Nay_ho_tze's Medicine Musings

is it what you think?

Hindu belief says we are connected to Grandfather through the breath … 
American Indians use the breath to purify …
modern science recognizes the benefits of deep breathing and the power of breath work, 
which is why you’ve been practicing,  or trying to practice, deep breathing …
i mean, anyone can breathe deeply, right?  
it’s really just a matter of remembering to, right?

well, yes and no …

it's important to deep breathe properly because it’s not as natural as you think …
assess your skill right now - take your best deepest breath, then  exhale …
now do it once more, only this time, pay attention to which moves more …
your shoulders or your belly?
if you answered, shoulders, then this article is for you …

the main function of deep breathing is to purify the blood –
and in order to create that necessary flush of oxygen into the bloodstream, 
the lungs must first be filled to capacity, down into their deepest recesses --

deep breathing practiced properly can bring effects immediately felt
but not easily communicated -
suffice it to say that the spirit recognizes proper breath 
like a thirsty horse smells the unseen brook ahead

you may notice when you first begin proper deep breathing
that you may suddenly begin yawning – this is natural – 
it is your body’s reaction to having its need of oxygen responded to  - 
the body wants to gulp – remember the horse above?

so, the proper way to deep breathe is thus:
on the inhale, focus on proper diaphragm movement, that is,
consciously push your belly outward to draw the diaphragm downward -
this ensures filling the lungs to capacity, the benefits of which cannot be exaggerated

once you’ve mastered the technique,
up the game and add another layer of mindfulness…
this time with visualization –

again, on the inhale push out your belly and fill your lungs -
and then on a slow exhale, shift gears --

see the energy traveling up your spine 
until it reaches the base of the skull - 
now roll your closed eyes toward your forehead,
and you will feel this exhalation energy being sucked out of your body 
from the back of the skull through the 3rd eye, or forehead …*

when done properly, physical energy may be felt vibrating
from the back of your skull to the front exit …
it’s not scarey or distracting – 
it’s really kind of like a quiet, comforting recognition of self --
mindful deep breathing does that:  makes after-effects that feel like home

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 * click here for a diagram of the energy movement learned from a lifelong teacher