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Breathwork Training is Preventive Medicine for the Twenty-First Century

By | Blog

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Everyone breathes but unfortunately very few people breathe very well. That’s why Breathing Training is becoming more popular than yoga and meditation! And that’s why it’s the fastest growing trend in the fields of health and wellness, fitness and performance.

How we breathe matters. When we allow our breathing system to decline, we set ourselves up for every kind of illness and ailment. In fact, more than 100 diseases are caused, triggered, or exacerbated by unconscious, unhealthy breathing patterns.

Conscious Breathing is the most accessible method there is to prevent or remedy many of our most pressing health issues. Breathwork training is the most natural and direct way of healing a whole range of physical, emotional and psychological problems and challenges.

Breathing Training boosts lung volume and prevents the loss of respiratory capacity as we age. It helps improve posture and spinal health. Breathwork Training makes us more adaptable and resilient and it activates and supports the body’s natural self-healing powers.

Breathwork helps us to heal tension, pain, fear, depression and anxiety disorders when drugs and other traditional methods don’t work. It improves our moods, emotions, and sleep states. And it helps us to increase awareness, confidence, intuition, self-esteem, self-appreciation, and self-love.

Breathing Training supports heart health and boosts mental health. It allows us to hack into our immune system, our nervous system and our brain, to control problems like high blood pressure, inflammation, asthma, chronic stress, chronic fatigue, and long-standing addictions.

Conscious Breathing Techniques trigger the release of opioids (natural pain killers and anti-depressants), as well as dopamine and serotonin (“happy and calming” hormones—neurotransmitters of pleasure, motivation and memory). And they also reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone).

Breathing training helps improve digestion and it supports weight loss. Did you ever wonder where your weight goes when you lose it? Studies show that most of that weight is eliminated through the breath!

Poor breathing habits, especially in children even cause unhealthy development and disturbing changes in facial muscles, joints, bones, and teeth alignment. Our ancestors had naturally healthy breathing habits, and they all had straight teeth!

Breathwork training clears stale stagnant energy from our system. It helps us to access, manage and release suppressed emotions, to control our nervous system and alter our brainwaves. Breathing training allows us to relax and energize ourselves on demand.

Breathwork helps to reset our body’s basic mechanisms and brain chemistry. It helps athletes to run faster, dive deeper, climb higher, and it helps us all to sleep better and to live longer.

Breathwork Training produces powerful psychological insights and emotional breakthroughs. It triggers beautiful mystical visions, deep spiritual awakenings, and genuine “rebirth” experiences. It even allows us to turn certain genes on and off.

Breathing Training helps us to maintain balance in the body so that mild health problems don’t develop into serious health issues. Breathwork awakens our natural appreciation of the magic and mystery of life. It helps us to realize our purpose, and to fulfill our heart’s grandest desires.

None of this is new. Practically every modern breathing technique was taught by the ancient masters and can be found in ancient texts. These techniques have been renamed, repackaged and repurposed over the years by different cultures for different reasons.

Anyone of any age can benefit from breathing training. But since breathwork unlocks powerful life force energies, some breathing exercises may not be suitable for everyone, and certain breathing techniques are definitely not for dabblers.

Activating energy is easy, but learning to wisely control, direct and distribute this energy is another thing altogether. That’s why breathwork requires weeks or months to learn, and years to master.

The world desperately needs more high quality breathworkers and ethical breathing teachers. That’s why I offer breathing training, coaching and consulting. And that’s why I teach others to facilitate breathing sessions and to lead breathwork seminars and workshops.

Now is a perfect time to begin a new career in the field of health and wellness, fitness and performance, or to take your current healing or coaching practice to the next level. I have been teaching breathwork since the early 1970’s, and so you are invited to enroll in one of the oldest and most respected Breathwork Practitioner Certification Programs and Breathing Teacher Trainings in the world.

For more information on please visit www.breathmastery.com and subscribe to my FREE Monthly Newsletter Breathing Reports and search the archives. (I have published an article or essay on breathing every month since June of 1976.)

Get my book, JUST BREATHE: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business and Beyond. (Available through Amazon.com, and in bookstores everywhere.)

Enroll in my online O2 Fundamentals Course and begin your Breathwork Training today. All the info is here:
https://www.o2collective.com/breath-mastery-fundamentals

ON BREATH AND BREATHING Breathwork Training is Preventive Medicine for the Twenty-First Century.

By | Blog

Everyone breathes but unfortunately very few people breathe very well. That’s why Breathing Training is becoming more popular than yoga and meditation! And that’s why it’s the fastest growing trend in the fields of health and wellness, fitness and performance.

How we breathe matters. When we allow our breathing system to decline, we set ourselves up for every kind of illness and ailment. In fact, more than 100 diseases are caused, triggered, or exacerbated by unconscious, unhealthy breathing patterns.

