autonomic system can be developed in the same way that a muscle can be toned or shaped. And the energy stored or released in that system is directly affected by breathing, exercise, and your entire attitude. Your emotions, and all the electrical and chemical processes that change with them, are sources for energy.
Awareness is a Source of Energy
Awareness itself is also a great source of energy, for your state of awareness directly changes the pattern of your brain activity. Good healthy nutrition and conscious eating are another source of energy and healing. Our ideal is to be vitalized by all these sources. We want to align our habits and activities to sources of energy that deliver us in the present and sustain us for the future.
But without some training and conscious introspection, most of us do not use all of these sources. Instead, once we sense our energy is running low, we let our search for more energy get directed by unconscious habits and emergency reflexes. We grasp whatever seems closest and takes the least attention or effort. Surrounded by junk food and instant everything, we often make poor choices and end up losing energy instead of gaining it. A drink or two to relax at the end of the day seems reasonable, but for many people it leads to depression, reckless driving, and emotional withdrawal.
Not knowing how to tap our core energy, some of us rely on stirring up an emotional storm within ourselves. The resulting emotional outburst releases energy but, like a bad storm, devastates everything in its path -- a short-term gain, but an enduring loss that actually depletes our energy. In order to get and stay vitalized and healthy for the long run, however, we need to cultivate effective energy regeneration strategies. Like a flowing stream, we need constant renewal to live well.
Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a divn of Random House, Inc.
© 2000. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced
or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Breathwalk: Breathing Your Way to a Revitalized Body, Mind and Spirit
by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D. and Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D.
In this simple program that anyone can follow, two of the world's leading experts in meditation and kundalini yoga reveal the power and flexibility of this technique for the first time. Centuries old traditions come together with modern scientific research in an effective and enjoyable holistic way to exercise. This practical, insightful guide is a breath of fresh air that can change your life for the better every time you take a step.
About The Authors
Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., is an expert in the mind, a yogi, psychotherapist, teacher, and writer. He is president of a business consulting firm, Khalsa Consultants, Inc., and has taught kundalini yoga with Yogi Bhajan for over thirty years.
Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D., is a Master of kundalini and tantric yoga. He is the spiritual leader of the Sikh religion in the Western Hemisphere. He inspired the creation of the family of Golden Temple natural products, including Yogi Tea and Peace Cereals. They are also co-authors of The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets.