Take a deep breath…exhale slowly


My Lake Chabot hike photo by Dafina Kuficha

These days are filled with fascinating natural occurrences. Arizona has experienced its second major dust storm in a month. Over 241 tornados touched down in Alabama and the midwest, leaving uncountable and in some cases, insurmountable, damages, including loss of life and property. The news is not reassuring but actually serves to keep fear at the forefront of our lives. Stress plays an all too major role in our everyday lives and many of us need a way to handle it effectively. Well, here’s a 10-20 breathing exercise that may not be able to prevent high blood pressure but it can keep it from rising. Sometimes we just need an easy way to handle our stress and the right type of breathing can be the answer. Your breath can be of great aid to your process or it can hinder your process by keeping you feeling fearful and inflexible. Remember, deep breathing is essential to good health.

Acupuncture also aids you in deepening your breathing practice as it aids the respiratory system in improving its function. Choose to have vibrant  health by taking time to deepen your breathing with the Hara Breathing Exercise Technique and open yourself to practices that improve your health.

HARA BREATHING EXERCISE TECHNIQUE

Hara breathing is done to relieve the body, mind, and spirit of all types of stress.  If you feel weak or overwhelmed, scared or angry, breathing into the hara will ease these feelings.  Breathing into the hara region allows you to contact your reservoir of energy, and then helps you to root it.

Find a place of quiet, peacefulness.  Make sure the clothes you are wearing are loose fitting, especially around your waist.  You may lie down, sit down or stand up to perform this breathing technique.  It may feel more comfortable to either lie down with your knees slightly bent (to take pressure off your lower back), or to sit in the lotus (crossed-legged) position. (Careful of too placing much pressure on sore knees)  Begin with natural breathing, allowing your body, especially your jaws, neck and shoulders, to relax.

Begin by taking three deep, cleansing breaths, inhaling slowly through your nostrils, while expanding your abdomen, and finish by exhaling slowly through your mouth.

Now, inhale slowly through your nostrils to the count of five (“one thousand one” and so on).  Place your tongue at the roof of your mouth.  Feel your inhalation all the way down to your hara, the region located about one inch below your navel.  As you inhale to the count of five, your abdomen should be expanding as your diaphragm is moving downward.  Hold the breath for another five counts.  Exhale by removing your tongue from the roof of your mouth keeping your mouth slightly open.  To the count of five, slowly, quietly exhale like a cool breeze.  If a feather were placed in front of your mouth during the exhalation, it would not be moved, so quiet and calm is the exhaling breath.  Continue this exercise without pause between inhalation and exhalation.  As you become more adept with this breathing exercise, you may wish to hold the breath longer.  Increase the count gradually as you are ready for it.

Practice hara breathing daily for at least ten to twenty minutes in the mornings and evenings. You will immediately notice improvement in your inner feelings and in your overall physical health. Feel free to use this breathing technique when you are facing challenges in your life’s daily activities.  You can do the exercise for a few moments  or for ten to twenty minutes, once a day or twice a day or throughout the day. At the end you’ll feel much calmer and refreshed.  Your choices, options, possibilities and opportunities become clearer when you are calmer. Enjoy deeper breathing and better health.   Ashay!

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Spring Forward (part 2)


"Awakening" photo by D. Kuficha

It has long been written that the world as we know it will be forever altered by 2012. The need for a global consciousness of global respect, love and appreciation for all life cannot be understated.  We have passed the time for only having recognition and concern for our own problems. Yes, the spiritually-disenfranchised of this nation continue to support devastating wars and conflicts around the world. In so doing, the propagation of fear and terrorism is being used to further us away from our goal of global harmony.  Spring is the season of new thought and new ways of looking at old situations.  We are charged with taking evolutionary steps in the direction of inner peace, then world peace.  We have many movements coming forth to allow bring this goal to its fruition. One such goal is A Day of Global Silence.  The first date is07/07/07.  Spread the world and read the article on this website that will tell you how to use silence to create inner and global peace. Please lend yourself to this effort and spread the word for Silence. Shhh…”Be still and know that ye are daughters and sons of the Most High!”

It is through honoring the truth in our spirits, taking care to rest, eat well, speak truth, speak kindness, think high thoughts, and by respecting all life that we are most likely to remain strong, centered, focused, loving, caring, considerate, enthusiastic, helpful, encouraged and encouraging, motivated and motivating, inspired and inspiring. Many of us will suffer through our own or through the sufferings of others. One thing is certain, no matter how difficult, ridiculous, or fearful things may appear, ALL IS IN DIVINE ORDER. Take quiet time to honor yourself, your thoughts, feelings, fears, or confidences and to attune with greater frequency to the Divine Self, whatever you name IT, God, Allah, Jah, Yahweh, Jehovah, Mother Spirit, Infinite Spirit, Wakan Tanka, Holy Breath of All Life, Jesus, Buddha,Krishna, and so on. Remember also to honor the ancestors of ancient or recent past without whose lives yours would not be. The old folks put it aptly, “always remember where you’ve come from.”

QI GONG EXERCISES TO CALM THE INNER SELF: 

In the Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen, the Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, asks Ch’i Po, “How can one achieve a tranquil atmosphere?” She answers, “By avoiding transgressions of the laws of nature.” One of the ways to avoid (too many) transgressions is through proper use of the breath. Perhaps one or all of the following three qi gong exercises will lively up your qi.

HARA BREATHING TECHNIQUE

Two important reasons for performing Hara breathing technique are to relieve the body, mind, and spirit of any type of stress and to circulate and strengthen the body’s qi (vital energy).  If you feel weak, overwhelmed, scared, angry, or just stressed out, breathing into the hara region will ease these feelings.  Breathing into the hara allows you to contact your reservoir of energy, and then helps you root it.  In so doing, you are bringing in the vibration of optimal health to your being.

Find a place of quiet peacefulness. Make sure the clothes you are wearing are loose fitting, especially around your waist.  You may lie down, sit down or stand up to perform this breathing technique. I find it more comfortable to either lie down with knees slightly bent or place a pillow under them to take pressure off the lower back, or sit in lotus (crossed-legged) position. Begin with natural breathing, allowing your body, especially your jaws, neck and shoulders, to relax.

Yoga birds balancing postures photo: D. Kuficha

Take three deep, cleansing breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose, expanding your abdomen, and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Now, slowly inhale through your nose to the count of five (“one thousand one” and so on). Place your tongue at the roof of your mouth. Feel your inhalation all the way down to your hara, the place located about one inch below your navel. As you inhale, your abdomen is expanding and your diaphragm moves down in a full breath. Hold the breath for another five counts. While exhaling, remove your tongue from the roof of the mouth, and slightly open it. To the count of five, slowly and quietly exhale through your mouth likening the breath to a cool breeze. NOTE: If a feather were to be placed in front of your mouth during exhalation, it would not be moved, so quiet and calm is the breath of the exhalation. Breathe continuously without pause between inhalation and exhalation.

Practice this technique daily for at least ten to twenty minutes in the morning and evening.  You will soon notice improvement in your inner feelings and in your overall physical health.

Copyright 1996 Dafina Kuficha, L.Ac.

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