Tag Archives: Breathing

Concerning Breath (3rd)

Navy SEALs and oriental monks agree…?

“Most of the workings of our bodies are driven by unconscious intelligence. . .With the breath however we discover something of great importance.  While breathing can well be a completely unconscious process,. . . it  is also possible to consciously control the flow of breath.  This unique quality of the breath—that it can be both conscious and unconscious—makes it a link between the conscious and unconscious aspects of our being.” —Breathing by Michael Sky, pages 21-22

Breathing, something we take for granted, has been the subject of much commentary in past centuries.

Monks / Nuns of various religions have discovered much about conscious breathing which remains, for the present, under-investigated by mainstream Western science.

While digging into this topic, I chanced upon a discussion of “box breathing”—a stress relief technique practiced by United States Navy SEALs.

SEALs ?  That pack of cast iron hard asses relieve stress using a conscious breathing technique that could well have been developed in a Hindu / Buddhist monastery?

SEALs are too strongly results-oriented to pay attention to something that doesn’t work.

For skeptics, that might be an incentive to take the whole topic of conscious breathing seriously.

Click on the link below to read a discussion of “box breathing.”

More on breathing later.

Navy SEALs Use a Technique Called “Box Breathing” to Relieve Stress and So Can You

Concerning Breath (2nd)

Every cell of the human body is, at its core, an atomic reactor of the most exquisite design that is continuously engaged in the conversion of matter into energy and energy into matter.

The material constituents of this dual conversion process are carried to the heart of each cell via physical systems that are well understood by Western science; however, free-flowing universal energy is carried to the heart of each cell as well by a subtle circulatory system that Western science has yet to describe.

Our breath is the…mechanism that drives this subtle circulatory system.

The primary way…humans convert energy into physical form is through the breath.

With every breath we take, we are gathering and transforming the raw material of our bodies and minds.

The degree of consciousness…we bring to our breathing determines the nature of our physical and mental manifestations.

The rate, rhythm, depth, intensity, physical manner, and mental attention of each breath contribute precisely to the movement and embodiment of (subtle) energy within our lives. ” ¹

¹ The text of this post is quoted from Breathing, by Michael Sky, ISBN 0-939680-82-3

Concerning Breath (1st)

” Religions are numberless

sects many

yet all follow only two ways:

one takes you to knowledge

and the other to love.

Reaching the goal

one discovers with surprise

that there is no knowledge

separate from love;

that, truly, love is knowledge

and the secret gate to both is one:

the breath.” °

“It has been known for centuries that it is possible to induce profound changes of consciousness by techniques which involve breathing.

The procedures that have been used for this purpose by ancient and non-western cultures cover a wide range from drastic interferences with breathing to subtle and sophisticated exercises of the various spiritual traditions.

Thus the original form of baptism as it was practiced by the Essenes involved forced submersion of the initiate under water, which typically brought the individual close to death by suffocation.

This drastic procedure induced a convincing experience of death and rebirth, a far cry from its modern form involving sprinkling of water and a verbal formula.

In some other groups, the neophytes were half-choked by smoke, by strangulation, or by compression of the carotid arteries.

Profound changes in consciousness can be induced by both extremes in the breathing rate—hyperventilation and prolonged withholding of breath—or a combination of both.” ¹

“Respiration has a special position among the physiological functions of the body.  It is an autonomous function, but it can be easily influenced by volition.  Increase of the rate and depth of breathing typically loosens psychological defenses and leads to release and emergence of the unconscious (and superconscious) material.” ²

As the foregoing quotations indicate, controlled breathing can work changes in our lives.

For most of us, the first thought in our minds would be, “Who knew?”

No special knowledge is required for what we’d all call “normal breathing.”

It just happens. 

But when we begin to practice controlled breathing, its helps to know some of what our ancient ancestors knew about using such techniques and what results they expected.

More on this later.

° C. M. Chen as quoted by Frederick Leboyer, The Art of Breathing, (London, Element Books, 1979, pg 1

¹ Stanislav Grof, The Adventure of Self-Disccovery, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1988, pg 170

² Grof, The Adventure of Self-Discovery, pg 171