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The Healing Power of Breathing

This morning as I flowed through my yoga practice I felt something shift. A greater awaking of being made clear. My breath invited me to dive deep, converting the air into breath then pure energy. I started to feel a greater sense of ease and balance.

The more I get to know myself and others, I am reminded of the importance of breath. Breath is life, and learning how to control the breath adds a new dimension of control and power to every action, no matter how simple or how complex it is. The breath is working the mind and body. In fact, the effectiveness of every activity we undertake- singing, walking, working, dancing, public speaking-depends greatly on how we use the air we breath. The stream of energized air produced by properly executed and controlled deep breathing produces a current of inner energy which radiates throughout the entire body and can be channeled to the body areas that need it the most. It can be used to fuel a specific physical activity, such as running or volleyball. Or you can use this current of inner energy to relieve muscular tension throughout the body, and sooth aches and pains.

The Core

(Source: From The Art of Breathing, P.16)

The core's potential is limitless. As you learn how to apply the healing power of breathing you will develop your core, and you will learn how to lead the breath to the point where the core is located. Your anxiety, worries, stresses, and other tensions will follow the stream of your breath to this center, where the core will shrink away your negative emotions-pain, fear, and even depression-leaving you ready to meet the challenges that you face.

The core has always been with you. When it is stimulated it becomes increasingly effective. It does not grow in size but intensity. The core is located at the center of the body, that point is located approximately 2 to 5 inches below the navel. The entire body is coordinated from the center of balance. In fact, this core is the center of your mental & emotional balance as well. The core thrives on attention and stimulation. The more you praise breathing from the core the more energy it stores thus becoming a strong pivot point for your physical, mental, and emotional balance and control.

Breath Control

(Source: From Light Emerging, Breath and Exercises p.128)

Through breath control we can regulate and direct the flow of energy through our body. Proper breath exercise includes breath regulation. The average person uses only one tenth of their lung capacity when breathing normally. An average breath rate is 16 breaths per minute, but stress may increase this rate up to twice this, to 32 breaths per minute. By consciously reducing the breath rate to 8 breaths per minute, it is said that one can master every situation and circumstance of life. To breath the breath rate of just four breaths per minute, one can exercise control over the time of one's own death. Deep core breathing is automatic in children, but we begin to cut our breath down as we block our feelings. Holding our breath and dampening our breathing is the best way to stop feelings and anesthetize ourselves. The lungs are associated with freedom. If we dampen our breathing are let the chest collapse, we feel sadness. Our shallow breathing in this culture is related to our feelings of being trapped in a world we cannot control and feel very unsafe and unfulfilled in.

Breathing Exercises

(Source: Survival Kit pp. 47-48)

Here are three simple breathing exercises that incorporate mindfulness, emotional balance and concentration;

Exercise 1. The U-Breath: Emotionally rebalancing. Gives a quick lift and clears the mind. It can rebalance the emotions whenever one is feeling "off"

1-Position: Easy Pose. Right thumb blocks right nostril. fingers of the right hand raised as antennae.

Movement: Release thumb and use little finger to block left nostril. Continue to alternate nostrils.

Breath: Long Deep Breathing. Inhale through the left nostril, exhale through the right nostril. Breath forms a "U". in the right, out the left.

Time: 3 minutes or longer

2- Position: Easy Pose

Movement: Repeat above with left hand, alternating thumb and pinky to block alternate nostrils.

Breath: Long Deep Breathing. Inhale through the right nostril, exhale through the left nostril.

Time: Unspecified, but equal to time spent on above exercise.

Exercise 2. Breath of Fire: is a powerful breath. It activates the reserve of kundalini energy, stored at the navel point. Practiced in quick strokes by contracting and relaxing the navel point, this breath is actually considered to be one long, continuous breath. A great cleansing tool.

Position: This breath may be used in almost any posture

Breath: with a relaxed chest, powerfully pull the navel point and abdomen in towards the spine as the breath quickly passes outward, with forces, through the nostrils. Expand the abdomen and drop the diaphragm to let the breath pass inward through the nostril, refilling the lungs. Repeat, with no pause between exhale and inhale. Continue rapidly for the allotted time period, attempting 2-3 cycles per second.

To Finish: Inhale and hold breath in. Then release

Caution: The increases in energy and circulation from Breath of Fire cause a Caution: detoxification reaction in the body that immediate. Toxins, such as deposits from smoking, bad nutrition and drugs release from the cells and dump into the blood and lymph system.

Benefits: Focuses the mind, produces physical and mental energy, releases toxins from blood vessels, mucus lining, cells and lungs, charges the aura helps protect against negative forces.

Exercise 3: Long Deep breathing uses the body the way its designed to work. It is complete and efficient.

Position: (This breath can be done in any posture, position or asana.)

Getting Started: Sit in easy pose or lie down on the back. Place hands on the abdomen with fingertips touching.

Breath: Inhale with a relaxed navel/abdomen area and allow abdomen and ribs to expand. n the exhale, let the navel fall back towards the spine, gently pulling that navel to completely empty lungs.

Biomechanics: Expanding the abdomen allows the diaphragm muscles to draw down, creating a vacuum in the lungs, filling the lowest portion of the lungs, filling the lowest portion of the lungs with air first. As the lungs empty, pulling the navel toward the spine empties the lung cavity by releasing the diaphragm upward.

Benefits: Relaxes and calms, Resets the brain for clear mind in crisis situations, assists appropriate decision making, improves resistance to negativity, sickness and accidents, increases vital energy by pumping spinal fluid to the brain.

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