The Matrix of Four Forms of Meditative Breath
Breath is the basis of all life. Breath is also the basis of all meditation and meditative movement. Breath is the primary manner in which we all obtain life energy. The other three in metaphysical understanding are water, food and prana or chi. The most important concept to understand about breath and meditative movement is that one moves in coordination with the breath. One moves in and out of postures with the breath and one deepens and lengthens postures in coordination with the breath. Inhalations equate to tension whereas exhalations equate to relaxation and release.
There are four important aspects of meditative breath. It is important to breathe slowly, deeply, steadily and consciously. It’s said most people breathe wrong. Most people breathe either from high, mid or low points. A complete yogi breath is a cyclical movement beginning from low point moving like a wave. Meditative movement leads to proper cyclical, complete breath.
Balanced breathing is utilized most frequently. Balanced breathing means the four parts to one breath cycle are equalized. The inhalations and exhalations are the same length of time to each other and the pause full and pause empty are the same length of time to each other too. For example 8 seconds in, 2 second pause, 8 seconds out, 2 second pause is an example of steady balanced breath. Meditation practitioners from long ago would count the breath not in seconds, but heartbeats.
There are innumerable variations of meditative breath, however in most all meditations awareness of the matrix of meditative breath is a primarily important perception. Some more developed meditation practitioners move beyond focus on the breath, however even masters come back to and start with the breath. For the rest of us focus on the matrix of breath can calm the distracted monkey mind that swings from vine to vine, thought to thought. Trouble in meditation equates to, in general having a full mind, perceiving the breath allows one to be alternatively mindful so as to begin and develop meditation.
Balanced breath is beneficial to balancing one’s energy, often all we need. As one masters balanced breath one can implement new patterns to enhance energy movement in four basic patterns beyond balanced breathing similar conceptually to the depiction of the Yin Yang mandala. Unlike balanced breath these forms build and release energy in specific ways. There is the enhancement and lengthening of the pause full, in/pause/out patter for building Yin energy. There is the enhancement of pause empty, in/out/pause for Yang energy. Then a pause is inserted midway between either the inhale or exhale for energy movement, in/pause/in/out for Yin and lastly in/out/pause/out for Yang.
Meditation is mindfulness – the fullness of mind of the present. Whether distracted or focused, whether in still or moving meditation or in daily life, simply being mindful of the breath can connect mind and body. It is especially important to simply realize the four parts to every breath cycle and the four aspects of meditative breath.
Author: Ethan Indigo Smith / Wake up World