Conscious Breathing is the most accessible method there is to prevent or remedy many of our most pressing health issues. Breathwork training is the most natural and direct way of healing a whole range of physical, emotional and psychological problems and challenges.

Breathing Training boosts lung volume and prevents the loss of respiratory capacity as we age. It helps improve posture and spinal health. Breathwork makes us more adaptable and resilient and it activates and supports the body’s natural self-healing powers.

Breathwork helps us to heal tension, pain, fear, depression and anxiety disorders when drugs and other traditional methods don’t work. It improves our moods, emotions, and sleep states. And it helps us to increase awareness, confidence, intuition, self-esteem, self-appreciation, and self-love.

Breathing Training supports heart health and boosts mental health. It allows us to hack into our immune system, our nervous system and our brain, to control problems like high blood pressure, inflammation, asthma, chronic stress, chronic fatigue, and long-standing addictions.

Conscious Breathing Techniques trigger the release of opioids (natural pain killers and anti-depressants), as well as dopamine and serotonin (“happy and calming” hormones—neurotransmitters of pleasure, motivation and memory). And it also reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone).

Breathing training helps improve digestion and it supports weight loss. Did you ever wonder where your weight goes when you lose it? Studies show that most of that weight is eliminated through the breath!

Poor breathing habits even cause unhealthy changes in facial muscles, joints, bones, and teeth alignment. Our ancestors had naturally healthy breathing habits, and they all had straight teeth!

Breathwork training clears stale stagnant energy from our system. It helps us to access, manage and release suppressed emotions, and to control our nervous system and alter our brainwaves. Breathing training allows us to relax and energize ourselves on demand.

Breathwork helps to reset our body’s basic mechanisms and brain chemistry. It helps athletes to run faster, dive deeper, climb higher, and it helps us all to sleep better and to live longer.

Breathwork produces powerful psychological insights and emotional breakthroughs. It triggers beautiful mystical visions, deep spiritual awakenings, and genuine “rebirth” experiences. It even allows us to turn certain genes on and off.

Breathing Training helps us to maintain balance in the body so that mild health problems don’t develop into serious health issues. Breathwork awakens our natural appreciation of the magic and mystery of life. It helps us to realize our purpose, and to fulfill our heart’s grandest desires.

None of this is new. Practically every modern breathing technique was taught by the ancient masters and can be found in ancient texts. These techniques have been renamed, repackaged and repurposed over the years by different cultures for different reasons.

Anyone of any age can benefit from breathing training. But since breathwork unlocks powerful life force energies, some breathing exercises may not be suitable for everyone, and certain breathing techniques are definitely not for dabblers.

Activating energy is easy, but learning to wisely control, direct and distribute this energy is another thing altogether. That’s why breathwork requires weeks or months to learn, and years to master.

The world desperately needs more high quality breathworkers and ethical breathing teachers. That’s why I offer breathing training, coaching and consulting. And that’s why I teach others to facilitate breathing sessions and to lead breathwork seminars and workshops.

Now is a perfect time to begin a new career in the field of health and wellness, of fitness and performance, or to take your current healing or coaching practice to the next level. And so, you are invited to enroll in my Breathwork Practitioner Certification Program and Teacher Training.

For more information on Breathwork Training, please visit www.breathmastery.com and subscribe to my FREE Monthly Newsletter Breathing Reports and search the archives. (I have published an article or essay on breathing every month since June of 1976.)

Get my book, JUST BREATHE: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business and Beyond. (Available thru Amazon.com, and bookstores everywhere.)

Enroll in my online O2 Fundamentals Course and begin your Breathwork Training today.

All the info is here: https://www.o2collective.com/breath-mastery-fundamentals

For Personal Coaching, email me: dan@breathmastery.com.

Wishing you much luck in your practice, and many blessings on your path.

Dan (July 2020)

Breathwork for Venting and Transforming Stress, Tension and Fatigue

By | Blog

One of the advanced breath mastery skills we teach, and practice is “sucking” tension and fatigue out of the muscles with the inhale and releasing it from the body with the exhale.

With practice, anyone can learn to use the inhale to pull energy from tense tired muscles, and then vent it from the system with the exhale. If you are an athlete, fitness junkie, or a high performer, this is an extremely valuable skill to develop, and so it is well worth practicing.

For example, when your legs get tired and sore while running, you can use the inhale to suck that tension and fatigue up from your leg muscles and release it with the exhale.

To begin this practice right now, tense your left arm and simultaneously relax and loosen the right.

Now inhale and imagine drawing energy from the tense left arm and sending it across and out the relaxed right arm with your exhale.

Do this a few times, then reverse it. Relax and loosen your left arm while tensing and tightening the right. Now draw energy from the tense right arm up across and out the relaxed left arm.

You can also get in the pushup position, twist to one side and hold yourself up with one arm. Relax the other arm, let it hang loosely and practice drawing the tension and fatigue up from the weight bearing arm and exhaling it out the relaxed arm.

