Heal Yourself With Your Breath Adapted from The Miracle of the Breath, by Andy Caponigro (New World Library, 2005).
Simple Solution Here is a powerful and sophisticated meditation technique that will enable you to concentrate your breath energy and direct it to diseased or tension-filled parts of your body with pinpoint accuracy.
The technique is based on an ancient Hindu technique, which the yogis practiced to attain miraculous powers. The same meditative principles can be used to cultivate extraordinary powers of self-healing. Here are the directions to this powerful 10-step self-healing meditation:
The author calls this technique “The Healing Triangle” because it involves three basic elements that are kept in a delicate state of balance at all times. The first element is our consciousness (our mind in meditation); the second is the breath; and the third is the particular symptom of illness we wish to heal.
This is how it is done:
You will need a matched pair of sponge-rubber balls that are a bit smaller and softer than a tennis ball.
1. Sit in a comfortable posture with one rubber ball in each hand, and meditate on your breath for five to ten minutes to establish a good state of meditative consciousness.
2. Next, do enough rounds of gentle rapid breathing to be sure that your breath is open and flowing. Note: Gentle-rapid breathing is to first pant like a dog, having in-breaths and out-breaths well-matched. Next, do the same thing and close your mouth and “pant” through your nostrils instead.
3. Once your breath is moving freely, keep watching your breath and use your consciousness like a radar beam. Slowly scan your body looking for symptoms of distress.
4. As you scan the inside of your body, you might come across any number of symptoms.
5. Work first with the symptom that is calling the loudest for your attention.
6. Without losing track of your breath, focus your attention on the most intense part of the pain or tension, then squeeze your rubber balls firmly enough to match its intensity. This will bring your breathing tensions into synch with the tension. On the very next inhalation, you’ll find yourself breathing directly into the knot.
7. Keep the same steady pressure on the balls to keep the compression of your breath in synch with the tension you feel, and then do about five to ten seconds of gentle rapid breathing directly into the knot. This will weaken the energy blocks surrounding the knot and bring concentrated waves of healing prana directly into the tissues that feel dis-eased. Within seconds, the knot will begin to feel a bit softer and the pain will diminish noticeably.
8. Still watching your breath, allow these change to run their course for a full minute. At the end of this assimilation period, change the pressure on the balls to match the new feelings of pain or tension. Then do another round of gentle rapid breathing.
9. Each time you repeat this cycle, the pain and tension will grow increasingly weak, until the tension finally disappears. As the knot in your stomach begins to fade away, subtler symptoms of distress will begin to reveal their presence.
10. Whatever form these newly emerging disturbances take--feelings of irritation, pressure, burning, or anything else--treat them the same way as you did the original feelings of pain or tension; repeat the process.
The feelings of release and relief will gradually move from one symptom to another, as if playing a slow-motion game of “healing tag.”
There are many ways to reduce tension and relax. Here are the ten stress relievers I believe are most effective for the amount of work and time involved. Some can be learned in the time it takes to read this page, while others take a little more practice, but there's something here for everyone!
Deep breathing is an easy stress reliever that has numerous benefits for the body, including oxygenating the blood, which ‘wakes up’ the brain, relaxing muscles and quieting the mind. Breathing exercises are especially helpful because you can do them anywhere, and they work quickly so you can de-stress in a flash. The Karate Breathing Meditation is a great exercise to start with.
Meditation builds on deep breathing, and takes it a step further. When you meditate, your brain enters an area of functioning that’s similar to sleep, but carries some added benefits you can’t achieve as well in any other state, including the release of certain hormones that promote health. Also, the mental focus on nothingness keeps your mind from working overtime and increasing your stress level.
It takes slightly more time to practice guided imagery, but this is a great way to leave your stress behind for a while and relax your body. Some find it easier to practice than meditation, as lots of us find it more doable to focus on ‘something’ than on ‘nothing’. You can play natural sounds in the background as you practice, to promote a more immersive experience.
Building on guided imagery, you can also imagine yourself achieving goals like becoming healthier and more relaxed, doing well at tasks, and handling conflict in better ways. Also, visualizing yourself doing well on tasks you’re trying to master actually functions like physical practice, so you can improve your performance through visualizations as well!
Self-hypnosis incorporates some of the features of guided imagery and visualizations, with the added benefit of enabling you to communicate directly you’re your subconscious mind to enhance your abilities, more easily give up bad habits, feel less pain, more effectively develop healthier habits, and even find answers to questions that may not be clear to your waking mind! It takes some practice and training, but is well worth it. Learn more about using hypnosis to manage stress in your life.
Your sense of touch is closely linked to your state of mind and is vital to your sense of well-being. In fact, babies who are not touched enough can fail to thrive and even die! Work with this need by getting a massage from a friend or a professional. If neither is available, you can use a self-massager, which will also work great in promoting circulation, releasing tension, and helping you feel more relaxed.
By tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in your body, you can relieve tension and feel much more relaxed in minutes, with no special training or equipment. Start by tensing all the muscles in your face, holding a tight grimace ten seconds, then completely relaxing for ten seconds. Repeat this with your neck, followed by your shoulders, etc. You can do this anywhere, and as you practice, you will find you can relax more quickly and easily, reducing tension as quickly as it starts!
You probably already know that sex is a great tension reliever, but have you officially thought of it as a stress-relieving practice? Perhaps you should. The physical benefits of sex are numerous, and most of them work very well toward relieving stress. Sadly, many people have less sex when their stress levels are high. Learn how to avoid this trap!
Music therapy has shown numerous health benefits for people with conditions ranging from mild (like stress) to severe (like cancer). When dealing with stress, the right music can actually lower your blood pressure, relax your body and calm your mind. Here are some suggestions of different types of music to listen to for effective stress management.
Yoga is one of the oldest self-improvement practices around, dating back over 5 thousand years! It combines the practices of several other stress management techniques such as breathing, meditation, imagery and movement, giving you a lot of benefit for the amount of time and energy required. Learn more about how to manage stress with yoga.