Whole Body Breathing

(This Practice has been influenced by the work of Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen, Linda Hartley, and the study of Aikido and Yoga.)

By bringing your conscious awareness to your entire body, you can increase your health and vitality.

The explanation of this Practice is rather lengthy, but once you get the hang of it you’ll soon understand the process is quite simple and easy to perform.

Keep in mind that once you get comfortable with this Practice, you do not have to follow all of the instructions in a linear fashion.

The best thing to do once you have the basic idea, is simply go with the flow of what you remember and feel, and then reread the instructions from time to time.

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1. Start by lying down

(Laying down for this Practice is not a “must”, but we find that initially it tends to help people get the best feel for what’s going on.)

If you do lay down as suggested, better to lay on the floor, rather than a bed or couch, IF you have a floor you can be comfortable on. The idea is to get comfortable, but not to the point of going to sleep. If you do wind up drifting off to sleep, no worries.

Just do the Practice again in the near future, with the intent of staying awake.

2. Take a minute to slow down and quiet your thinking mind.

For at least three full cycles breath, breathing in and out through your nose, in a slow, full manner….

Breathe so that you can hear the air passing through your nose on both the inhale and exhale….

As you inhale, feel the air coming in through your nose, and filling up your stomach area. As you exhale, feel the breath exiting through your nostrils.

Please like this now over the course of the next sixty seconds or so….

Thoughts will likely continue to come, but simply let them go by, as if your thoughts are floating by you down a river.

3. Remaining calm…. notice your heartbeat….

You might simply be able to feel your heartbeat pulsing in you, or you might need to feel your pulse by either placing your hand on your heart; placing your fingers on your carotid artery (if you know where it is); or placing your fingers along either wrist. (Use any fingers other than your thumbs.)

Take one full minute to feel your heartbeat while lying quietly and breathing.

4. Now, let go of all that you have been doing and begin to become aware of your abdomen….

Use your hand to feel the area of your belly button. Pat yourself a bit, rub yourself a bit, lightly scratch your belly some, and then put your hand back down by your side, while continuing to be aware of and feel your abdomen….

5. Now, you’re to imagine that all of your breath enters and exits your body through your navel, much like it did when you were inside your mother’s stomach….

As you breathe in and out through your nose, imagine you’re a baby in your mother’s womb and your breath is entering and exiting through your navel….

As you breath in through your navel your stomach area expands…. As you exhale out through your navel, your stomach area gets smaller….

Imagine and feel as you can, how the breath radiates from your navel, and travels throughout your entire body….

Let your belly be free so that it can enjoy increasing and decreasing in size, giving and receiving….

6. Now, breathe in through your navel, down through your left leg, and out your left foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your left foot and moving it out through your navel….

Once again, breathe in through your navel, down through your left leg, and out your left foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your left foot and moving it out through your navel….

7. Now breathe in through your navel and then down through your right leg, and out your right foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your right foot and moving it out through your navel…..

Once again, breathe in through your navel and then down through your right leg, and out your right foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your right foot and moving it out through your navel…..

8. Now, inhale through your navel, up through your stomach and chest, and into your left shoulder.

Then slowly exhale from your left shoulder back out through your navel.

9. This time inhale through your-stomach-chest-left shoulder, and all the way down your left arm and out the fingers of your left hand.

Then slowly exhale drawing your breath from the fingers of your left hand, up your left arm, and then down and out through your navel….

Once again, inhale through your-stomach-chest-left shoulder, and all the way down your left arm and out the fingers of your left hand.

Then slowly exhale drawing your breath from the fingers of your left hand, up your left arm, and then down and out through your navel….

Feel the cleansing process of your breathing….    Oxygen coming in through your navel on your inhale….    Carbon dioxide exiting out through your navel on your exhale….    Breathing and relaxing….

Oxygen in through the navel, carbon dioxide out through the navel….

10. Now, inhale through your stomach-chest-right shoulder, and all the way down your right arm and out the fingers of your right hand….

Then slowly exhale from the fingers of your right hand, up, the arm, and down and out through your navel….

Once again, inhale through your stomach-chest-right shoulder, and all the way down your right arm and out the fingers of your right hand….

Then slowly exhale from the fingers of your right hand, up, the arm, and down and out through your navel….

Oxygen in….. Carbon dioxide out…. Cleansing your body, soothing your entire self….

Breathe in a deep relaxing manner…. Breathing in the worries of the world, and breathing out serenity and compassion…. Breathing in the worries of the world, and breathing out serenity and compassion….

Breathing in and out through your navel….. Breathing and relaxing…..

11. Now, breathe up through your stomach, chest, and neck, and out  the top of your head….

Then exhale from the top of your head, down your torso, and out through your navel….

Again, up through your stomach, chest, and neck, and out the top of your head….

Then exhale from the top of your head, down your torso, and out through your navel….

12. This time breathe as you like, while feeling your facial muscles, your eyes, your forehead, and your scalp….

Then exhale from your scalp, face, and head, out through your navel….

Imagine that you’re rinsing out an open ended container, running the water from the bottom to the top, and from the top to the bottom.

Until such time that everything is nice and clean….

Cleaning and purifying your container….

13. As you inhale and exhale freely, feel how the temperature of your body varies some from place to place on and in your body….

Notice how your breath moves your body…. And how various parts of your body have tiny movements that seem to take place “on their own” without any conscious direction on your part….

Also notice your surroundings as you breathe…. The lighting…. different objects in the room…. the temperature in the room…. the movement of air…. the sounds in the local environment…..

Now, if you haven’t done so already, close your eyes…. and simply feel yourself all over, with your breath emanating from your navel….

In and out…. In and out….

Breathe like this for at least one minute.

14. Now, let go of everything you’ve been doing, and feel your heartbeat again.

Maintain a general sense of breathing in and out through your navel, as you also feel your heartbeat.

Breathe like this for at least two minutes.

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