You can also focus on any other part of your body that begins to feel stressed, tense, or tired. Gather that energy up with your inhale and send it out your relaxed arm.

Do this a few times, then lay on your back, puddle out, and meditate on your energy. Notice that you feel something like an energized calm. This skill helps us to relax and recharge on the go, and it quickly notches up our endurance levels.

In general, you want to remember to relax any muscles that you don’t need to do the required work or maintain the stressed position. A good exercise for this is to tense and tighten both arms and fists as much as possible, while deliberately relaxing your jaw and neck and face, or any other place where there is unnecessary tension.

You can also relax your arm and shoulder while making a very tight fist. When you move or swing your arm, your fist should feel like a ball on the end of a chain. A very powerful and dangerous weapon!

Recently, we have been practicing an advanced upgrade to this kind of training.

It is very useful when you need to relieve stress and tension and fatigue, but you can’t afford to drop into parasympathetic rest and recover mode because you are engaged in an important activity.

When you need to perform, when you need to remain charged and ready—locked and loaded, relaxing completely or puddling out, is not an option.

So the skill is in how to transform tension and fatigue through breathing alone, rather than dissolving it through relaxation.

Here’s the practice. Breathe (inhale) into the area of tension. And then with the exhale, send the energy toward yourself instead of releasing it out of your body.

Press the energy deeper into your system with the exhale. It is similar to the practice of Iron Shirt Chi Kung, where you use the breath to pack chi into your fascia. It also touches on one of the principles of “de-reflexive breathing.”

I like the analogy of a French coffee press. When we exhale, we are pressing the energy into our system rather than releasing out of the body. You can use the “ujayi” breath sound to help the process and make it more alive.

Do this for a few minutes. Breathe into your tired muscles or tense body parts, and then with the exhale send this energy in toward yourself, toward your center, rather than venting it from the system.

After some time, lay down on your back, puddle out, and meditate on your body and your energy. You will notice that the “heavy” tense energy is gone but the muscles and body are still charged, but with a “lighter” form of energy.

We all have the ability to transform energy, to transform dark heavy energy—tension and fatigue—into light life force energy. We can transform pain and suffering into healing and growth. We can transform negative emotional energy into creative, life giving energy.

Good luck in your practice, and many blessings on your path!

Breathwork and Consciousness

By | Blog

I believe that the consciousness movement is the most important movement on the planet today. And given the current state of affairs in the world, the study of consciousness is more important than ever.

I believe that growth in consciousness is the only way to lasting happiness and world peace. I believe that the next leap in human evolution will be a shift in consciousness. And I believe that breathwork can cause that shift.

And so, this month we have been focusing more deeply on consciousness and breathing. As breathworkers we find ourselves at the heart of the consciousness movement, and we also find ourselves at odds with the current scientific paradigm called materialism.

The materialist view is that we are all separate, finite, and limited. Materialism is the belief that consciousness somehow evolved out of matter—that the brain somehow produces consciousness. In fact, it is the other way around. Consciousness is primary.

Materialism is an unprovable belief system. Einstein even called it a religion. No one can prove that anything exists outside of consciousness, let alone that anything preceded it or produced it.

So much precious time, energy and money are being spent on studying the brain to understand how it produces consciousness. But this is like taking apart a cd player to understand music.

Humanity cannot survive scientific materialism. We desperately need a paradigm shift, for the sake of ethics and education, science and technology, medicine, business, politics, and for the sake of our children.

Spiritual breathing produces that shift. It teaches us that we are all connected, that we are one, and that consciousness is the source of our body and of the physical world. Spiritual breathing awakens us to the fact that all of reality exists within a single non-local, universal transcendent consciousness, that some might call God.

Through spiritual breathing we learn that consciousness is the essence of our being, and that breathing is the movement of that essence. Breathwork awakens us to the fact that most if not all of the world’s problems are caused or made worse by unconsciousness.

Breathwork teaches us that consciousness exists independent of the body. It shows us that everything is made of consciousness, that everything is consciousness. All of the great spiritual teachers have taught this and thank God a growing number of modern scientists and philosophers now share this view.

Leonard Orr once said that consciousness and breath are the king and queen of the spiritual kingdom. I say that spiritual breathing is the marriage of consciousness and breath. Leonard also said be careful what you think about when you breathe because the breath brings life to that which you hold in consciousness.

What happens, what is real in each moment depends on our consciousness. Our conscious and unconscious thoughts, beliefs, habits and patterns act to automatically mold and shape mind into matter. In every moment, all of the infinite possible futures collapse into one actual present moment.

The growth in consciousness that comes from Breathwork allows us to go beyond narrow self-serving, short term reactionary survival thinking. It helps us overcome conditioned, impulsive, addictive behaviors, fear, pain, jealousy, insecurity, ignorance, or denial of our real true self.

