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Playing with the Forces in Breathwork

By | Blog | No Comments

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!

Breathwork for Emotional Energy Management

By | Performance & Energy

There is a lot of talk about stress and burnout these days, and so this month I’d like to focus on the role that unmanaged emotional energy plays in the stress and burnout cycle. I’d like to talk about using breathwork to prevent emotional exhaustion and to recover from it, because unmanaged emotional energy may be the biggest single cause of stress and burnout in general.

The thing about emotional exhaustion is that it’s like boiling a frog: it sneaks up on us. The problem is most people can keep up with the demands of life, they can get ahead and even excel in life, despite being emotionally dead, drained, overwhelmed or exhausted. And so, the worst thing about it is that most people seem to get by just fine in spite of the problem.

For example, therapists or healers may not be experiencing any negative thoughts or feelings due to emotional burnout. In fact, they may be getting amazing results with their clients, who are all very grateful. Yet they are no longer feeling the love or joy, or the thrill or pleasure they once derived from their work.

One of the symptoms is that they no longer naturally and automatically stop to appreciate little moments, such as enjoying the sun on their face when stepping out the door of their office or clinic after a long day or difficult client. They no longer automatically delight in the simple pleasure of being in a body and being connected to nature.
Being helpers, we tend take on other people’s emotional energy, and so we need to develop skills in handling and processing and venting this energy. And this is an issue not just for helpers and healers, but for anyone who works with people. It affects leaders of all kinds: managers, school teachers, artists, employers, musicians, coaches, and parents.

If you think about it, dealing with just one person’s emotions can be overwhelming, never mind having to deal with dozens or even hundreds of clients, students, partners or employees every day. In these kinds of relationships, we tend to give freely of our energy. And when it returns or when we take it back, it comes with other people’s energy attached to it.
My friend and teacher Leonard Orr called this phenomenon “emotional energy pollution.” And to deal with it, we need to develop a practice of clearing away emotional energy at the end of each day. And we need to be skillful at managing, transforming or venting this energy as it arises while we move along through our day.

Basically, an emotion is the activation, acceleration or intensification of energy, and so we need to be conscious and in touch with our energy, and able to contain, channel or manage our emotions if we are going to remain healthy and happy.
We can stay ahead of emotional burnout by being conscious of our own feelings and sensations while we are communicating with clients, students, authorities, loved ones, and others. We want to be using the breath to awaken heart intelligence and body intelligence, and not rely on mind intelligence alone.

We need to catch ourselves as soon as we get knocked off center and we need to use the breath to return to a place of ease and clarity, of comfort and pleasure, of passion, enthusiasm, peace and inspiration, regardless of the emotional situation. And this takes practice.
We can also stay ahead of the problem by doing some conscious breathing before a challenging, difficult or stressful event, meeting, conversation, situation, performance or presentation. Many people use “Box Breathing,” the “Triangle Breath,” or circular breathing for this.

Most of us have intuitively developed methods and strategies for dealing with negative emotional energy. For example: positive self-talk, movement and massage, visualization, guided imagery, meditation, relaxation, rest and recovery rituals, recreation and vacation activities.
As breathworkers we make use of these tried and true strategies, but more importantly we incorporate or integrate breathwork into them. We turn to our two core techniques: the conscious sigh of relief and the connected breathing rhythm. We blend our breathing practice into our meditations, visualizations, exercises and re-boot activities.

Dr. Ela Manga in her book, “Breathe: Strategizing Energy in the Age of Burnout” offers us a number of brilliant practices that she terms “recovery loops.” And I suggest that you integrate these recovery loops into your everyday life.

In my own experience, if I get emotionally upset, if I indulge in an emotional disturbance or get “frazzled,” my body, my thinking, my intuition, my creative abilities, and the strength and resilience of my immune system are immediately affected. Not only that, even my electronic devices, my computer, cell phone, and my internet signal are affected!
And so in many ways, we can no longer afford this kind of emotional static in our system. It blocks us from being in our heart. It dulls our ability to sense subtle energy. And it gradually chips away at the joy and brightness in our lives.

