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The Lion and the Locomotive

By | Blog

At the seminar in Moscow recently, the focus was on using breathwork to access and return to a place of silence and stillness, of deep peace and intense aliveness within us. Call it our center, our source, our essence…

This place has never been touched by anything that has happened in this world. It is always already free and pure, powerful and loving, bright and clear. It cannot be affected in any way by anything or anyone. Even we cannot influence this place in ourselves. We use the breath to identify and remove whatever is in the way of living from this place of deep peace. And we learn to recognize and eliminate whatever has the power to pull us out of this beautiful place.

We start with the metaphor of a powerful locomotive.
A fast-moving train has so much power and momentum that it easily blows through anything that may have been thrown in its path. It continues along its track without even slowing down. That train represents conscious continuous breathing: the connected rhythm. We start by breathing in a powerful and challenging way. And then we continue to breathe no matter what we think, no matter what we feel, and no matter what happens in us or around us.

The other metaphor is that of a mother lion.
Picture her laying in the sun in the open plains, totally relaxed and alert. Meanwhile her cubs are wrestling with her tail, pulling on her whiskers, chewing on her ear, and jumping on her belly.

None of her cubs’ shenanigans distract her in any way. She remains perfectly calm and relaxed and alert. Nothing disturbs her peace, her awareness, or her quiet relaxation.

During our breathing session, we need to take on the qualities of the lion and the locomotive.

Choose a conscious connected breathing pattern that activates a lot of energy in order to bring up whatever feelings and sensations or emotional reactions that have the power to block us from experiencing that place of peace, and also whatever has the power to pull us out of it.

Something very wonderful results when we manage to breathe through things that usually stop or distract or disturb us. Something very beautiful happens when we can remain relaxed and peaceful and calm in moments and situations that usually cause us to contract or tense up, or to become upset, angry, or afraid.

We can practice this alone. But in the beginning, it’s always better, to make use of a partner or sitter, a coach or facilitator.
As soon as the breather shows any signs of stopping, struggling or tensing up, or escaping, avoiding or spacing out, the sitter asks for a report. “What just happened? What are you feeling? What are you thinking about? What are you focusing on?

If the breather says “nothing,” the helper should point out the disturbance in the breathing or relaxation that was observed, to see if the breather can confirm the reaction.

At the seminar, we practiced very active breathing for five minutes, and then we practiced pure awareness and relaxation for five minutes. Going back and forth like that for an hour.

The practice allows us to uncover everything that has the power to prevent us from being in a beautiful, peaceful and vibrant state, and all the things that have the power to pull us out of it.

Make it an exercise or a game, and use your skills of awareness, relaxation and breathing to release whatever has the power to disturb you, distract you, or block you from being in a beautiful state, and whatever has the power to pull you out of it.

Play With Your Nervous System By Playing With Your Inhales and Exhales

By | Health & Longevity

Play is nature’s way of learning, and so this month I’d like you to play with your breath and your nervous system in an interesting way, to see what you learn, and to see what happens.

One of the rules of thumb in breathwork is: when you want to charge yourself up, focus on the inhale; when you want to calm yourself down, focus on the exhale.

By leaning into the inhale, you can turn on the sympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system. And by leaning into your exhale, you can switch on the parasympathetic branch.
As I often say, a healthy person should be able to breathe quickly and slowly, high in the chest and low in the belly. A healthy person should be comfortable with big powerful noisy breaths and also with very tiny subtle breaths.

This month, let’s experiment with extending the length of your inhales and exhales. Play with these exercises and let me know what you learn, feel, experience, or discover.

Practice in the sitting position.
And start with leaning into an energizing pattern:
Inhale to the count of 2 and exhale to the count of 2

Then inhale 3 and exhale 2
Inhale 4 and exhale 2
Inhale 5 and exhale 2
Inhale 6, exhale 2
Inhale 7, exhale 2
Inhale 8, exhale 2
Inhale 9, exhale 2
Inhale 10, exhale 2
Inhale 11, exhale 2
Inhale 12, exhale 2

Meditate for a few minutes on your energy.