Breathwork goes beyond the effects of O2 and CO2, beyond endorphins, ketamine, DMT, ayahuasca, LSD, opioids, and so on. Breathwork awakens us to a pure non-local transcendental awareness, an infinite eternal and universal consciousness.

Breathwork helps us to wake up and grow up. It helps us clean up our emotional baggage, so that we can show up in life as our true selves. Breathwork wakes us up to our essence. And the more we breathe the more we realize that everything in existence shares that same essence.

Breathwork helps us overcome our deepest fears: fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of risk, fear of conflict, failure, obstacles, judgment, and fear of uniqueness. And all of these things occur in consciousness.

Breathwork takes us on a journey back to our self—to our real true self. Breathwork teaches us that in essence we are existence, consciousness and bliss. The more we practice breathwork the more we experience our natural state of bliss. And once this bliss becomes normal, it is experienced simply as a sense of peace.

Breath energy is unlike any force known to science. It takes us deep into the field of pure consciousness. It transforms us and our lives, the world, and the lives of others. Through breathwork or spiritual breathing we discover that God is not a being. God is a state of being, and through breathwork we can awaken to and live in that state of being.

A simple exercise or meditation to begin with is infusing every cell of your body with breath energy. Get out of your head and get into your heart. Experience each breath from the vantage point of your cells. Breathe with your whole body.

Good luck in your practice, and many blessings on your path.

Drilling Down on 2-Phase Breathing

By | Blog

This month we are focusing more deeply on “2-Phase Breathing.” It is a way to develop more breath awareness and more breath control. The idea is to explore the active and passive phases and the reflex and neutral points in the cycle.

To start, imagine a round clock. Divide the circle in half by drawing a vertical line from 12 to 6. The left side represents the inhale (from 6 up to 12), and the right side represents the exhale (from 12 down to 6). 12 o’clock represents a completely full inhale, and 6 o’clock represents a completely empty exhale. These two points are reflex points.

If you take a big breath and fill yourself up on the inhale (12 o’clock point), you don’t have to do the exhale at that point because the reflex will do it. As soon as you stop pulling in, as soon as you let go, the exhale happens by itself. No need to push or blow or even “do” the exhale. The body does it, the reflex does it. It happens because you relax.

If you squeeze all the breath out and come to the empty point at 6 o’clock, you have reached the other reflex point. At this point you don’t need to “do” the inhale, you don’t have to pull the breath in. All you need to do is relax and let go and the breath pours into you by itself. The reflex does the work of inhaling, your body inhales by itself.

Now draw a horizontal line across the clock dividing the circle into top and bottom. These are neutral points: 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Either reflex (12 or 6) should take you to this “neutral zone.”

When you are at 12 o’clock, the internal forces of expansion that have built up will power the exhale. When you are at 6 o’clock, the forces of contraction that have built up will power the inhale. But the reflexes will not fill you up or empty you. They will only take you to the neutral points.

Now you see that the clock has four sections. The top right section is the passive phase of the exhale and the bottom right section is the active phase of the exhale. The bottom left is the passive phase of the inhale and the top left is the active phase of the inhale.

When you are close to 12, it requires tremendous effort to inhale even a little bit more breath, but it takes no effort to exhale. When you are close to 6 o’clock, it takes great effort to squeeze out even a little more breath, but it takes no effort to inhale.

At 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock it takes the same amount of effort to inhale as it does to exhale, because there are no forces pushing or pulling on the breath. This is the point where a marksman pulls the trigger on a gun. And this is the point where yogis can easily enter the “breathless state.”

If you relax at either 12 or 6—the reflex points—the breath moves by itself. The body does the breathing. If you relax at 3 or 9—the neutral points—the breath doesn’t move at all. You are in the neutral zone.

Practice playing with these two reflexes. Strengthen them, experiment with them. Get out of the way and let them do the work. Let your body do the first phase of the inhale or the exhale. And you come in only at the neutral point. There, you take over the breathing, filling yourself more or emptying yourself more.

So, when you are at 12, the body does the first half of the exhale all by itself (the passive phase), and you do the second half of the exhale (the active phase). Then the body does the first half of the inhale (passive phase), and you do the second half (the active phase).

It’s like being in a relay race. The first runner is the body. It has the baton. Then it passes control over to you. You have the baton and you take the breath further. Body does the first phase and you do the second. The breath breathes itself during the first phase and you breathe the breath during the second phase.

Notice that the top half of the clock represents the rebirthing breath, heart opening exercises and transformational practices (active inhale and passive exhale). And notice that the bottom half represents diaphragmatic breathing, used in practices such martial arts and sports, and the yogic practice of “breath of fire,” where the exhale is active and the inhale is reflexive.

