What is the Breath and what is a Breathing Practice?
Breath is life. We know that with breath there is life and without oxygen the brain is harmed, which can lead to death. The breath therefore sustains all vital functions of the human body. All of our cells rely upon oxygen, which is delivered by the breath. The more efficient the breathing process, the more efficient the delivery and uptake of oxygen supply to the organs, glands, tissues and cells.
I will discuss the actual process of breathing in more detail shortly.
A breathing practice is the awareness that you give to your breathing.
When you take a few moments or minutes on a regular basis, this can be termed a breathing practice.
‘How can I practice breathing? How can I practice something which is totally natural and which I can’t survive without, even if I tried?’
Well this is absolutely true. Your practice is to observe a process which is always occurring in you and do so on a regular basis.
The breath is the one bodily function which is under the control of the conscious and unconscious mind.
In this image, the Conscious Mind is above water, Unconscious is below……
The breath is the medium to allow the conscious mind to tap into the unconscious mind. This integration allows for the reprogramming of the mind and its patterns, to achieve a more refined and desired state of being and thinking.
Highly advanced practitioners are able to lower the pulse dramatically; the most advanced can even stop their heart. Naturally this is not something that we are covering in this course, I just use this classic example to demonstrate that access to the unconscious mind, gives access to the involuntary nervous system as well as to limitless amounts of information, which are stored in what Jung termed the ‘collective unconsciousness’
Let’s pause for a moment.
When we take this pause, quite spontaneously it is usually followed by a nice deep inhale.
It may be that you were exhaling or began exhaling also.
This is all stating the obvious isn’t it?
Well yes it is.
It is so obvious but that’s not the same thing as being conscious.
If you are conscious of HOW YOU BREATHE then you are in the right place to review whether you would like to change or improve anything about it.
When you feel happy, relaxed, calm and free, how is your breathing?
When you are hyped up, how is your breathing?
When you make life changing decisions how is your breathing?
I’ll return to the idea of successful people. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are calm and relaxed. The world’s greatest long distance runner may be tired when she/he finishes an event, but if you observe runners, you’ll see that the very best ones seem to look the least tired, the most relaxed. This is harmony, or the LAW OF LEAST EFFORT in effect. These runners are performing their practice, their WAY. They do what they ARE and they feel freedom because of this. They are in tune with their inner purpose and so they are doing what comes to them naturally.
The good news here is that the breath comes to us all naturally.
Even those who have breathing difficulties (remember my story), experience the process of breathing as a natural phenomenon.
By the process of nature, the lungs expel or draw in air. Whether there are restrictions or conflicts with this process, the truth is that ‘gaseous exchange’ between the lungs (including artificial ones) and the outside world, is a process of nature, caused by pressure changing as it seeks equilibrium.
The difficulty that I used to face as an asthmatic was that I couldn’t breathe without struggle. There was a physical limitation and restriction.
In hindsight, I see the reason why I ‘suffered’ for so long was that I always ‘tried’ to breathe from inside my box.
Remember Einstein – ‘A problem can never be solved by using the same thinking processes that caused it’.
I didn’t need to stop the physical disability; I needed to stop my inner conflict with it. I needed to allow myself the space to be myself. This is the starting point for a fulfilling practice. I needed to acknowledge that I was angry and impatient. I believed that God and the World ‘owed me’.
I needed to be at one with my disability.
A funny thing was that a short time after I first told people without shame or guilt ‘I’m an asthmatic’, my asthma went away. I had finally owned it. To be more precise, I had accepted responsibility for myself. I stopped blaming and shaming and became one with the actual reality. I began to work with thoughts like ‘Okay so, maybe this is it. I’ll always be like this’. This acceptance brought inner peace. As these thoughts embedded into my cells, my cellular memory began to change.
When you breathe, your thoughts either change or stop.
This is how you get of out of the ‘thinking mind that caused the problem’.
When your mind is stuck in the rut…..
All of your thoughts will be coloured with the same mix or emotion that placed you there in the first place. They have a certain frequency to them.
In order to move, you need to change the frequency.
Humanity is learning how to move from frequencies like
To the highest frequency of
You step in to a new mind, which is open and spacious; a mind which is tuning in to the state that you are be–coming.
‘Great minds think alike’.
‘If you want to be healthy and happy do what healthy and happy people do.’
The above said, I think it is always useful to have this prayer at hand;
Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
This is what we mean by tuning in.
Such a mind has room to receive the new information required to affect the change that you are looking for.
Slowly and steadily. We all know that it is better to practice a little, regularly than a lot, sporadically. Two steps forward and one back are better than the other way around.
I suggest that you make a note of any techniques which appeal to you the most, perhaps because you find them easy, or because the benefits described appeal to you the most. You may wish to have a pen and paper at hand.
If you can, select a time of day that you will give to yourself as you enjoy the course journey. If you can ‘sit’ around the same time every day, then this will help you to create a rhythmic routine faster. It doesn’t matter what time and depends largely upon your current lifestyle. When are you most likely to have a few minutes to yourself in order to enjoy the methods shared?
You will see that you create a momentum each time you come to your practice. It is something that you look forward to because it gives you back your energy and makes you feel good about yourself. It makes you so much more aware of your feelings and how to use these to increase positive energy within and around you.
Life is all about balance. We are looking to obtain a panoramic perspective; a seasonal outlook that shifts organically as the inner and outer climes change accordingly. You may wish to just dabble with these ideas at first, trying and testing them a few minutes dailyover the next few months, or you may decide to really go for it, choosing all of the exercises that you feel are appropriate for you to do regularly, establishing an hourly daily practice (for example) right from the onset.