We can be missing the effect that it has on us… not knowing that we are missing opportunities, attracting or not attracting certain people and situations… we can take a wrong turn, we can overlook sources of pleasure and underestimate our inner resources.
Most people have two choices when it comes to emotions: suppress them or express them. A third option is to integrate them. Learn to channel that energy through the breath, which takes the stress off the body and the mind. Learn to breathe into your emotions, to relax into them, to absorb and integrate and effectively direct the energy that is unlocked by our emotions.

We use two core techniques.
The first is a simple sigh of relief. Take an inhale that is twice as big as normal, then release the exhale with a sigh while deliberately relaxing physical tension and rigid thinking.

The idea is to meet and greet emotional energy as it arises with the breath. The mantra is: “Open and expand. Relax and let go.”

The second core technique is Conscious Connected Breathing. Learn to flow the breath in a smooth steady continuous pattern—like a wheel turning, with no pauses between the breaths.

The inhale connects to the exhale, and the exhale connects to the inhale… Basically, you are continuously giving yourself small sighs of relief. This is the Connected Breathing technique. By keeping your breath moving you are allowing your energy to smoothly and safely flow.

And so, the next time you feel a powerful emotion, the next time your emotional energy is activated, teach your body-mind system a higher, better way to process that energy. Use conscious breathing!

I recommend you apply the basic formula to your practice: 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at night, and 10 times during the day for 2 minutes each time. (10+10+(10×2)

In addition to regulating your breath, you also need to focus on relaxing the body. Are your fists clenched? Is your jaw tight? Are your shoulders tense? Is there a knot in your stomach? Use the breath and wash these tensions away to keep emotional energy from clogging up your system.

What are you focused on? What are you telling yourself? Use the breath to calm and quiet your mind. Engage in positive uplifting, nurturing self-talk. Extend love and compassion to yourself because we are all doing the best that we can with what we’ve got and where we are. But, make sure to keep growing yourself!

3 PRESCRIPTIONS FOR HAPPINESS

By | Blog

This month, I’d like to return to one of my first western spiritual teachers Ken Keyes. He wrote the Handbook to Higher Consciousness and many other books. One of them was called “Three Prescriptions for Happiness.”

Here are his three prescriptions. They are perfect advice for breathworkers!

1. Ask for what you want—but don’t demand it.

When you are demanding instead of preferring, you lose insight, humor, enjoyment, the feeling of love, and you lose your peace of mind. Gently letting go of the demands and attachments of your mind represents the highest level of true strength and character in a human being.

Remember that a lot of suffering is caused by the mind that automatically takes offense at what’s happening. How long are you going to let your mind destroy your happiness? It’s your choice how you operate your mind and how you live your life. You can choose and change your internal emotional experience. You’ll be surprised how often things will change and give you what you want—without your having to demand, manipulate or force anything or anyone.

2. Accept whatever happens—for now.

The truth is we need to learn how to accept the unacceptable, forgive the unforgivable, tolerate the intolerable, get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and love the unlovable. We need to learn to take our finger off our internal emergency alarm button. We have to realize that most of our problems cannot be solved by triggering our primitive fight or flight response. Do you really think your survival is threatened by the stuff that you react to in your life? Tell your mind that what looks like a catastrophe just ain’t so! Make a list of things you could not stand a year ago or the year before last and see that you can now emotionally accept some of them. This is called growth.

“Accept whatever happens—for now” doesn’t mean you have to like what’s happening. It doesn’t mean you have to stop trying to change what’s happening. It doesn’t mean you have to think that whatever happens is right. It means that you stop making yourself afraid, angry, resentful, worried—and unhappy.

Wisely letting go conserves your energy, clears your mind, gives you sharper insights, enables you to enjoy the here–and–now moment in your life, and helps you increase your love for yourself and others.

3. Turn up your love—even if you don’t get what you want.

Love means tearing down the separateness and the boundaries between your heart feelings and another person. Love is just a feeling of togetherness and openness in your heart. When you love someone, it means that he or she is putting you in touch with a part of you that you love in yourself. Conversely, when you’re rejecting someone, he or she is only doing what you would strongly reject in yourself.