Play with these reflex points and neutral points in the breathing cycle. Play with the active and passive phases of the breathing cycle. Make it a meditation. Learn what your unconscious habit is. Learn what is your default habits are under stress. Notice which phases and points are easy to touch and feel, and which ones are challenging or unfamiliar.

Welcome to the dance of breath! Welcome to 2-Phase Breathing.

Playing with the Forces in Breathwork

By | Blog

One of the core techniques we master in Breathwork is the “Connected Breathing Rhythm.” It’s the Rebirthing Technique, also called Circular Breathing. The main thing is that there are no pauses or gaps between the breaths. The inhale connects to the exhale and the exhale connects to the inhale in a smooth, steady, continuous pattern. It should feel like a wheel turning.

An important feature of the Rebirthing technique is to make the inhale active and the exhale passive. In other words, we control the inhale, but we surrender on the exhale. We do the inhale, but we let the exhale happen by itself. We pull the breath in, but we allow the exhale to be reflexive. We do the inhale and the body does the exhale. Breathing like this, the inhale is generally longer than the exhale

A very useful practice is to reverse this pattern and make the exhale active and the inhale passive. In other words, we control the exhale and we surrender on the inhale. We do the exhale, but we let the inhale happen by itself. We push the breath out, but we allow the inhale to be reflexive. We do the exhale and the body does the inhale. Breathing like this, the exhale is generally longer than the inhale.

We often practice this at seminars, because doing the opposite of the Rebirthing-Breathwork pattern can give us a better feel for what we actually want to do. The contrast gives us more breath awareness and more breath control. And it allows us to better understand and to feel and really ‘get’ the core technique.

Try it now. Pull the breath in for a count of 2, 3, or 4. Then simply relax and let the exhale happen by itself. Do this for about 20 connected breaths, Feel the active force on the inhale and the passive release on the exhale.

Then turn it around. Squeeze the exhale out for a count of 2, 3, or 4. Then simply relax and let the inhale happen by itself. In other words, reverse the forces: active exhale, passive inhale. Do this for about 20 breaths, then go back to the Rebirthing-Breathwork pattern: active inhale, passive exhale for about 20 breaths.

Go back and forth like this a few times to really feel the difference between active inhale—reflexive exhale, and active exhale—reflexive inhale.

Next, equalize the forces. Make the inhale and the exhale both active and controlled. Balance them perfectly in length and force, doing both the inhale and the exhale. Do this for about 20 breaths.

Finally, let go completely and allow both inhale and exhale to be passive and reflexive. Don’t do the breathing. Let the breath come and go by itself the way it wants. Let the breath breathe you. Simply relax and feel. Let your borders dissolve. Let yourself merge with the energy of the universe, the energy of everything and everyone.

In this open relaxed state, remember what is important. Remind yourself of who and how you want to be. Radiate love and acceptance, appreciation and gratitude. Feel compassion for yourself and everyone. Celebrate your life and existence!

For the Love of Breath

By | Blog

As 2019 is coming to a close, I thought I would leave you with a few of my favorite breathing quotes.

By the way, if you have any that you would like to share, please send them on to me at: dan@breathmastery.com

There are certain points in breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors – the nearest doors to you from where you can enter into a different world, into a different being, into a different consciousness. (Osho/Rajneesh)

When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace. (Author unknown)

If nothing can disturb your breath, nothing can disturb you. (Dan Brulé)

What we call ‘I’ is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. (Shunryu Suzuki)

Rebirthing Breathwork is the art of merging the outer breath which is air with the inner breath which is spirit. (Leonard Orr)

When the breath wanders the mind is also unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. (Svatmarana, Hatha Yoga Pradipika)

A healthy mind has an easy breath. (Author unknown)

If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance. (Andrea Boydston)

Inhale and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation and God remains with you. Exhale and you approach God. Hold the exhalation and surrender to God.” (Krishnamacharya)

When you inhale, think to yourself ‘the power of God is within me’. When you exhale, think to yourself ‘the grace of God surrounds me.’ (Ram Dass)

Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life. (Giovanni Papini)

Breath is Spirit. The act of breathing is Living. (Author unknown)

For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth. (Sanskrit proverb)

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. (Thch Nhat Hanh)

Walking through the house at night is wonderful to me; a symphony of breath, each person a separate instrument as they collectively breathe in time to metronome of life itself. Edwin Leap)

He lives most life whoever breathes most air. (Elizabeth Barret Browning)

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Focusing on the act of breathing clears the mind of all daily distractions and clears our energy enabling us to better connect with the Spirit within. (Author unknown)

As a fire blazes brightly when the covering of ash over it is scattered by the wind, the divine fire within the body shines in all its majesty when the ashes of desire are scattered by the practice of pranayama. (B.K.S. Iyengar)

You know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air. The organ that serves for this is the lungs that lie round the heart, so that the air passing through them thereby envelops the heart. Thus, breathing is a natural way to the heart…” (Nicephorus the Solitary)

