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Breathing

  • Merin Kyo Den
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05 Apr 2008 20:42 #13165 by Merin Kyo Den
Breathing was created by Merin Kyo Den
Hello all,

I want to talk a little about breathing. Breathing in itself is a form of meditation in the Zen tradition. Proper breathing is essential for learning to meditate. Logically all parts of the body need oxygen to function properly. Deep rhythmic breathing dramatically increases the available supply of oxygen in the blood and thusly increases it to the vital areas of your body, Especially the brain. Let's go over some of the benefits......

Increased energy: Your energy levels will increase due to improved nutrient assimilation. It's no secret that your body needs nutrients to function. Proper breathing will allow your body to absorb these much needed vitamins and minerals much more efficiently.

Increased waste elimination: This is just as it implies. Every time you exhale you not only expel carbon dioxide, But other toxins, such as uric acid, are expelled as well Dramatic relaxation of mind and body: This one if obvious. If you want to relax or relieve stress, This works almost immediately.

Vital force accumulation: Known by many names(Chi, Ki, or Prana as the Yogis call it) This is the essence, In my humble opinion, Of life. The chi is gathered and stored in the body for future use as energy and vitality, Sort of like making a deposit in a savings account and using it in times of need.

Raised metabolism: We all know what this does. A metabolism well supplied with oxygen just works better and is much more efficient.

Rejuvenation: Increasing your lung capacity has many benefits including the reduction of fatigue and headaches. It may also help prevent hardening of the arteries. It's greatest benefit by far is a noticeable (after a few months of practice) Increase in mental capacity and responses.

Asian philosophy teaches us that each life has a pre determined (barring an accident) number of breaths. By breathing slowly and deeply your life is extended i proportion to your practice of breath control. Wow I've said a lot. I need to take a breath now.....................................................................................


Now Take A Deep Breath..................

Let's discuss some breathing exercises you can start right away. The exercises are Hara exercises. What's Hara you ask? \"The vital centre of the self, the focus of existence. The hara designates the part of the lower abdomen and pelvis region near the genital organs. It is an area located one and a half inch below the navel and one and a half inches inward toward the spine. This point also happens to be the body’s central axis (centre of gravity / balancing point) . The word hara literally translated means belly. Energy (chi) is stored in the hara where it is heated before spreading throughout the body - hence a warm glowing feeling.

Energy may also be directed at will to whatever task is undertaken. The hara may be considered as being a boiler in a powerhouse, or a storage heater in your home. When it is working it pumps heat into a room, but when it is not doing so - during an off-peak period -then it stores heat within itself to be used at a later time. This is exactly the same principle by which inner power works. You give yourself time to relax, then you use that period to conserve and store further energy. As all energy is heat, you will readily understand the relationship.\" (as written by Karlfried Graf Durckheim)

Start sitting indian style, If you can't that's OK. Just sit with your back erect in a chair. Your posture is very important to your success. Rest your hands Gently on your knees palms down. You will be focusing the breath into your belly. Try to not lift your shoulders, But rather imagine to air as smoke being pulled down into your belly. Let your stomach expand and contract with each breath. Breath slowly and gently through your nose for a count of 5. You should feel your abdomen fill first, Then your lower ribs, And last, Your upper ribs. While inhaling place your tongue on the roof of your mouth while inhaling and holding breath. Now hold that breath for another 5 seconds.

NOw let your tongue fall as you gently exhale through your mouth. As you breath in and out try to visualize the smoke starting to glow in your belly. After a few minutes start to see the smoke making it's way down your legs, And then up your torso until your whole body is filled with white/golden smoke. Make sure you fill your lungs completely with each breath empty them at exhale. There you go. Nice and easy. I do this every morning before starting my yoga, and every night before my last \"hello sun\" set of yoga postures. If you want to take it a step further, Try this. When your to the point of seeing the glowing smoke all through your body, start to listen to your body. Here your heart beat, The rhythm of blood flow, The rhythm of your breaths.

Listen to the thoughts running through your head. Listen to the things your senses are telling you. Your sight, hearing, and smell. make sure at this point you don't close your eyes. Now start to \"Turn off\" the outside stimuli. Not pretend it's not there mind you, Just accept it and move past it. after your no longer distracted by the outside world, We move to the inner one. All those thoughts we mentioned earlier? Start to shut them off one by one until your left with your body. Do the same with your body functions until your left with just your heartbeat and breath. Now slowly......slowly....sink past even your own heartbeat until your left with just a breath.......a whisper......you are void of thought........of desire..................BREATH............breath.............breath.............breath.............. .......until there's not even your breath to hear............................
I should add that breathing is a form of meditation in itself. If you feel stress or anger, Try taking a step back, Take a long, Slow, deep breath, Hold it for 5 seconds, And let it go. As you exhale drop your shoulders and feel the tension leave your body. Repeat until the tension is gone.....Now wasn't that easy.


Yours in the force,

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  • Calucifer
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07 Apr 2008 09:00 #13229 by Calucifer
Replied by Calucifer on topic Breathing
Wow! Interesting! I have bought a lot of books about this topic, I highly reccomend author Christopher Hansard and his bön meditation techniques. He is sooo cool! A Master, too.

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