Breathing Consciously : CHI Dynamics

Breath is our source of life. We inhale air to support life - oxygen is required to create energy (via respiration) - we exhale carbon dioxide waste. The cycle of life is intimately connected to metabolic processes which require oxygen for sustenance. Our heart pumps blood to our entire body, supplying it with a constant supply of oxygenated blood. Breath is the gateway that allows us to maintain life.

The rhythm of life is in the breath. This inward flow (filling us up) and outward flow (removing CO2) holds many secret messages – all we need to do is to stop and listen – if only for a moment. Nature breathes just like we do. The ocean waves flow like our breath. The water cycle breathes in moisture via evaporation and breathes out rain. The earth revolves around the sun. Seasons change. We encounter astrological shifts which orbit with the seasons. Constant motion.

Breath is life, which is perpetually flowing. Breath creates a shift from inward to outward, external to internal…a constant to and fro cycle. If our centre can be stilled via breathing consciously, we can experience living in the now. When we shift our consciousness to our breath, it allows us to stay in the present moment. This wakefulness allows the possibility of experiencing profound bliss and compassion.

The breath connects us to the element air (light, lofty and non-materialistic), which reminds us of our spirituality. Air is the ether of life on this planet. Without it, we expire within minutes. Nothing is so vital to life.

Stress causes us to stop breathing. When we are removed from awareness via stress and activity, we can always call upon the breath to bring us back. Breath is a meditation which waits patiently – always with us – still and steady – strong but malleable.

Breath moves like a wave, poetically touching us inside and out, constantly experiencing and re-experiencing itself like a melody. The complexity of breath is so unfathomable, that it is reminiscent of Wittgenstein's statement - "That of which we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence."

The breath is our only constant companion in life – it never abandons us throughout life – until our final breath. Never forget the elegant and delicate symbiosis experienced with each breath. Your life would never be the same without it! Wishing you all much ecstasy explored and experienced through the breath.

Breath is the basis of all life. Breath is also the basis of all meditation and meditative movement. Breath is the primary manner in which we all obtain life energy. The other three in metaphysical understanding are water, food and prana or chi. The most important concept to understand about breath and meditative movement is that one moves in coordination with the breath. One moves in and out of postures with the breath and one deepens and lengthens postures in coordination with the breath. Inhalations equate to tension whereas exhalations equate to relaxation and release. There are four important aspects of meditative breath. It is important to breathe slowly, deeply, steadily and consciously. It’s said most people breathe wrong. Most people breathe either from high, mid or low points. A complete yogi breath is a cyclical movement beginning from low point moving like a wave. Meditative movement leads to proper cyclical, complete breath.

Balanced breathing is utilized most frequently. Balanced breathing means the four parts to one breath cycle are equalized. The inhalations and exhalations are the same length of time to each other and the pause full and pause empty are the same length of time to each other too. For example 8 seconds in, 2 second pause, 8 seconds out, 2 second pause is an example of steady balanced breath. Meditation practitioners from long ago would count the breath not in seconds, but heartbeats. There are innumerable variations of meditative breath, however in most all meditations awareness of the matrix of meditative breath is a primarily important perception. Some more developed meditation practitioners move beyond focus on the breath, however even masters come back to and start with the breath. For the rest of us focus on the matrix of breath can calm the distracted monkey mind that swings from vine to vine, thought to thought. Trouble in meditation equates to, in general having a full mind, perceiving the breath allows one to be alternatively mindful so as to begin and develop meditation. Balanced breath is beneficial to balancing one’s energy, often all we need. As one masters balanced breath one can implement new patterns to enhance energy movement in four basic patterns beyond balanced breathing similar conceptually to the depiction of the Yin Yang mandala. Unlike balanced breath these forms build and release energy in specific ways. There is the enhancement and lengthening of the pause full, in/pause/out patter for building Yin energy. There is the enhancement of pause empty, in/out/pause for Yang energy. Then a pause is inserted midway between either the inhale or exhale for energy movement, in/pause/in/out for Yin and lastly in/out/pause/out for Yang. Meditation is mindfulness – the fullness of mind of the present. Whether distracted or focused, whether in still or moving meditation or in daily life, simply being mindful of the breath can connect mind and body.

Reference : Ethan Indigo Smith

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