Breathing according to me, corresponds to taking charge of one’s own life. (Luce Irigaray)

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am. (Sylvia Plath)

In this very breath that we now take lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us. (Peter Matthiessen)

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours. (Swedish proverb)

Human energy is always in communion with heaven and earth in the alternation of exhalation and inhalation. (Ming dynasty work: Anthology on the Cultivation of Realization, author unknown)

Fear is excitement without the breath. (Fritz Perls)

When I stopped to pay attention to where my breath was deep and settled, the truth began to emerge from the mist. (Betsy Canas)

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.(L. Frank Baum)

The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day. Just take a moment. This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness… There’s so much to let go of, isn’t there? Your nostalgia and your regrets. Your fantasies and your fears. What you think you want instead of what is happening right now. Breathe. (Rodney Yee, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body)

Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? (Mary Oliver)

Happiness breathes when you do. (Terri Guillemets)

Let the air become you, and then leave you. Forgive each breath because although it abandons you, every single time, it also brings you life. A man who cannot forgive the air has no chance of living. (Edward Manning, King Perry)

There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there is another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity. (Rumi)

We live in an ocean of air like a fish in a body of water. By our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing, we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss. (Alexander Lowen)

I love to breathe. Oxygen is sexy! (Kris Carr)

Angels are all around us, all the time, in the very air we breathe. (Eileen Elias Freeman)

Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs and every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite. (D. Antoinette Foy)

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. (Oprah Winfrey)

The ability to breathe is a gift. Wake up grateful each day for that gift. (Johnny Lung)

Conscious Breathing heightens awareness and deepens relaxation. (Dan Brulé)

Breath control gives a man strength, vitality, inspiration, and magic powers. (Zhuangzi)

To control the breathing is to control the mind. With different patterns of breathing, you can fall in love, you can hate someone, you can feel the whole spectrum of feelings just by changing your breathing. (Marina Abramovic)

As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all Beings. (Dalai Lama)

The wisest one-word sentence? Breathe. (Terri Guillemets)

With love and thanks to everyone who attended the seminars and trainings around the world this year, to our growing group of dedicated practitioners, and to everyone in the worldwide breathwork community… I love and thank you all!

The Battle Over Breath

By | Blog

I think it was Rudolph Steiner who said, “we live with our soul in the breath.” That bit of insight and wisdom is worth meditating on!

Our breathing is controlled by physiological or biological needs—chemical and mechanical processes. And it is also controlled by psychological and emotional needs—conscious and unconscious processes.

Breathing is affected by posture, movement and physical forces. It is also affected by changing moods, attitudes and the force of will. In other words, the breath’s life-giving power serves both our instinctive animal nature as well as our conscious spiritual nature. It serves body, mind and soul.

This brings up the difference between breathing and respiration. Respiration is automatic, instinctive, or reflexive. It is driven by chemistry and biology. Breathing on the other hand is a behavior. And like all behaviors it can be unconsciously inherited and modeled, or consciously learned and deliberately practiced.

Since the breath serves us in so many ways and on so many levels, different parts of us can often end up competing for control over the breath. Our emotional patterns and psychological tendencies can steal the breath away from serving our physiological functions and biological process.

Biological needs generally tend to win out over conscious control. But many extreme athletes, yogis, and world record breath-holders show just how far we can push the envelope when it comes to so-called “physical” limits.

When we observe or monitor unconscious breathing, we see that it displays all kinds of machinations—speeding up or slowing down, stopping or starting, intensifying, quieting, etc. It’s alive, constantly acting and reacting, adjusting itself moment to moment to changing biochemical as well as psychospiritual activities and needs.

I have been using the metaphor of an expensive car with a state-of-the-art suspension system. It can travel over very rough bumpy rocky roads, yet the passengers enjoy a smooth quiet ride because the suspension underneath is absorbing and neutralizing all those bumps and ruts and rocks and holes.

The body uses breathing to maintain a smooth, steady and balanced metabolic state. However, emotions and thoughts along with changing moods and attitudes—in other words our minds—can wrestle control of the breath away from the body’s biochemical needs.

We can also use our breath—speeding it up, slowing it down, pausing it, intensifying it, making it subtle, etc., in order to create or sustain a certain smooth psychological or emotional state.

When we are communicating passionately, our breathing performs what Dr. Litchfield calls calisthenics. We see it abruptly speeding up, slowing down, stopping and starting, etc. When the breath is serving our communication in this way, it may not be properly optimizing our chemical or biological functions.

Beyond this constant competition or battle between the body and mind, between physiology and psychology, beyond biology and emotions, we find the wild card in life—and that is consciousness.

In and around or below and beyond the body-mind system is the miracle of spirit and consciousness.

