“The second body, pranamaya kosha, gives you a new freedom, gives you more space. The second body is bigger than the first; it is not confined to your physical body. It is inside the physical body and it is outside the physical body. It surrounds you like a subtle climate, an aura of energy. Now in Soviet Russia they have discovered that photographs can be taken of the energy body. They call it bioplasma, but it exactly means prana. The energy, elan vital, or what Taoists call chi, it can be photographed now. Now it has become almost scientific.
“One very great discovery has been made in Soviet Russia, and that is: before your physical body suffers some illness, the energy body suffers it — six months before. Then it happens to the physical body. If you are going to have tuberculosis or cancer or any other illness, your energy body starts showing indications of it six months before. No examination, no testing of the physical body shows anything, but the electric body starts showing it. First it appears in the pranamaya kosha, then it enters into the annamaya kosha.
“So now they say that it has become possible to treat a person before he has fallen ill. Once it becomes so, then there is no need for humanity to fall ill. Before you become aware that you are ill, your photographs by Kirlian methods will show that some illness is going to happen to your physical body. It can be prevented in the pranamaya kosha.
“That’s why yoga insists very much on the purity of breathing, because the pranamaya kosha is made of a subtle energy that travels inside you with the breathing. If you breathe rightly, your pranamaya kosha remains healthy and whole and alive.
“Such a person never feels tired. Such a person is always available to do anything. Such a person is always responsive, always ready to respond to the moment, ready to take the challenge. He is always ready; you will never find him unprepared for any moment. Not that he plans for the future, no, but he has so much energy that whatsoever happens he is ready to respond. He has overflowing energy.
“Natural breathing has to be understood. Watch small children, they breathe naturally. That’s why small children are so full of energy. The parents are tired, but they are not tired.
“From where does the energy come? It comes from pranamaya kosha. A child breathes naturally, and of course breathes more prana in, more chi in, and accumulates it in his belly. The belly is the accumulating place, the reservoir. Watch a child; that is the right way to breathe. When a child breathes, his chest is completely unaffected. His belly goes up and down. He breathes as if from the belly. All children have a little belly; that belly is there because of their breathing and the reservoir of energy.
“That is the right way to breathe; remember not to use your chest too much. Sometimes it can be used — in emergency periods. You are running to save your life; then the chest can be used. It is an emergency device. Then you can use shallow, fast breathing, and run. But ordinarily the chest should not be used. And one thing to be remembered: the chest is meant only for emergency situations because it is difficult in an emergency situation to breathe naturally, because if you breathe naturally you remain so calm and quiet you cannot run, you cannot fight. You are so calm and collected you are buddhalike. And in an emergency — the house is on fire — if you breathe naturally you will not be able to save anything. Or a tiger jumps upon you in a forest and if you go on breathing naturally you will not be bothered; you will say, “Okay, let him do whatsoever he wants.” You will not be able to protect yourself.
“So nature has given an emergency device; the chest is an emergency device. When a tiger attacks you, you have to drop natural breathing and you have to breathe from the chest. Then you will have more capacity to run, to fight, to burn energy fast. And in an emergency situation there are only two alternatives: flight or fight. Both need a very shallow but intense energy…shallow, but a very disturbed, tense state.
“If you continuously breathe from the chest, you will have tensions in your mind. If you continuously breathe from the chest, you will always be afraid because the chest breathing is meant to be only in fearful situations. And if you have made it a habit then you will be continuously afraid, tense, always in flight. The enemy is not there, but you will imagine the enemy is there. That’s how paranoia is created.
“Watch a child and that is the natural breathing, and breathe that way. Let your belly come up when you inhale, let your belly go down when you exhale. And let it be in such a rhythm it becomes almost a song in your energy, a dance — with rhythm, with harmony — and you will feel so relaxed, so alive, so vital that you cannot imagine that such vitality is possible.”
Yoga: The Path to Liberation, Talk #1