How to Breathe

20110515-082220.jpg

the Sufi Prayer (written backwards, on my dining table)

Breathing is WAY more important than most people realize. It’s the core aspect of being alive, after all. People who want to make progress on the spiritual path ask me: how do I meditate, how do I visualize, etc. But believe me, nothing is more important that knowing, really understanding, the importance of proper breathing. If you have trouble stilling your mind or thinking peaceful thoughts, close your eyes and try this:
Focus on the expansion of your lungs as you breathe in and let your little buddha belly relax outwardly when you breathe in, releasing the diaphragm, the flat sheath-like muscle that pumps air in and out of your lungs. Then focus on the breath leaving your lungs, and your stomach area below ribs pushes IN, contracting the diaphragm, which allows your breath to leave fully. A tiny pause between in-and-out is the “space” meditation teachers always tell their students to look for. This is just a trick, really, to get you to focus your mind to super-sharp one-pointedness. This “space” is a half-millisecond long, this nano-moment between breaths. But it’s a nice trick, one that gets students to focus on the in-and-out process, and gets people mindful of how they’re breathing.
identifying with the Teacher

listen to your Inner Teacher!

THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! This kind of breathing is called yoga-breath or belly-breath or diaphragmatic breathing. It’s the kind of breathing athletes use, also professional singers, and is taught to mothers about to give birth. This way of breathing makes your mind and body strong. Breath connects the mind and body, the spiritual and material. You “marry” the mind to the breath, or “harness” them together. Learn how if you don’t already breathe in this manner. Without proper breathing a yoga practice  (or one’s life) is … dull, boring, mostly ineffective compared to what it could be. Belly-breathing is counter-intuitive to how most people breathe. It just takes a little practice, and once you get it—you’ve harnessed your Inner Power!

 

Do NOT move your shoulders up and down as you breathe. All the muscular action comes from your diaphragm. Put your hand on your navel to feel the in-out motion. Connect with this belly-action: it is key to proper breathing.

 

So…when you breathe in, you’re filling the lungs, right? think: RELEASE the diaphragm (push belly out to release that muscular dome, the diaphragm, holding lungs separate from guts). This muscle has been compared to a bellows, the old-fashioned hand-tool used to push compressed air onto a faltering fire, making flames roar up from the increase of oxygen. The same thing happens in your lungs when you engage the “bellows-like” diaphragm.

When you breathe out: PUSH diaphragm in and up, forcing air to evacuate your lungs.

This breathing properly is very very important to get, to comprehend, and then USE. This kind of breathing alone, is a meditation. Practice till you can do it without thinking about what’s happening with the diaphragm.
In-breath, belly OUT

out-breath, belly IN

 

getting help with handstand

If you can gradually add the visualization of LIGHT and STRENGTH coming in, and going out, along with this muscular action in your CORE (because this is what you’re engaging when you breathe this way, my friend) … then you are preparing for an outta-sight yoga practice. Or … a more aware life, in general.

 

If you don’t spend TIME getting this diaphragmatic breathing, you’ll miss out on the beauty of a “true” yoga practice. WHY? Because quite simply (and trust me, this is true) breathing is the BRIDGE between our lower consciousness and our higher perceptions.

​If you haven’t yet learned to connect to your breath, at all times, in all circumstances, not just when “doing yoga” … then you ought to. Right NOW.

Guardian of the Sky, mixed media, 27“x60”

Breath is the KEY to a powerful Life

Breath is the key. It’s the “bridge” between the two sides of life: the material and the spiritual. Think about it: if you’re not breathing you’re … that’s right, you’re dead! It’s that basic. Kind of silly, but when you understand how important consciously breathing is—how without being aware of it we’re stuck in … lower perceptions—then you’ll grasp how very important it is to connect at all times, especially stressful ones, with your in-breath, with your out-breath.

 

Of course the perfect way to practice this new consciousness we call awareness … is when we “do yoga.” Meaning … perform the asanas by harnessing the breath, engaging the breath FIRST.

reach for the sun

surya namaskar

Okay, think of a sun salute. Let’s call this series of asanas as a “basic training” mechanism by which you get to 1) focus on your breath, 2) move your body, 3) stretch and/or strengthen muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints. It’s THIS SIMPLE. Without first “harnessing the breath” (think of saddling up your horse … you MUST be comfortable in your breath, your saddle, being aware of it, “seeing” it fill you, “seeing” it leave you, “resting” in your ability to consciously be breathing, not unconsciously) without this, all you’re doing when you do a sun salute is a calisthenic, gym-rat repetition. Seriously. Without FIRST joining your awareness to the breath, every move you make is … shallow.

love ya, glorious breath to you and yours,
Lord Flea aka teZa Lord
Harness the Power Within by harnessing your breath!
Book of teZ

the Power Within

One thought on “How to Breathe

  1. Bruce Merwin says:

    Hi teZa, Thank you for your “How To Breathe” article, I learned a lot from it. You are wonderful.
    “I become what I behold” – Walt Whitman

    Liked by 1 person

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