Love is a feeling of closeness, warmth, non-separateness, understanding, togetherness, of oneness. Love is not a matter of what happens in life. It’s a matter of what’s happening in your heart. You don’t love people because they desperately want your love. You don’t love people because they need it. You don’t love people because they deserve it. You don’t love people because you want them to love you (some may not allow themselves to love you). You just love them because they are there!

Loving more and demanding less are not only the nicest things you can do for yourself. They’re also the most caring things you can do for the whole world! Remember that you don’t turn up your love in order to be nice to others. You turn up your love to be nice to yourself! It takes skill and insight to use these Prescriptions for Happiness. They’re not as easy as taking a pill. You have to work with your desire systems, your ego, your selective memory, your mental habits, your emotions, and the illusions of pride and prestige.

Your mind will come up with lots of reasons for not doing your inner work. Your mind’s really good at this. Don’t let the mind that you’re trying to retrain talk you out of doing it!

I’ll end with one of my favorite Ken Keyes teachings:

“We’ve got to convince our egos and our minds that if we want to live long happy lives, love is more important than anything else.”

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

Give Yourself the Gift of a Relaxed Energy Breathing Session

By | Blog

I am enjoying a break in my training and travel schedule these days, and am reminded how important self-care is for those of us in the business of helping, healing, teaching or caretaking.

And guess what? We are all helpers, healers, teachers and care-takers! And so, this month, I invite you to give yourself the gift of a relaxed conscious energy breathing session.

It’s a way to reawaken or heighten a deep and natural sense of physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing.

Rebirth yourself! Do it today.

Find a comfortable place to sit and relax.

Turn your focus and your attention inward. Listen to and feel your heartbeat. And begin to watch your breath.

Remember that everything in you and around you is perfect. Remind yourself that there is nothing to force or fix or change.

Give yourself a big, soothing, delicious, luxurious sigh of relief. And use this sigh of relief again and again to deepen your relaxation. Use it to drop deeper and deeper into a place of silence and stillness within.

Allow your throat to be open and soft. Relax your jaw and neck and shoulders.

Relax the muscles of your face. Let your mouth and tongue relax. Relax your spine and your chest. Relax your belly, hips and pelvis. Relax your arms and legs, hands and feet, fingers and toes.

Let all your muscles and joints release as you breathe out. And then remain open, soft and relaxed as you breathe in.

Let your whole body breathe and relax. Send breath energy to every cell of your body. Bring your breath into a continuous connected rhythmic pattern. Inhale turning into the exhale… Exhale merging with the next inhale… Begin to open and invite more energy into you with each inhale.

Breathe fully and freely and welcome whatever feelings and sensations arise. Welcome the tingling sparkling vibrations and electrical sensations. Welcome any trembling or shaking as you intuitively adjust your breathing rhythm.

After some time, let the breath come and go by itself, and simply be. Feel your connection to everyone and everything. Feel yourself as a part of nature, connected to the earth, and to the cosmos.

Consciously generate gratitude and appreciation. Acknowledge yourself as a unique miracle. Tell yourself it’s a great day to be alive.

Now get up. Get going. And celebrate this day with someone you love!

Finally, I am suddenly reminded of one of Karen Drucker’s songs:

My religion is kindness. My church is Nature. My God is a feeling that lives deep inside. My job is to be conscious. My path is forgiveness. My religion is kindness, and I practice every day.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has pain. When we strip away our masks, we find we’re all the same. Those little things we say and do that can mean so much. It’s the smile of connection and simple loving touch.

Today I’m going to ask myself what more can I do, To be a radiant child of God, and let my love shine through. Going to let my heart be my guide, to give the best of me. Going to share my joy and share my love, and give it boundlessly.

My religion is kindness. My church is Nature. My God is a feeling that lives deep inside. My job is to be conscious. My path is forgiveness. My religion is kindness, and I practice every day.

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

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

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