Whole body breathing meditation

If you Google this you’ll find a few variations. It doesn’t seem to have one consistent meaning or practice. Here are a couple of versions that I like and find helpful.

Kim Eng Method

This method combines an element of Qigong with mindfulness. I think if you have trouble with traditional meditation, the body involvement could be helpful.

The basic instructions are as follows:

  • Sit or stand with your palms in front of you, facing each other but not touching
  • Feet approx hip width apart
  • Breathe as you would in meditation – slow inhalations and exhalations, following the breath
  • As you inhale, move your palms away from each other
  • As you exhale, move your palms toward each other
  • You should feel the chi between them
  • Imagine breathing through every cell and pore in your body

Rick Hanson Method

Rick Hanson, PHD and psychologist studies and writes about the brain and its relation to happiness, mindfulness etc.

He explains why this kind of breathing practice helps – it activates and stimulates lateral networks in the brain which give you more of a sense of the whole and less of a sense of self.

Here are a couple of audio-only versions of the practice:

The general guidelines are as follows:

  • Be aware of the sensations of breathing in your chest as a whole
  • Imagine receiving the breath
  • Expand your awareness of the breathing sensations to larger parts of the body
  • Include the diaphragm along with the chest
  • Include the lungs
  • Include the belly
  • Include the back
  • Include all sensations of the torso while breathing, together at once as a unified experience
  • Include the throat
  • Include the nose, lips, face
  • Include the neck and head, shoulders and arms
  • Include the hips, lower back
  • Include the legs
  • Be aware of the body as a whole, breathing

You may notice that the sense of self falls away but you recognize that you continue going on being a person.

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