And then practice leaning into a calming pattern:

Inhale 2, exhale 2
Inhale 2, exhale 3
Inhale 2, exhale 3
Inhale 2, exhale 4
Inhale 2, exhale 5
Inhale 2, exhale 6
Inhale 2, exhale 7
Inhale 2, exhale 8
Inhale 2, exhale 9
Inhale 2, exhale 10
Inhale 2, exhale 11
Inhale 2, exhale 12

Each of these rounds should take between 2 and 3 minutes.
Make sure to meditate between each round for at least 2 or 3 minutes.
Remember also that there is such a thing as the law of diminishing return. Slowing your breath down can reduce stress and anxiety, but forcing yourself to breathe too slowly will simply create stress and increase anxiety.

That’s why we practice with conscious awareness, and we remember to relax as we breathe. If for example you can only get up to a 2-6 count to start, that’s fine. Gently and gradually get comfortable with longer and longer inhales and exhales.

Finally, practice extending both inhales and exhales.

Inhale 2, exhale 2
Inhale 3, exhale 3
Inhale 4, exhale 4
Inhale 5, exhale 5
Inhale 6, exhale 6
Inhale 7, exhale 7
Inhale 8, exhale 8
Inhale 9, exhale 9
Inhale 10, exhale 10
Inhale 11, exhale 11
Inhale 12, exhale 12

Ceremonial Breathwork

By | Blog

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in a Ceremonial Breathwork session in Richmond, Virginia, led by my organizer there, Melissa Terese Young. Melissa healed her sciatica and awakened to her soul’s purpose in a single breathwork session a few years ago and became a missionary for the Church of Breath!

Melissa brings her love and passion for life to her breathwork practice, and incorporates traditional and native wisdom, song, drumming and her focus on benevolence to her healing work. The breathwork technique or meditation she teaches is a simple 3 part breathing pattern. The first part is to inhale deeply into the lower belly. The second part is to inhale into the upper chest. And the third part is a relaxed exhale.

She creates a very loving, peaceful and sacred space—a safe container—to do inner work. And she reminds people that the focus and the intention is “prana ayama” which means “breath/energy expansion.”

Breathing is done through the mouth using a “hah” sound. Hah, hah, hahhh… Hah, hah, hahhh…

Hah, hah, hahhh… She uses various rhythmic musical and drumming tracks, as she guides people into what feels like a beautiful shamanic experience.

The session lasts about an hour. The breathing pattern, together with her loving presence and her gentle encouragement allows people to go very deep, very quickly. She calls upon the Great Spirit, the Ascended Masters, and invites her breathers to call upon their own spiritual guides teachers, angels, and patron saints, as she encourages them to unleash the healing power of the breath.

I suggest you experiment with this 3 part breath. The first part of the inhale is done quickly into the belly, the second part is to inhale quickly into the chest, and the third part is to release the exhale with a sigh.

Stay with the pattern for at least 30 or 40 minutes in order to give the technique a chance to do its work!

Try it. You’ll like it!

An up-to-date Summary of the Essence and the Basics of Breathwork Practice

By | Blog

The first step in Breathwork is awareness or consciousness. We practice breath awareness—simply observing or tracking the breath. And we practice conscious breathing—controlling or directing the breath.

We practice going back and forth between these two basic aspects: doing the breathing and being breathed, directing the process and allowing the process. We practice breathing the breath and we practice letting the breath breathe us.
Relaxation is the next basic element: learning to let go of the exhale, to release it, to set it free. We consciously relax muscles in the jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, back… When letting go of the breath, we also let go of tensions or contractions.
The third basic aspect is using the inhale to charge ourselves, our system, with energy. There are countless energy breathing techniques, exercises and meditations. For example, we practice breathing fast and we practice breathing slow; we practice breathing low in the belly and we practice breathing high in the chest.

We practice breathing through the nose and we practice breathing through the mouth. We make the inhale active or we make the exhale active. We apply the principles or rhythm and balance, circles and cycles. We practice filling ourselves up completely, and emptying ourselves completely.
We practice pauses or breath holding. We use visualization or imagery. We incorporate sound and movement and we play with breathing while holding various positions and postures.
Breath Mastery requires regular daily practice. And it means bringing breath awareness and conscious breathing into ordinary activities: walking, moving, speaking, chanting, bending, stretching, lifting, listening, resting…

Practice.
Here’s a very simple exercise/meditation that we used to begin our eleventh annual 21-Day Retreat here at Baja BioSana:
Close your eyes and breathe in and out. Bring all your attention to your body, to the cells of your body, to your inner world. The open your eyes and breathe in and out while focusing on what is around you, bringing all your attention to your outer world.
Close your eyes and breathe in and out while focusing all your attention on your inner world of feelings and sensations and sounds and movements.

