At the core of Eastern practices (Buddhist meditation and yoga) and Taoist healing arts is breathing. Proper breathing techniques are important factors for success in tennis, football, swimming, running and other Western athletic sports.
Whole-body breathing can increase your body consciousness, enhance your health, and help make you feel more alive, benefits that significantly improve your quality of life.
How Whole-body Breathing is Performed
You start by completely bringing your breathing processes to its highest capacity. Breathing from sides of your body and stomach engage your spleen and liver. Breathing from the stomach also stimulates your diaphragm. Your goal is to get your breath to move everything below the stomach muscles, including your intestines and all organs, muscles and tissues connected to the digestive system.
Breathing in this manner not only increases oxygen to the blood but also gives all your internal organs a stimulating massage. Oxygen equates to life and medical research has revealed that cancer cells die when they are subjected to highly oxygenated environments.
Basically, whole-body breathing leads to an opening up of your lungs. This will bear healthy pressure to your heart by stimulating the muscles that surround the heart. Whole-body breathing helps the breath in your stomach to travel all the way up to your brain, supplying your brain with more energy; however, your glands must first be activated for this to occur.
Going Beyond the Physical Body
The technique of whole-body breathing reaches far deeper than merely the physical body. The sage respiring from his heels states that if one breathes in and out of the feet, in that process, he will experience a feeling that his breath goes from the feet and throughout the entire body to the top of the head and out the fingertips.
This implies that if one breathes from his heels, he’ll draw in the energy of the earth. This earth chi can be utilized to open up the meridians or energy pathways of your body. Hence, breathing not only benefits your physical body, but also activates your non-physical and etheric body. This technique has been pragmatically practiced by Taoists for thousands of years and is not meant to merely generate a positive visualization.
There is a Taoist saying that goes like this: One can visualize himself talking and walking like a duck, but unless he can lay an egg and feed a starving individual, he is not a duck! Visualizations can be useful for certain occasions, but actually stimulating the flow of energy is an entirely different story. Breathing from the heels was not only performed by Taoists, they also taught people how to do it.
In Western societies, breathing techniques has been shown to be directly connected to significant relief of stress and an improved sense of well-being, but those are only a few of the benefits of these practices.
Opening Your Body Meridians
The Taoist proverb, “A wise man breathes from his heels,” implies causing the opening up of all the energy pathways of the body. When you inhale from your nose, it is suggested to feel the breath in your whole body. This boosts and activates the flow of blood, which is vital in the transport of oxygen and essential nutrients and the elimination of waste material from the cells in your body. These are some of the incredible health benefits of Whole-body breathing and they won’t come about through mere breathing into the chest and upper lungs.
The truth is, real whole-body breathing technique begins in the stomach, then proceeds up to the upper body, and then goes all way to the finger tips and bottom of the feet.
If you are serious about your health and/or an avid practitioner of meditation, yoga, hsing-I, tai chi, bagua, or qigong, breathing is at the heart of each of these practices.
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