Cultivate prosperous currents of breath

Jul 05

mindfulness and breath

Breathing is the flow of the divine,

Where the rhythms of life turn into each other—

The eternal exchange.

—Radiance Sutras

 

 

Our breath is the source of our vitality. Conscious regulation of the breath has long been practiced. It’s an integral part of many spiritual traditions. Regulating breathing patterns has been known to alter states of consciousness. Shallow breathing is an epidemic that is literally bankrupting our vitality.

Look at the teachings of Wim Hof, a.k.a., the Ice Man. Researchers studied how he was able to consciously influence his immune system and autonomic nervous system, which textbooks say is impossible. Modern science has been able to study his incredible ability to keep his body temperature steady in an iceboat for over an hour. As Hof teaches, I have practiced the breathing and cold showering for most of the last year, and I have noticed my energy, vitality, and clarity of mind surge.

“Because we wear clothes and precisely control the indoor temperatures at home and work, we have minimized the stimulation of our bodies, in some ways suspended the old mechanisms related to regulating body temperature. As these deeper physiological layers are not stimulated anymore, we have become alienated from them, and our bodies have weakened.” Wim Hof

We also have increasing problems in the posture of Americans. So much time hunched over computer screens has literally collapsed the lungs. People are breathing so shallowly that their body is suffering. My aging father-in-law only has one lung, and I watch him struggling to breathe and see how crucial the lungs are for well-being. In Chinese medicine, the lungs are related to depression. We can all imagine the feeling of sadness and how it can crush our chest as we fold in. So, if we practice more continuous and full breathing, we shift our mental and emotional state. From here we are better able to handle those tough topics, like money. We are more prepared to respond calmly in challenging situations. Try it. Now! Close your screen, stand up, and take ten deep belly breaths…and feel revitalized.

Strong or soft, wild or serene—

Wherever breath flows there is song.

Hear its whisper touching behind the face,

Singing in the throat,

Dancing spirals in the sanctuary of your heart.

—Radiance Sutras

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