Then open your eyes and breathe in and out while extending your attention outwardly to the sights and sounds and people and things around you.

Go back and forth like that: taking one or several breaths with eyes closed while focusing internally, and then take one or several breaths with eyes open while focusing externally.

The real secret—the essence of Breathwork—is learning to breathe energy as well as air. You can call this energy prana, chi, ki, life force, light, or spirit. Keep that in mind while you practice.

Opening the Main Breathing Centers

By | Blog

Belly, chest, release.

Chest, belly, release.

Belly, chest, release.

Chest, belly release.

This is a very simple breathwork meditation exercise. The idea is to break the inhale up into two parts. Focus on filling the belly first and then the chest. When you are full, just relax and exhale.

Then focus on filling the chest and then the belly. When you feel full, relax and exhale.

Go back and forth like this for several minutes. Do it slowly at first, and then play with speed.

It may help to put one hand over your belly button, and one hand over your heart.

Breathe only into the belly until it is full (this is the first half of the inhale). Hold that fullness and then breathe into the chest until it is full (this is the second half of the inhale). When completely full, simply relax and release the breath.

Then breathe only into the chest (make this the first half of the inhale), and then breathe into the belly (make this the second half of the inhale). Then relax and release the breath.

Use this practice to isolate these two main breathing spaces, charging the belly and the heart, the heart and the belly.

The overall focus of this exercise/meditation is to transformation any tensions or restrictions or resistance in the belly and the chest into a sense of full flowing easy spaciousness.

Be conscious of an intention to awaken, harmonize and balance your feelings, emotions and thoughts.

Breathing to Awaken and Balance Instinct, Intellect and Intuition

By | Focus & Concentration

Recently at the seminars, we have been focusing on using the breath to awaken body intelligence or instinct, mind intelligence or intellect, and heart intelligence or intuition.
Many people are trying to get through life using only their intellect or mind intelligence. Yet, we have two other centers of consciousness waiting to be awakened and accessed. All together we have three brains: one in our head, one in our heart, and one in our gut.

With breathwork, we can tap into all three brains and therefore be fully present, create deeper connections, make better decisions, and keep ourselves safer. First, consider that you have three breathing spaces: a lower breathing space from the perineum to the belly button, a middle breathing space from the belly button to the nipple line, and an upper breathing space from the nipple line to the chin.

Breathing into the lower breathing space allows us to relax into the body, awaken our instincts, connect to the earth, and feel safe and grounded in our body intelligence. Breathing into the middle breathing space allows us to awaken heart intelligence and intuition and to connect to everyone and everything around us. Breathing into the upper space allows us to awaken mental energy or intellect, and to connect to higher intelligence.

Start by focusing on the lower breathing space: from the perineum to the belly button. Bring all of your attention and energy to the floor of the pelvis and breathe there. Breathe into your tailbone, your hip bones and perineum. It’s a meditation as much as an exercise.

Send your breath along with your energy and awareness to the lower breathing space. As you do, imagine sending energy down into the earth, grounding you and connecting your body to the earth. Focus on feelings of safety and security. Next, breathe into the middle breathing space, from the belly button to the nipple line. Have the intention to open your heart and connect to everyone and everything around you. Feel the expansion from side to side and breathe into your back. (Half of your lungs are in your back!)

Then breathe into the upper space, from the nipple line to the chin. You are breathing up into the small delicate spaces at the top of the lungs. Your collar bones tend to move up toward your chin when you breathe in. Imagine sending and receiving breath energy through the top of your head. Have the intention to clear and quiet your mind and connect with higher intelligence and heavenly beings. Create a three-breath or three-minute ritual: breathing into each one of the three spaces. You may want to use your hands and arms while you breathe to express and reflect what you are doing with your energy and your awareness.

You can also use sound. Breathe in slowly and make an “ooh sound on the exhale for the lower space to awaken body intelligence and to connect to the earth. Make an “aahh” sound for the middle space, expanding side to side to open and awaken love for everyone –heart intelligence. Make an “eee” sound when breathing in and out from the upper space to connect to the higher frequencies above.

To finish this short practice, you may want to breathe into all three spaces at the same time: knowing and feeling that you are settling into your body and connecting to the earth, opening your heart and connecting to everyone around you, and breathing up into your head to clear and quiet the mind and to connect to higher intelligence.

