The steady rhythm of your breath represents the continuous flow of life, a continuous exchange of giving and receiving. Inhalation represents tension or action and exhalation represents relaxation, letting go and a consciousness where nothing needs to be done. If the rhythm is not kept a problem might occur. The secret to all harmony is balance. As you consciously become aware of your breathing you allow balance and inner peace to enter your life.
In Holistic Medicine we view two organ systems, the skin and the respiratory system, relating to issues concerning relationships, contact, and Ego (a person’s own will). The alveoli of the lungs have a surface of approximately 230 square feet, in contrast to the skin, which has a surface of around 6.5 feet. The skin forms a border from the outside world and it is up to a person’s will if they want contact or not. But the contact of the lungs is indirect and not under control of the will. We always have to breathe and we breathe the same air with others. This can create conflict if we either breathe the same air with people we don’t like or don’t want to get near to, e.g. in a work environment, an office, or we see nurses (a very giving, nurturing and stressful profession) smoking outside hospitals. Smoking affects the lungs and is another form of distancing and avoiding contact.
The respiratory system also belongs to the Heart Charka, our center for love, self-love and healing. Newest scientific research shows that the heart contains around 40.000 brain-like cells called sensory neurites, which can store information independently from the brain. The electrical field of the heart is a 100 times stronger than the brain’s electrical field and the magnetic field is 5000 times stronger.
Western society emphasizes the brain, as our center for reasoning, thinking and logic. This is the time where you are invited to shift your focus back from your brain to your heart-center in order to regain balance and inner peace.
The Cleansing Breath Meditation:
Breathing exercises will bring relief and healing. We breathe in average 12 to 20 times per minute. I invite you to practice breathing exercises, which then can easily be combined with imagery and visualization.
In the case of the ‘Cleansing Breath’ we will introduce the aspect of light. The meditative journey can also be called the journey to enlightenment, so it makes sense to visualize light.
- Please close your eyes and bring your awareness to deep abdominal breathing. Observe the steady rhythm of your breath, which now begins to slow down.
- Begin to visualize a ball of vibrant warm light, right above your head. The light feels like warm vital sunlight. The presence of the light gives you peace and comfort. As you inhale you now visualize breathing in the warm and vibrant sunlight, coming from source of light above your head. The light streams through your lungs and from there to every cell of your body. You are now entirely filled with beautiful new energy, harmony, radiant health and inner peace.
- As you exhale breathe out everything you would like to release and let go of. Everything that does not serve your highest good any longer; let it go, breathe it out.
- Notice that each time you breathe out and let go, more light enters your body creating harmony, balance and inner peace on all levels.
- Now let your awareness travel to your feet, feel your feet relax, becoming calm and quiet. Radiant light enters every cell. You breathe out everything that does not serve you any longer. Your ankles relax. The light streams into your lower legs, claves, knees and upper legs, bringing deep relaxation, balance and peace. Feel your pelvis relax, then hips, lower abdomen, reproductive organs. Breathe out everything you may have internalized, everything that does not resonate with the light. Each time you breathe out and let go more light enters your being. Enjoy the vibration of radiant health, balance and peace, which now fills every cell. Enjoy to feel your back and spine relax. Breathe out everything you might carry on your back and on your spine. Let it go, be new, set yourself free. It is so easy. Each time you breathe out and let go, more light enters your being. Feel your inner organs relax. Radiant light fills your liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys stomach and intestines. Breathe out all memories and emotions you may have internalized and feel the light and radiant health streaming in. Now send your awareness to your chest. Your heart beats in a perfect and steady rhythm; your lungs inhale and exhale easily. You breathe in the light, you breathe out everything that is on your chest and on your heart. Let go, be new. Release all memories from the past that do not resonate with the light, everything that is on your heart, your center for love, self-love and healing; breathe it out and feel the light, lightness and peace streaming in. Feel your shoulders relax and the light streams to your arms and hands. Enjoy the peace warmth and deep relaxation. Your throat and neck relax and now feel the radiant light streaming into your head, filling your brain, relaxing your face, relaxing your jaws. You breathe in the light, you breathe out everything that is on your mind, all thoughts that do not serve your highest good any longer, everything that does not belong into your head. Let it go once and for all. Every thought that now enters your mind is inspired by the light and creates beauty, harmony, balance, inner peace, radiant health, infinite love and infinite light on all levels.
- The light within you grows, expands and intensifies with every breath you take. Your whole being is filled with light and you are surrounded by light. You are safe and secure in your physical existence. You are whole, balanced and complete. Enjoy the light that shines so bright within you and let it illumine the world, all around you.
- Now enjoy letting your awareness travel to the happiest moments in your life. Beautiful and happy moments where you experienced great joy and happiness. Recall these moments; feel them as if they were happening right now. Feel the smile on your lips, feel the vibration of happiness and joy, which now fills your heart; inspires your soul. You are calm and quite, still sinking into a deeper and deeper relaxation.
As you practice this simple exercise daily you will notice increased inner peace and balance. Always remember that the more you practice the more you will reap the positive benefits. Meditation is exercise for the mind just as physical workout is exercise for the body.
Practicing the cleansing breath for 10 minutes before bedtime improves the quality of your sleep and reduces insomnia. Throughout the first dream cycles at night, the mind processes the events of the day. If you experienced stress, pressure, frustration during the day, it significantly reduces the quality of your sleep. If you are able to consciously let go and release the issues and events of the day before falling asleep you will experience more peace of mind.
Research has shown that by focusing our awareness on different parts of our bodies, these parts show a physiological response, as increased blood circulation. This is a great tool for pain management and to support the healing process.
The visualization of happy memories has been shown to improve the immune system functions and also speeds up patients’ recovery time after surgery. Nowadays, scientific evidence proves the validity of the ancient wisdom, “As you think, so you are.”
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Students who completed Dorit Brauer’s 8-week meditation classes at the Center for Integrative Medicine at UPMC and at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield experienced the following benefits:
- 75% improved sleep
- 74% decreased pain
- 82% improved concentration and energy level
- 92% decreased anxiety
- 100% improved well-being and ability to cope with stress
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