Our conscious creative spirit give us power over the breath so that we can transform or transcend the body-mind system. We can use our breath to move toward higher consciousness, spiritual awakening, or ultimate potential. We can use the breath to accelerate our evolution, and to awaken and transform others and the world

When we do this kind of spiritual work, we can expect that the body-mind system will complain and resist. It will fight to regain control over the breathing in order to tend to its ancient biological needs.

When people practice spiritual breathing, I like to remind them that a temporary physiological or chemical imbalance is a small price to pay for permanent psychological and emotional benefits. And any temporary emotional and psychological difficulties are a small price to pay for a lifetime of spiritual benefits!

Breathwork helps us to evolve beyond our ancient, low level, negative and rough emotional and psychological habits and tendencies, so that higher, lighter, more positive and loving psycho-emotional and spiritual states can become the new natural, the new normal.

We are all learning to navigate the process of transformation, transcendence, and personal evolution. And many of us have been practicing long enough and have gone far enough on this journey to realize that conscious awarenessconscious relaxation, and conscious breathing are the three main skills or practices that we need to master.

I invite you learn Spiritual Breathing to unify body, mind, heart and soul, and to end the battle over the breath, by awakening to and connecting with the power and wisdom of spirit.

Turn the battle into a dance… the dance of life, of love, joy and peace!

Releasing Energy Blockages in the Body

By | Blog

At our breathwork seminars, we focus on dissolving or releasing physical tensions and emotional contractions or energy blockages. We do this to promote and support our full free expression and flow of our healing and creative energies.

There are six general areas were blockages can be found in the body, and where pain or health issues often occur. They are:

1. The forehead, temples and eyes

2. The throat and jaw

3. The neck and shoulders

4. The chest and back

5. The abdomen and diaphragm

6. The pelvis and reproductive organs

We use two core techniques:

1. Conscious connected breathing (fast and full, slow and full, or fast and shallow)

2. The sigh of relief.

We also use visualization, various breath sounds, and movement.

Let’s start from the bottom and move up through the body. And then work your way back down through each area. Give yourself some quality time to really play with this process.

First, bring all your attention and your energy down into the floor of your pelvis and perineum. Send the breath down there. Breathe into that area. Move and wiggle your hips and pelvis as you breathe in and out. (Think belly dancer and hula dancer!)

Invite relaxation into that area as you move and breathe and direct attention and energy there. Breathe and relax into whatever feelings and sensations get activated, and welcome whatever emotions may arise. Don’t think. Breathe and relax and move and make sounds.

Next, bring your attention to your belly and diaphragm area. Play with different breathing patterns… rhythm, speed, volume intensity… Follow your intuition. You are finding just the right pattern to open and soften and loosen and penetrate that area with energy and awareness—and breath.

Next, breathe into the chest… Play with your entire ribcage. Expand side to side, front to back, top to bottom. Wiggle and squirm, and twist and turn, and arch and curl, as you breathe in and out continuously… Imagine making space in the ribcage… Use the breath to loosen and soften and open it.

Then, breathe into your neck and shoulders. Wiggle them, rotate them. Move your neck and shoulders in some pleasurable way… Again with the idea to get breath and energy into those spaces… Use the breath and movement to open and soften and loosen your neck and shoulders.

Next, play with your jaw and throat. Yawn and yawn again. Wiggle and stretch and loosen and relax your jaw gently. Open and soften and relax your throat. Get the breath into those places.

Finally, breathe all the way up into the top of your head. Relax your forehead and relax around your eyes… Imagine gently and lightly softening and massaging those areas from the inside out with your breath.

The idea is to visit each of the areas with your awareness, with the breath, and with soothing loving, healing energy.

Be creative! Bring all of your attention and your energy along with breath. Use movement and relaxation. Play with your energy and your breath. Use sound. Use intention. Penetrate each of these areas with gentle loving attention along with energy and relaxation. Open and soften each area with the breath.

Breathe your way back down through your body. Use your intuition, and “treat” those areas that you feel need it the most. You may be very surprised to discover just how much natural healing abilities we all have!

ON BREATH AND BREATHING

By | Blog

Rebirthing-Breathwork

Leonard Orr, the Father of the Rebirthing Movement, recently passed away. He left behind a living legacy, and I am grateful and blessed to be part of that legacy. In honor of Leonard, this month I would like to write about Rebirthing-Breathwork.

The technique or pattern can be defined and described in this way: “conscious, connected, rhythmic, circular, energy breathing. The inhale is active, and the exhale is passive. There are no pauses or gaps between the inhale and the exhale or between the exhale and the inhale. The breathing is continuous, like a wheel turning.

Let’s consider each piece:

Conscious Breathing.

Consciousness is an essential aspect of our nature, and it is our greatest tool for survival. When we practice being conscious of our breathing, we are becoming more conscious in general. By becoming more conscious of our breathing, we become more conscious of our body, mind, and emotions, our habits and patterns and reactions. And in the process, we can become more aware of who we really are.