What helps enormously is to have your Goal in sight. Without even knowing the exercises you are about to practice, have you tuned in to which of the above three types of people you are? Will you dip your toes in just a little, will you ‘go for it gunning’, or will you aim somewhere in between?
If you can aim in between then you have already confirmed an inner balance, which is matching what is coming from the outside, with what is already ever present within.
By the end of the 3 months, you may know that you are definitely established in an enhanced way of being and continue to practice unceasingly. You may alternatively wish to drop the practices altogether in order to test their efficacy by not doing them. How do you feel when you don’t ‘do’ them? This contrast is a very important gauge. It’s like being in the eye of the storm, the core of power. Or sitting in the stillness and listening to hear what’s really important for you.
The aim of this course is to bring you closer to truth. It is to help you to align with yourself more easily, on a moment by moment basis.
The best time to practice is when you feel ‘inspired’.
Some of the exercises can be practiced at any time of day or night.
For maximum benefit allow at least four hours after food.
First thing in the morning is therefore a great time to practice;
Where the technique involves the abdomen – locking, pumping, churning or compressing, make sure that your stomach is empty!
If you feel exhausted or de-motivated it may be better to rest. It’s about getting to really know ourselves, rather than constantly satiating our senses, every time we feel anxiety stirring from within. There may be times where you might give yourself a little nudge in the direction of HOW TO BE FREE, rather than ‘how to continue exactly as I am’. Be aware that this is what you are doing.
The actual process of transformation takes place, ‘in between the lines’. It is not what you are reading, watching or doing that provides the platform for growth. It is the space in between, the space opened up by the ‘reading, watching and doing’ that causes major and lasting change.
It’s like the difference between spending your whole life in your head, working things out, or shifting your awareness in to your breath and body and then starting to live again like a young child with inexhaustible amounts of energy.
There will be times where one feels inspired and then the mind will rush in with an alternative, like ‘a good cup of finest filtered coffee’, ‘a bar of chocolate’ or ‘I’ll just have my cigarette’.
This is where it is useful to have your intention at hand.
If you think that saying this intention aloud a few times will help you then do this.
For example ‘I will do the breathing practice first and have coffee afterwards’, or ‘I have enough time to do everything I want to. I will do a ten minute breathing practice now followed by a ‘whatever’ later, if I feel like it then’.
What I would like to draw your attentionto, in others words, please be atyour intention. Be with the “why do I want to do this course anyway?”
“What prompted me to want to try in the first place?”
“What is it about myself that I want to change?”
Within your in-tention lies the balance of the tension.
This intention holds the necessary information required to open you to true freedom.
The question contains the answer.
When you ask the right question the answer will always come to you.
HOW TO BREATHE naturally builds up a momentum of its own. People often ‘do’ the breathing and don’t really feel, see or get the point.
Learning to surrender or give yourself to the breath and the ‘not doing’ are invaluable.
Learn the basics, exercise by exercise like an alphabet and then experience will guide you how to string it all together. You are making
music, creating art and watching science in action. With seven notes, we have music in infinite array.
Complete Breathing will begin to change your brain chemistry.
At first you may have thoughts like, ‘Oh I can’t do this. It’s silly. I don’t see the point’.
This is the voice of your CONDITIONED mind.
You are now on a journey in to your deepest heart-mind.
Your INNER TUTOR; your In Tuition.
You have Felt intuitively that you can find some or all of the answers and resolutions that you are looking for, RIGHT HERE and NOW.
Please let me tell you, from my deepest and non material being,
This is my promise to you which is worth far more to me than any financial gain I have ever received.
All I wish is that you give this same promise to yourself.
Regular and consistent optimised breathing improves cerebral performance dramatically. Enhanced production of Neuro-chemicals and functioning of hormonal receptors within the brain and body will switch the system over to a healing response with ease. This triggering of the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) or healing response of the Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulates the production of the necessary hormones for optimum vitality and immunity. This takes place by way of the endocrine glands releasing hormones in to the blood to regulate all body systems; respiration, circulation, digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination.
To add to all of this, your body will constantly be building stores or energy reserves for you later on.
THIS IS THE GREATEST PENSION.
IT FREES YOU TO SEE AND BE YOU.
When you taste that mental and physical health is a state of inner perspective, you have truly begun to stand on the ground of your own Well-Spring.
The benefits of HOW TO BREATHE apply to us all. For example, they have a beneficial effect upon vitality, addiction, weight loss, senile dementia, cancer, sleep, digestion, IBS, crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, the list is growing. If you name the condition or state, effective breathing will affect the cellular functioning without fail.
It is essential to remain patient and willing to let the life force teach you about yourself. Never force the breath or suspension of it (in some cases we will be holding the breath, depending upon your current condition) and let life and your innate wisdom, grace you with what you need. Be generous with your perception and see that life is always being favourable in return.
At 42, I understand LIFE to be harmony with reality as it is now.
The great perfection is all inclusive. It has been revealed to those who have been interested enough to find out. Those who persisted have walked a multitude of paths which all lead from the same place to the same destination; here to here.The journeys of countless beings in search of themselves have all revealed the same result, in varying degrees.
HOW TO BREATHE is a doorway through which those who have completed this harmony or reunion with their soul, have passed. It is that place where the outside and the inside meet. Where the space in between provides the stage upon which the mind and personality ready themselves for honouring their source. This space of joy beckons us inward, to examine further; ‘who’ ‘what’ and ‘why’ we are.