What Does It Mean to Transcend Body and/or Breath Consciousness?


What is meant by transcending breath-consciousness and body-consciousness as a stage in meditation/meditation technique such as Hongsau / Aum/ Kriya as taught by Paramahansa Yoganandaji?

—m.thangaraj, India


Dear Thangaraj,

Transcending body consciousness means no longer being disturbed by the body’s apparent need to change positions, be warmer or cooler, scratch an itch, and so on. You are not distracted by the body, or even aware of its existence. There also comes a deeper level in which your sense of self is totally separate from the body; you have a body, but you are not the body.

Transcending breath consciousness means going beyond the hypnosis of needing to breathe in order to exist. Your body might still be breathing, but you do not have the thought, “I am breathing.” Breathing is simply happening, and it has nothing to do with who you truly are. At a deeper level, the breath stops altogether; there is no breath to be conscious of, and the mind becomes very still.

May you transcend body, breath, mind, and ego consciousness in your practice.

Nayaswami Gyandev