Connected Breathing.

Everyone and everything in life is connected. There is a natural connection between our spirit, mind and body. Breathwork allows us to awaken, strengthen and deepen this connection. The breath connects the mind to the body, and it connects the conscious mind to the subconscious mind. And so, when we eliminate any pauses or gaps or breaks in the breathing cycle, we move toward a felt experience of connection or unity on other levels.

Eliminating the illusion of separation is what spiritual enlightenment is all about. By keeping the breaths connected, we strengthen our connection to life and the world, to ourselves and each other, to nature, reality, and to the present moment…

Circular Breathing.

Circles and cycles are everywhere in life. Nature is based on them, and energy loves to move in that way. In the East, they see the cycle of life as a wheel of birth and death. The circular pattern in Rebirthing-Breathwork taps into this universal principle and brings us into harmony with nature. That’s one of the reasons that Rebirthing-Breathwork triggers such powerful experiences of awakening and liberation.

Rhythmic Breathing.

Rhythm is another universal principle. It is a fundamental dynamic in nature (think day and night, the seasons, the tides, and so on). Breathing in a rhythmic way brings us into harmony with “what is” naturally in the universe and in life. Rhythmic breathing allows us to sense the deep and subtle pulse of life, and it supports so many other biorhythms, like our heartbeat, waking and sleeping, eating and fasting, working and playing, the ups and downs in life, and the rhythm of serving others and taking care of ourselves.

Energy Breathing.

Energy breathing increases aliveness. We are not just physical beings. We are also—and mainly—energy beings. In Rebirthing-Breathwork we do not just breathe air, we breathe energy. Call it chi, ki, prana, spirit, light, or life force. Everything is energy. Every thought, feeling, sensation, emotion, or movement is a form or expression of energy. If you can experience these things as energy, you will accelerate your awakening and simplify your healing and growth process.

Active Inhale/Passive Exhale.

This is a key element in the practice of Rebirthing-Breathwork. The opposite pattern: an active exhale and a passive inhale, is also a very valuable skill that we want to master, but it creates different effects and serves us in other ways.

Active and passive… yin and yang… positive and negative… north and south… male and female… inner and outer… up and down… within and without… above and below… These are all based on the same fundamental principle of polarities, again reflecting and expressing a basic pattern in life, a core aspect of our nature, and the background structure of existence.

These are fall based on the same fundamental principle of polarities. Again, this reflects a basic pattern in life, a core aspect of nature, a background structure of existence.

Therefore, in Rebirthing-Breathwork, we consciously apply the active-passive principle to the breathing pattern, making the inhale active or deliberate and the exhale passive or reflexive.

General Advice.

While breathing in this connected circular rhythm, it is important to be aware of your thoughts and emotions and pay attention to the feelings and sensations in your body. Don’t judge or analyze or resist or react to any of this. Keep focusing on the breath and return to the breath as soon as a thought or a feeling stops us from simply inhaling and exhaling, expending and relaxing, pulling in and letting go.

After several minutes of Connected Breathing, the “energy experience” begins. Most people experience it as tingling, vibrations, warmth, electrical sensations, and so on—not to be confused with the symptoms of hyperventilation. Allow this energy to come up, to move, and to take over your body. It is your own energy. It’s perfectly safe. Don’t resist it. Don’t be afraid of it. Later on, with practice you can control and regulate it. But in the beginning it’s important to simply relax into it, allow it, welcome it, surrender to it.

Various “symptoms” come and go during a Rebirthing-Breathwork session, like dizziness, tremors, shaking, spasms, sensations of heat and cold, spontaneous laughter, crying, primal sounds, emotional releases, memories, images, insights, etc.. It’s not happening to you. It’s happening for you. Enjoy the show!

Simply allow and observe all these things as you would scenery along the way of this inner journey. Don’t let any of these things interfere with or interrupt the conscious connected circular breathing rhythm.

You are surrendering to yourself—a higher or deeper part of yourself. Remember that under every feeling and behind every emotion, is another one. And under it all, behind it all is pure love, pure peace, pure joy. Breathe yourself to this place!

Rebirthing-Breathwork awakens our Inner Child.

Even though we are all grownups, we still have a child who is very much alive in us. That child is a source of creative energy and aliveness, passion and delight, innocence and beauty. That child can also react with fear and anger, anxiety, jealousy and confusion, helplessness and hopelessness, and these things can hold us back or get in our way. Rebirthing-Breathwork also awakens our inner adult, and this helps us to heal or awaken our inner child.

Every Rebirthing-Breathwork session is unique, and it pays to learn and practice and be guided by a well-trained intuitive breathwork coach or practitioner… what Leonard would call a good Rebirther.

There are many excellent breathworkers. I know, because I have trained many of them over the past 40 plus years. I invite you to find one, or better, become one!

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