On Breath and Breathing

August 8, 2021

Many people have asked me to outline the basic steps that lead to Breath Mastery…

And so I offer a simple plan to create and develop your own self-directed personal practice.

Here are seven important steps to Breath Mastery:

  1. Practicing Breath Awareness
  2. Playing with the Channel
  3. Engaging the Exhale
  4. Charging the Heart
  5. The Cleansing Breath
  6. Breathing into the Three Spaces
  7. Mastering the Connected Rhythm

Breath Awareness means being the “watcher,” the “witness,” the “observer” of the breath. It means turning your attention to your breathing at various times, in various situations, and during various activities throughout the day. It means becoming conscious of subtle changes and detailed points in the breathing. It means connecting certain breathing patterns to various physiological, psychological, and emotional states and tendencies.

Playing with the channel means exploring what happens energetically when you breathe through the nose vs the mouth. It means trying things like breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, breathing in one nostril and out the other, and breathing through both the mouth and the nose at the same time. It means exploring various breath sounds, beginning with: an “ooh” shape on the inhale, and an “ahh” shape on the exhale.

Engaging the Exhale is the art of letting go. The ability to set the exhale free, to snap it loose, to release it quickly and completely is a vital life skill. When you release the breath you also release your muscles and joints (jaw, neck, shoulders, spine, hips, limbs, etc.). The idea is to set the body free at the same time that you set the exhale free. When you get good at letting the exhale go quickly and completely, you discover that you are also able to let go of pain, fear, negative and limiting thoughts, habits that do not serve you, your karma, your conditioning, and even the past!

Charging the heart means consciously directing the inhale into the center of your chest. Breathing into the heart chakra balances the head and the belly, it unifies mind and body. The practice involves expanding the entire breathing cavity from front-to-back, top-to-bottom, and side-to-side. It means filling yourself with creative and healing energies, It means feeding yourself love, peace, and joy. It means creating a space inside yourself for something big, something new, something pure, something sacred.

The Cleansing Breath is also called the “Coming Home Breath,” and the “All the Work is Done Breath.” It involves a long deep slow inhale and a big luxurious sigh of relief. We use this breath to shift out of one state and to settle into another. We use this breath to complete things, and to begin things. We use it to focus and clear ourselves, to drop into the ONE, and to expand out into the All: to connect to our Source and to everything and everyone around us.

Breathing into the Three Spaces means being able to direct the breath into the lower space, the middle space, and the upper space. The upper breathing space is from the chin to the nipple line; the middle breathing space is from the nipple line to the navel; the lower breathing space is from the navel to the perineum. Being able to isolate these places and breathe easily into them one at a time, one after the other, and to breathe into all of them at once, is an extremely important ability.

The Connected Rhythm is also called the Rebirthing Breath or Energy Breathing. It is breathing in a conscious, connected, circular, rhythmic way, like a wheel turning. The inhale is active and the exhale is passive, There are no gaps between the breaths. The inhale turns into the exhale without the slightest pause or hesitation, and the exhale seamlessly merges with the next inhale–again, with no pause. There are three general types of connected rhythms: fast and full, slow and full, and fast and shallow.

If you master these seven steps or basic skills, if you can combine powerful breathing with complete relaxation, and if you remember to apply the principles of non-judgment, non resistance, and non attachment (in other words “non-reaction”) during your process, you will be firmly on the path of Breath Mastery, and well on the way to achieving what was formerly reserved only for the great masters, mystics, saints and yogis!”

Written by Dan Brule www.breathmastery.com

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