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The Whistling Breath

Benefits of Whistling

Research on the vagus nerve has revealed that it is involved in our feelings of compassion, empathy, and goodness. 

Any exaggerated movement of the lips stimulates the vagus nerve. "Medical science says the vagus nerve is important. Yoga says it is very important."

The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve. Its name is derived from the Latin word for "wandering" because it wanders from the brain stem through the organs in the neck, chest, and abdomen. It supplies motor and sensory parasympathetic fibers to pretty much everything from the neck down to the first third of the transverse colon.

It is involved in heart rate, intestinal peristalsis, sweating, speech, and quite a few muscle movements of the mouth. It is important for speech and in keeping the larynx open for breathing. It also controls a few skeletal muscles.

"The central vagus nerve (can) get loosened out of extra pressure and the (resulting) mind imbalance makes the life very complicated...If you cannot stimulate your central vagus nerve, you are going to go nuts in the few years to come."

"Whistle breath changes the circulation. The nerves in the tongue activate the higher glands such as the thyroid and parathyroid, and the lung capacity is increased."

"Whistle—it will relax all the tension and stress out of you."

"In your life you must whistle every day for three minutes. It gives you relaxation."

"Whistling is breath and music combined. It is music and breath, and you work with the lips. It is very powerful. When soldiers walk, they start whistling and singing. It relaxes inside and out. It creates a balance."

"When your seventh chakra works and you are in ecstasy, at that moment only you like to hear your own voice (here Yogi Bhajan demonstrated a humming sound) or you start whistling."

The technique of whistling for meditation is very simple. It is only a little more complex than the whistling done for pleasure. The lips and the ears play a part in this technique. Sometimes the whistle is only done on the inhalation, sometimes only on the exhalation, and sometimes on both inhalation and exhalation. It all depends on the instructions for the kriya.

To do it on the inhalation: pucker your lips, concentrate on the third eye point (unless otherwise instructed), and inhale through the mouth making a high-pitched whistle. Exhale through the nose. Focus the ears on the sound of the whistle on the inhalation and on the soft sound of the breath through the nose on the exhalation.    

To do it on the exhalation, reverse the procedure: inhale through the nose and exhale through the puckered lips with a whistle. Focus the eyes at the third eye point (unless otherwise instructed), and focus the ears on the sound of the whistle and the breath.

"When you whistle, neutralize your energy like you are calling on Infinity. Whistle to call God to come in."

©The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

Praana, Praanee, Praanayam, available through KRI.