Do this in the morning to start your day and you’ll be ready for anything! Do it to prepare for an important meeting or a difficult conversation. Do it after an upsetting experience to recover and regain your balance. Do it to create harmony between body, mind and spirit—instinct, intellect and intuition. Do it to be fully present, to be clear, conscious, relaxed and alive.

Breathwork and the Art of Relaxation

By | Blog

We have been pounding on the basics and focusing on the fundamentals at the seminars lately. And one of those basic fundamentals is RELAXATION. Some of you may know that relaxation is one of the three elements in the Formula for Transformation, and it is one of the three Cornerstones of Breath Mastery.

Anyone can relax. The question is how deeply can you relax? How quickly can you relax? How completely or how totally can you relax? And in the face of what situations can you relax? In the middle of what circumstances can you relax?
Relaxation Training is important because it’s not just a matter of being relaxed or not relaxed: there are levels of relaxation. And the fact is, no matter how relaxed you are, you can always relax more.

Anyone can relax when everything is right with the world, when everything is going your way, when the kids are happy and healthy, and there’s plenty of food in the fridge and money in the bank, and lots of time to enjoy it all. Relaxation comes easily and naturally then! In a way, one could ask: “What good is it then?”

What about when you are anxious, afraid, stressed, frazzled, confused or in pain? Can you relax then? What about when things get intense, or when nothing is going your way? Can you relax then? Because that’s when it really counts! That’s when you really need it. That’s when relaxation makes all the difference in the world.

Everyone carries a certain amount of tension in their body. And almost everyone I ask is able to tell me exactly where in their body they hold or carry their tension. The most popular places are the jaw, neck, shoulders, and lower back. And by the way, neck tension happens to be a very common cause of headaches.

Chronic tension is an energy sucker. It eats away at our life force. It takes up energy that could be used for healing and rejuvenation. And yet it can be like the hum of a refrigerator, or noise outside the office: we tend to block it out. Because it’s always there we stop noticing it. We no longer feel it. And that’s when tension can do the most damage!

Breath is the key to releasing tension. Something very unique and powerful happens when we combine conscious breathing with dynamic relaxation. If you can breathe, you can relax. If you can let go of your exhale, you can let go of tension. And with practice, you can also release pain!

Take in a breath right now. Feel yourself open and expand, and then let the exhale go with a sigh of relief. Exaggerate it. Make the exhale dramatic, theatrical. We are talking a Shakespearean sigh of relief!

Can you release the exhale without pushing it out, or blowing it out, or forcing the exhale in any way? Can you let it go? Can you release the exhale fully and freely, without holding any of it back, and without controlling it? Can you snap the exhale loose? Can you set your exhale free? That is the first step in the Art of Relaxation.

In order to release the exhale, you have to let go. And letting go is relaxation. And so, when you give yourself a conscious sigh of relief, you are relaxing! I meet many people who say they cannot relax. But anyone can relax for a moment. And that’s all it takes: relaxing for a moment. And that moment is the moment that you consciously release the exhale.

The problem is that, to the ego, relaxation is death! Deep inside many of us are holding on to fear or anger. Part of us refuses to let it go, and so we find ourselves in a Catch 22. Fear and anger cause tension, yet the ego justifies it and refuses to let it go. But thankfully, breathwork also releases fear and anger!

And the wonderful thing about tension is that it represents a bundle, a ball, or a knot of energy. And when we relax, the energy that is released can be used for healing and growth. Plus, the feeling of tension dissolving and energy flowing is very pleasurable. Relaxation can give us goose bumps.

We can tremble and shudder and shake as the tension dissolves and energy is released into the system. We experience tingling, buzzing sensations and electrical vibrations. It’s an extremely pleasurable experience, and yet because the feelings are so unusual, it can be scary.

Deep relaxation opens a door to an amazing amount of energy, and the real fun begins when we can breathe and relax into that energy, because the result is nothing short of ecstasy! And so, the problem becomes: “How much ecstasy can you tolerate!”

The more open and relaxed you are, and the fuller and freer you can breathe, the more energy will flow through your system, and the brighter and more alive you will feel. My guess is that if we could relax completely, we would turn into pure light!

Practice now. Give yourself about twenty minutes. Lay on the floor, or sit back in a comfortable chair that supports you completely. And begin to pull the inhales in and snap the exhales loose.

Give yourself the sense you are opening and expanding on the inhale, and letting go and relaxing on the exhale.

