How Meditation Extends Your Lifespan…

How Meditation Extends Your Lifespan

In the Bhagavad Gita, it’s said anyone can live to 200 years. Seems impossible without some kind of crazy medical intervention, but modern technological breakthroughs aren’t necessary. According to Hindus, the key to a long life isn’t in genetics or in medical augmentation, but in the breath.

In yoga, the breath is everything. Control of the breath is said to yield powerful and beneficial results, the goal of which is to bring enlightenment and spiritual awareness. But the indirect benefit is an increased lifespan. How?

By slowing the breath down.

SEE ALSO: Buddha-Basics: Understanding Impermanence


Ancient sages noticed that a rapid, shallow breath caused restlessness; conversely, a slow breath led to a calm state of mind. Conclusion? Breath and consciousness are intimately connected. In many ways, to control one is to control the other.

This, they concluded, was the key to enlightenment. By controlling the breath, we can induce deeper and deeper states of consciousness, thereby eventually reaching supernatural realms. Powerful stuff, right? This eventually developed into a yogic science known as pranayama. Prana is literally defined in Sanskrit as “life force” which runs throughout the body and spine. ‘Ayama’ means control. Pranayama, then, means life force control, and this is accomplished through unique breathing techniques.

Increased Lifespan

Interestingly, Indian sages noticed that the slow breathing rates created by pranayama and meditation also increased lifespan. By observing animals, they rightly concluded that the slowest breathing vertebrates lived the longest. For instance, the tortoise is one of the longest living animals on our planet. Unconfirmed reports talk of the tortoise living for as many as 400 years, and it’s not unusual to find a 182-year-old tortoise like Jonathan.

All this makes sense, right? After all, you’re literally slowing down your entire body. And combined over a lifetime, lots of meditation will yield powerful results, significantly slowing the aging process.


So how do you control the breath effectively? There are many techniques, but I suppose one of the most popular ones would be the alternate nostril breath in combination with a mala to count the number performed. Try practicing in the morning or the evening, and see what this technique can do for you!


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Matt Caron

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Matt is the content manager of the Sivana blog, an enthusiastic Yoga teacher, and life voyager. He strives to inspire…

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