The Inner Adventure that can change your Life
Life is a great energy and gives us a great opportunity: live the fire of life and you will transcend all boundaries of the body and the mind and will find ultimate ecstasy. The wind that keeps this fire alive is our breath. We call it the diamond of breath because it offers so many facets to enrich and enlighten our life. My vision of a healthy life is: 40 years of running for excitement, 40 years of walking for relaxation and 40 years of sitting for silence until disappearing. To become 120 years old or more will soon become normal. For this to happen there are certain factors, which will have to be taken care of: food, exercise, sex, emotional balancing, opening the heart, creativity and meditation. Last but not least in the centre of all stands the breath like a bridge between all the dimensions of our life.
The way you breathe is the way you live. The way you live is the way you breathe. Deep breathing keeps you healthy and shallow breathing has you walking on the permanent edge to dis-ease. To support your deep breathing you can choose either a more Tantric and spontaneous approach or a more Yogic and disciplined approach. However, in the centre of your opening to a deeper breath you will need to work on your diaphragm.
The soul of healthy breathing
The ancient Greeks localized the seat of the soul in the middle of our body around the height of the diaphragm. Even if we don’t agree, at least we have to acknowledge that the diaphragm is the most important breath-supporting muscle complex. As such it is the key to our breathing and it strongly influences all our important life-supporting processes.
The diaphragm reaches across the middle of our body, at the point where the chest and the belly meet. It is fixed on the lower part of the chest bone, the lower rib cage, the spine and close to the back and belly muscles, thus it separates the upper and the lower body. It is not only an organ for breathing but it also connects and integrates the two worlds around the belly and the chest – physiologically, psychologically and energetically.
The diaphragm works in the middle of our body -- moving up with the exhalation and down with the inhalation. In a relaxed state inhalation and exhalation are in good balance. The smooth, rhythmical contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm and other related muscles allows the breath to move like a gentle wave through our body and may give us an oceanic feeling of life.
There are many movements in nature, which remind me of how the diaphragm works. Often I find myself gazing at large birds flying with ease high in the sky and I enjoy seeing trees waving in the wind or the play of a leaf being carried away by a strong breeze. All these make me breathe.
Once I was scuba diving in the Mexican Caribbean and was lucky to see a stingray – a big flat fish – gliding with its huge wings over the ocean floor. I was amazed at what a beautiful feeling its harmonious movements could trigger in my body merely by watching it! It was that day that I realized the language of a relaxed diaphragm.
Health and rejuvenation through inner massage
One of the most forgotten miracles of our body is its ability to massage, cleanse and heal itself by natural breathing. Through the rising and falling movement of the diaphragm each breath massages all areas and organs of our body. This massage eliminates waste material, supports the blood flow, relaxes tensions and keeps us open and energetic, thus allowing good blood circulation and oxygen saturation on the level of microcirculation in all body tissues.
From Chinese medicine it is known that body or organ tensions are often related to unresolved physical and psychological stress. It is interesting that in the diaphragm the physical and the psychological meet in a biological structure. It combines two different muscular systems, one we can consciously use to activate our breathing and release stress, the other working unconsciously and autonomously, which means that it breathes and releases stress without us even being aware of it.
Psychologically speaking, the diaphragm and our breathing are a meeting point of our conscious and unconscious. That is why the massage like movement of the diaphragm supports our physiological as much as our psychological wellbeing and prevents us from developing dis-ease.
In our chest the movement of the breath wave caused by the diaphragm massages the lungs, the heart and the thymus gland, which is important for the strengthening of our immune system. It is also vibrating into the neck, the head and the arms. That’s why healthy breathing and a flexible body structure are essential especially for preventing heart and related vascular dis-ease. The wave of breathing reaches the heart from the outside, where its life-supporting vessels are located, and keeps them open and young. This allows the blood to nourish and energize the heart muscle.
One important psychological risk factor for heart attack is often overlooked; it is hidden animosity. This means nothing more than blocked emotions, especially repressed anger. Blocking emotions is only possible by blocking the movement of our breathing, we contract our chest, tighten our belly and hold our breath. The wave of breathing can’t unfold to give the heart and its vessels a deep cleansing massage and with time they may close and threaten our life.
The effect of the diaphragm’s breath massage on other organs is similar. For example, breath massage keeps the solar plexus, the sun center of our nervous system, relaxed and “shining.” We experience it as a feeling of physical and psychological warmth, which protects us from the dark night of depression. Imagine the solar plexus is like the inner sun of our inner body’s universe, whatever lives inside this universe is affected by its warm radiation!
In the belly the wave of breathing supports the digestive organs. Bowl movement supported by deep breathing is good for our digestion, that’s why a little walk after a good meal can greatly help our digestion. Finally, our respiration reaches to the pelvis and massages, cleans and revitalizes our reproductive organs. Therefore, obviously, correct breathing is essential for our sexual health.
The quality of this inner massage depends on the strength and rhythm of our breathing. The better we breathe, the deeper the massage will be, and the better our health will be. In short, with each breath life is massaging us! With each breath life is touching, cleaning and rejuvenating our body. A good touch feels like love for the body, and with each breath we can feel loved by existence, with each breath we can feel that we are part of this beautiful life.
Laughing for health
My first meditation with Osho was the morning laughing meditation. When you wake up and before you open your eyes just start laughing or giggling for three to five minutes. If you have sound sensitive neighbors do it under your blankets. It gives you a beautiful awakening and somehow works into a the whole day by giving you a little endorphin shot – a shot of hormones which make you feeling happy and relax your mind.
Laughing is probably the most holistic exercise you can do because it involves more muscles in its activity than any other exercise. If you like you can repeat it any time during the day. If you want to make it a true resource of deep breathing into health than go for Oshos Mystic Rose Meditation. This meditation combines laughing, crying, watching the breath and celebration is the ultimate rejuvenation therapy. That’s why we make it an important part of our breath training education. (This article includes an except from Devapaths soon to be published little book on the diamond of breath)
Remember, a laugh a day keeps the doctor away!Back » »