When you breathe in, focus on a place in your body where you know you hold tension, and direct the breath to this place. Imagine breathing into those places where tension lives. Imagine your body like ice cream melting in the sun. Imagine relaxing so much that the spaces between your cells open up so that the breath can get into all the cracks and crevices.

When you release the exhale with a sigh, release your muscles and joints at the same time. In the same instant that you snap the exhale loose and set it free, give your body to gravity and let your muscles and joints release.

You can focus on a different muscle or muscle group with each breath. Or you can focus on a different place with each breath: jaw, neck, shoulders, spine, belly, pelvis, hips, extremities, etc.

Take your time on the inhale. Do it consciously. And then release the exhale deliberately and as you do, let go and surrender to gravity. Do that again and again. Keep pulling in the breath in and then releasing it. Each time you release the breath, you release a bit of tension.

Get a smooth steady breathing rhythm going, and enjoy the feelings of energy. Relax into the tingling and vibrating sensations that sneak up on you as you relax more and more deeply.

Accessing an Ocean of Energy with Breathwork!

By | Performance & Energy

Recently, we have taken the “fundamentals of breath mastery” to the high-tech, high-
performance, high-rolling, entrepreneurial world of California and Las Vegas! We also brought
the art and science of breathwork to the west coast fitness world.
The benefits of breathwork are well proven and easily experienced. Breathwork is the new
yoga! It is modern meditation! Healthy successful people who value their time appreciate how
quickly breathwork increases awareness, energy, and inner peace.
We all know that we are capable of much more than we think or have been led to believe. We
all know that we have within us certain higher abilities—natural healing and creative energies.
And breathwork has proven to be a key to unlocking these inner abilities.
More and more ordinary human beings are now accessing the same high states and abilities
that were once reserved only for the great masters, saints, gurus, mystics, and warriors. And, as
more and more people break through to these heights, the easier it is for others to do the
same.
I think something like the 4-minute mile phenomenon is happening in the breathwork world.
Did you know that about 5000 people have run four-minute miles since Roger Bannister first
did it? As soon as one person does the so-called impossible, it breaks an invisible barrier, and
opens the door for many others to follow.
This California Tour confirmed that one of the best way to accelerate our personal growth is to
master the breathwork skill of combining full free breathing with deep relaxation. Think of it as
bio-hacking.

The Navy SEALS teach a principle, that when you think you have reached your limit, the end of
your rope, when you think you have no energy left, you still have 40% of energy left in your
battery. The question is how we access those reserves?

The answer lies in the principles and fundamentals of breathwork. The first key is breathing
fully and freely. Combine that with great awareness, focused awareness, refined awareness.
That is the second key. The third key is combining breathing and mindfulness with profound
relaxation. That is the secret!

Deep relaxation is a door to unlimited energy. Profound relaxation allows us to access an ocean
of energy. In fact, this energy can be tapped in no other way. No amount of force or will or
effort can awaken this energy. Opening to it and letting go into it is the only way to get there!
Many high performers discovered this for themselves at every stop on out tour. That’s why we
practice conscious active inhales and deliberate passive exhales at all of our seminars and
trainings. And it’s something I suggest you begin to practice right now, right away!

We can certainly get ahead and overcome many obstacles by pushing, forcing, working—and
taking massive action. But there may come a time when we don’t have enough energy to work,
when we are worn out, exhausted, at the end of our rope. At that point, the ability to let go and
relax is what helps us break through and access those great inner reserves of energy!

Open and expand. Relax and let go. Practice conscious active inhales and relaxed reflexive
exhales. Combine full free breathing with complete relaxation. Ten minutes in the morning, ten
minutes at night, and ten times during the day for two minutes. Master this breathwork
practice and experience the benefits for yourself!

If you would like to have an audio-video version of this lesson and many more, then I invite you
to enroll in the new Online Breath Mastery Fundamentals Course.

All the information is here: www.o2collective.com/p/fundamentals

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

Modern Techniques and Ancient Rituals

By | Health & Longevity

Conscious Breathing has played a part in shamanic rituals and ancient indigenous ceremonies since the beginning of time. The breath is symbolized in many creation myths, and it is applied in many initiation rites and religious practices.

Breathworkers all over the world are now using the power of the breath to awaken inner peace and to promote world peace. Conscious breathing is being used to support healing and growth, to trigger awakening, to fuel performance, and to unlock hidden powers and dormant abilities.

