Mushin Breathing- A Japanese technique for lessening stress

Introduction

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Well, here I am again, after a slow amble around the globe.
 
Let me give you a short recap to bring you up to date with me sitting here now in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
 
In May, I packed up my life in Tokyo and flew to Washington D.C. to teach a three-day workshop and also to spend some time with a friend and his family. I must say, when people asked me where I lived, it wasn’t easy for me to say, “I lived in Tokyo for thirty years and now I am on my way to live in Thailand.” Somehow, my words didn’t make emotional sense to me, and I had trouble speaking the sentence all in one go.
 
From DC I took a midnight flight to Istanbul. Not sure what time I landed, but I do remember being worn out. Especially after it took me four hours to get to where I was staying from the airport!
 
Istanbul is just sooo big and spread out and also very exciting when you are not traveling at peak commuting times. A business friend who I had never met in person before proved to be an incredibly kind and caring guide. She helped me get a little bit beneath the surface of the Turkish culture, and I am always intrigued when I have the opportunity to do so in a “new” country. If you go to Turkey and spend any time eating with Turkish friends, be prepared to gain weight!
 
From Istanbul I flew to Tel Aviv. I took a van service from the airport to Jerusalem, and then from there I took a bus to Bethlehem and the West Bank. For now I will just say that traveling in the West Bank was one of the most impactful journeys of my life. A lot of mixed up emotions bubbling and sometimes boiling over in this part of the world. It is important to note that I felt very safe in the West Bank, as long as I wasn’t anywhere close to tension between Palestinian youths and the Israeli military. I found Palestinian people to be kind, friendly, and accepting. I taught Aikido in Jerusalem as part of a peace initiative and found the experience to be very emotionally rewarding.

As a side note- The Pope was in Bethlehem at the same time I was, and even though we didn’t get to have coffee together as planned 🙂 , it was great to see him in Manager Square, along with pilgrims from around the world.

And then finally… I traveled over the course of a day and half, from Bethlehem to Tel Aviv, to Zurich, to Bangkok, to Chiang Rai. I don’t remember how long the journey took. I just remember that there were a lot of layovers and it took too long!

Now I am finally here in my new home, and enjoying myself quite a lot in the third portion of my life. Here is a picture of my house in a lovely compound with lots of birds and flowers, a fair amount of frogs, and a fascinating array of geckos both inside and outside my house.

I am now in the process of setting up part of the house for guests, I already have some local private clients I am doing bodywork with, and my landlord and newly found friend Raem and I will be putting together some workshops in the future. Raem does some very special work using Tibetan singing bowls as a medium for healing.

So, that is my update for today, and I will be writing more about my life here in Chiang Rai as time goes on. 

As you scroll down the page in front of you, you will see that we have a community site up on Google+. Tony and I would love it if you would stop by!

And finally, please continue down the page and find your way to the “Musings” section of today’s newsletter and read what I have to say about the Seishindo stress management technique Mushin Breathing. This is the first in a series of articles and podcasts on stress management. And when you are ready to listen to today’s podcast, please have a listen by clicking the button below. People often write saying that they have found that performing this exercise on a regular basis really helps them to stay calm and feel centered. Hopefully, the same will be true for you!

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Musings…

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Mushin Breathing is a core exercise in the study of Seishindo and stress management. Mushin is a Japanese word that can be said to mean “without conscious thought”.
 
This “state” or way of being occurs when the thinking mind is not fixed on or occupied by thought or emotion, and thus open to everything. I believe that mushin is one and the same as what Westerners refer to as a “flow state”.
 
When you are experiencing mushin you are centered and calm, yet active. You do neither too much, or too little, as you release all extraneous action and thought. Nothing comes between your thoughts and actions, and nothing is left over or undone. Thought, action, and breathing occur simultaneously, and this is the exercise walks you through. It can be a deceptively simple yet fully engaging process. Top athletes enter this state numerous times over the course of their career, and every one of us has had the same life affirming experience from time to time. This exercise will make a “flow state” more accessible to you, and little by little you will begin to notice the benefits of being able to embody such a state.
 
As you engage in Mushin Breathing your thinking mind becomes immersed in the process of coordinating your breathing and movements. You gently focus on experiencing and maintaining the quality and flow of your breath and movements occurring seamlessly together as one. You breathe as you move, pause your breathing and movement, and then move and breathe again. Eventually, you become so involved in sensing the movement of your body and your breath, that your thinking mind doesn’t have enough attention left over to think! This is quite a fun place to get to, and you will find that being in such a frame of “bodymind” offers you numerous surprising benefits, depending on your needs.

The podcast shares a good deal more about this important topic so please follow our link and have a listen.

In Community,
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