Breathing (Pranayama) and the Law of Giving & Receiving
The law of giving and receiving is one of what Deepak Chopra calls The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. This law tells us that the universe is constantly nourishing us when we are nourishing it. When we give what we would like to receive, we actually get just that. For example, when we put love, gratitude, and joy out into the world by way of positive interactions, a welcoming demeanor, and random acts of kindness, we get all of those good vibes sent right back to us to receive.
I feel particularly connected to this law after having taught a charity yoga class at Namaskar Yoga in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The entire experience exemplified the law of giving and receiving:
- I gave my time and energy to teach the class
- Students gave their time to attend, and donated $5 to a worthy charity (Inspiration Café)
- The studio owner gave her location to house the class
- And every single one of us was showered with the benefits as we shared space, breath, and laughter in the course of that 75 minutes.
What could be more beautiful than that?
We all, in fact, have a simple method for perpetuating this giving-receiving continuum every minute of every day. It’s called breathing, or pranayama. When you think about the act of breathing—how you are taking into your body these particles that had previously been swirling and twirling around outside of you, and then release them a moment later to take in breath anew—you can see how we humans are always giving to and receiving from the atmosphere in which we live. When we add consciousness to this typically automatic action, we deepen the practice of giving and receiving even more. Imagine: consciously breathing in love, joy, and kindness and intentionally breathing the same out into the world! How bright our smiles could be! How connected we could feel to our neighbors and friends! Just by sharing the simple act of breathing, colored with the beautiful qualities of love, joy, and kindness.
We can also use the action of the breath as a metaphor and try to emulate its cycle of giving and receiving in other ways throughout our days. Recall that to experience the law of giving and receiving, you just need to be willing to give to others exactly what you’d like to receive. If your wallet feels light and you’d like to encourage abundance in your life, tip your waiter a little extra the next time you eat out. If you are suffering the winter blues and desperately need some cheering up, extend some extra kindness and a smile to the bus driver as you board today. If you’re feeling alone and crave affection, reach out to an old friend and express your gratitude for their presence in your life. You’re telling the universe that everything you need, everything you crave, is already there inside of you—and the universe will respond in kind, giving you even more.
Mr. Chopra gives us an excellent set of affirmations regarding the law of giving and receiving. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so profound.
So what is it that you want more of? And what can you do today to give that exact thing to someone you encounter?