Here is a good exercise to tune your instrument and to prime your system:

Practice squeezing all your breath out, pulling your belly button in toward your spine and pulling up on your perineum. It’s like squeezing all the water out of a sponge. Empty yourself of breath, and when you have squeezed out the last drop, simply relax and open, and feel the breath pouring into you.

Then practice taking deeper breaths. Pull past what feels full, beyond what feels like your limit. Topping the inhale off by taking in a few more drops of breath. Create an extra expansion on the inhale. Feel the expansion side to side, front to back, top to bottom. And when you are completely filled, simply let go and relax, and allow yourself to be infused with energy as you exhale.

You are softening your borders, gently stretching you limits. You are opening your mind and opening your heart; you are expanding your consciousness… You are inviting your body-mind system to generate and contain and channel more energy.

I recently spent time in a cave in South Africa where initiation ceremonies and healing rituals have been taking place for over 30 thousand years! I am so grateful to my friends and co-conspirators at the Vuka Institute (http://www.vukainstitute.org/) and Breathwork Africa (http://breathworkafrica.co.za/).

They gave me an opportunity to learn about the ancient Sangoma tradition in which the individual heals the community and the community heals the individual. It was an opportunity to breathe in nature, to re-awaken and reconnect with my love for shamanic breathing exercises and techniques.

So this month, I’d like to invite you to explore some of the underlying principles that guide many ancient breathing practices. The key principle is human connection. Connection to our ancestors. Connection to the earth and to the elements. Connection to nature, to plant and animal spirits. Connection to the cosmos and connection to the Source of all life.

I invite you to create your own rituals! Feel free to borrow from any of the ancient wisdom traditions or indigenous cultures, or from any spiritual tradition. Use drumming or dancing, use singing or chanting. Or let it be subtle and silent. But make sure to use the breath!

For example, every day, millions of Buddhist monks face the four directions of the compass and quietly generate and extend peace and compassion out into the world. Use your breath to bring practices like this alive in yourself.

What kind of energy or what qualities would you like to be filled with? Breathe them into yourself. What kind of energies would you like to send out into the world? Breathe those energies. Generate these energies in yourself with the breath and then freely overflow or radiate them out into the world as a prayer or a blessing to everyone in existence.

Leave no one out. Hold nothing back.

I am writing this from South Africa, where there are deep wounds related to past atrocities. Generations of people were made to feel inferior, and so much needs to be done to heal bodies, minds and souls. Here, science and medicine are merging with Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), to create new profoundly effective solutions that cut across the entire political and religious spectrum.

People are using the breath to tap into deep inner resources of strength, and they are breathing together to give expression to common dreams, shared intentions and collective aspirations. And you too can do this.

What do you wish for yourself? What do you wish for others? Focus on that and breathe. How can you use your breath to come closer to those you love?

Invite support from your ancestors and from even wiser future generations of golden beings. Use your breath to invite this support, to open to it and to welcome it. Use your breath to send your heartfelt intentions out into the world around you. Put passion and enthusiasm into every conscious breath you take.

Engage your imagination. Call upon God, upon the Creator. Allow your inner child to control and direct your breathing. Use sound and movement. Use imagery and emotion. A heartfelt intention powered by the breath really can change the world! It can certainly change your inner world.

What is important to you? Courage? Compassion? Peace? Joy? Freedom? Health? Create your own rituals using the breath to awaken or generate these qualities, these energies. Your heart will guide you.

Stories and teachings from any religious tradition can be brought to life in you with the breath. And be assured, that all the great saints and masters and mystics and guides will take note of your efforts, of your intentions, and they will come to aid you and to guide you in your practice.

Osho/Rajneesh once suggested that we breathe in all the pain, all the disease, all the violence, all the suffering of the world. When I first heard that, I said: “Why would I want to do that!” But the fact is, the heart is a transformer. The heart has a natural ability to transform pain into pleasure, hate into love, fear into peace, sadness into gratitude, suffering into joy.

Leonard Orr once said that Rebirthing-Breathworkers were the “spiritual vacuum cleaners” of the world! I like that idea of being a unique force for healing and change. Create an intention, and with passion and enthusiasm, breathe that intention into being, into existence, into reality!

