‘Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; end the man became a living being’ (Gen 2:7).
Our very first act in coming into the world is to draw life-given oxygen into our lungs. Many years later, when we depart our bodies, the final act is to release our last breath. Our general well-being — in the long years between — is directly and fully affected by the quality of our breathing. We speak here not only of physical well-being, but also the quality of our mental, emotional, and even our spiritual lives. In sum, when the bodies are weak, our spiritual development is limited.
Proper breathing was fundamental for Daskalos, for poor breathing leads to inadequate oxygen intake, which makes the blood weak, which deprives the organs and the limbs of much needed vitality. Good breathing leads to strong nervous and immune systems, and gives power to meditation, concentration and general self-direction.
Conscious breathing, two or three times daily, can gradually replace compromised breathing, and enrich your body with stores of etheric vitality, restoring health and fending off illness. Ten minutes sessions of conscious breathing — one upon waking, another at midday, and one in the evening — can foster a revolution in your quality of life. Here is a variation of an exercise that the mystic — and master breather! — Daskalos taught:
Sit or stand comfortably with the spine upright. Allow all the muscles in your body to relax. There is no stress in your body... you are taking time out to breath fully and consciously for ten minutes: permit the thoughts to arise and allow them fade away, but be aware that they will become fewer as you continue…
Bring your conscious awareness into your legs… and feel your feet and legs completely relaxed. Expand your awareness to include the pelvic area and the hips… slowly bring your attention into your belly and abdomen…. and relax all the muscle in your chest. Any pressure, fear, or sadness will be released from the lungs and heart. Observe how your breathing begins to slow down and goes ever deeper into the body. Allow your shoulders to let go of any weight they carry… the hands and the arms are also allowed to relax… and check to see that the jaw hangs freely without stress… lastly we let all the muscles around the eyes and in the head to let go of all tension….
Through your nostrils draw in a single breath divided into four measures… followed by an exhalation marked by four counts. The four measures will align themselves with your heartbeat over time (but no need to concentrate on that at the beginning). In inbreathing, visualize, and feel, how with the first measure the oxygen drops into your upper chest, the second it descends further down into the torso, the third brings it down into the solar plexus, and the final delivers life into your hara and root chakras.
Without a pause, release the breath through your mouth by reversing the sequence….
Practice that a few minutes…
After a while, with your eyes closed, continue the four-four breathing, but visualize the incoming oxygen as pure white light. White light is a carrier of etheric vitality as a very powerful vibration. See the oxygen filling your torso, but see it spread into all parts of your body... the arms and the legs ... into the head ... filling the entire etheric double with bountiful life.
Continue this patterned breathing for few more minutes.
If you like to work with sacred numbers you are welcomed to preform conscious breathing 7 times, or 9, or 14 or 21 times (e.g. number of individual inhalations, followed by exhalations). Wish good health to your bodies, and slowly return to your surroundings.
We are born with a natural ability to breath well, but by the time we emerge out of adolescence, many of us — for many reasons — breathe less fully, and our well-being is endangered. Gradually restoring full breathing is only a matter of sincere and regular practice. This is also an important exercise for those who like to heal.
Note, as well, that physical exercise (walking, running, swimming and the kind) bring breathing into a rhythm, and deepens the breath. Thai Chi, Qi Gong, forms of yogas, and other body-oriented practices also promote deep and pattered breathing. Regular and extended movement of the body is a great source of etheric vitality, a sound foundation for good health and longevity.
© Paul Skorpen 2000-2018