Use wind noises, use ocean noises. Use interesting and enjoyable breath sounds. Practice breathing with great intensity, and also with gentle subtlety. Practice breathing fast as well as slow. Practice breathing high in your chest and low in your belly. Practice breathing in through the top of your head, or through your feet. Breathe in and out through your hands or your fingertips. Breathe through your eyes.

Breathe light. Be creative. Dare to be a modern medicine man or medicine woman, a modern healer, a shaman! Trust your heart! Breathe into your heart. Breathe from your heart. Breathe with your heart. Let me know what you create, what you discover, what you experience.

Much luck in your practice and many blessings on your path!

Breathing Strength & Capacity is linked to Spiritual Strength & Capacity

By | Spiritual Connectedness

I recently had the pleasure to work with a group of hockey players and coaches at Competitive Edge Skating and Strength Training in Michigan. And I’d like to share with you some of the tips and techniques we covered in the three days of work with these great young athletes.

First, a reminder of the basics: Breath Awareness and Conscious Breathing. Develop the habit of paying attention to your breath while you are exercising, training, or performing. And deliberately regulate or consciously pace your breathing to meet your body’s energy demands.

When you get a handle on your breath, you get a handle on your awareness (focus and attention), and your energy (life force or spirit). By focusing on your breathing, you take your mind off any pain or fatigue. Also, breathing consciously keeps your mind from slipping into “performance degrading self-talk.”

Use the principle of rhythm. When you are running, experiment with different rhythms. For example, inhale three steps and exhale three steps, or inhale two steps, and exhale four steps, or inhale four steps and exhale four, etc. Find a pace that feels natural and efficient and be ready to adjust the rhythm from time to time to meet your energy demands.

When you notice that you are breathing quick and heavy, “go long.” In other words, deliberately take in a long slow expansive inhale and give yourself a big exaggerated sigh of relief. From time to time pull past what feels full and snap the exhale loose, then go back to the rhythm.

Remember, it’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up. Don’t wait until you are winded or out of breath before you take control of your breathing. Lead with the breath. Learn to stay ahead of your body’s demand for energy rather than having to constantly struggle against an O2 deficit or a CO2 buildup.

Synchronize your inhales and exhales with active and passive movements. For example, when doing pushups, practice inhaling on the way down and exhaling on the way up, and practice exhaling on the way down and inhaling on the way up. Or do two or three up and downs on one inhale and two or three up and downs on the exhale. Experiment in the same way with pullups, sit-ups and squats, and so on.

Use conscious breaths to focus your or gather energy before shooting, diving, kicking, etc. (Notice what the great baseball pitchers, basketball players, and Olympic divers do just before they throw, shoot, or dive.) Use audible breath sounds to express or reflect or support moments of power or release. (Listen to the great tennis players when they serve or return the ball.)

Use the “nasal inhale, oral exhale.” Breathe in the nose and out the mouth as much as you can, and as often as you can.

Concentrate on diaphragmatic breathing. Make sure that you are a “belly breather.” Remember that you have three breathing spaces: upper, middle, and lower, and make sure to send breath into the lower and middle spaces when you work out, train, or perform.

To prevent that uncomfortable “side stich” when running, make sure to extend or complete your exhales so that your diaphragm sets high up into the rib cage. That pain is your diaphragm rubbing on your lower ribs. Picture a ball and socket joint: the socket is your rib cage and the ball is your diaphragm.

Learn to suck or draw fatigue out of the muscles of your body and release it with the exhale. (In the nose and out the mouth.) Use gravity to dump that fatigue into the earth. Practice your breathwork until it becomes automatic, unconscious, or second nature.

Master “burst breathing.” (Check out some of the YouTube clips of Eastern European weightlifters) Review Mikhail Ryabko’s Systema principles and Tom Sotis’s breathing drills in my book, Just Breathe.

Remember that rest is half the work. When you relax, really relax! It’s not just a matter of being relaxed or not relaxed: there are levels of relaxation. In your wind down or recovery period, learn to “puddle out.” Lay down and surrender completely to gravity.

magine your body like ice cream melting in the sun. You want to relax so much that the spaces between your cells open up so that the breath can get into all the crack and crevices of your being. Imagine “infusing” every muscle, joint, and organ with breath.” Consciously distribute breath-energy to every cell of your body.

Use that rest and relaxation period to feed yourself reward yourself with nurturing, uplifting thoughts and words. Generate feelings of gratitude and appreciation. Visualize health and success. Feel your connection to life and the cosmos, to nature and your source, and to everyone and everything in existence.

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

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