Inhale, Exhale – Breathwork

Laurie Teaching Breathwork by Len Buchanan

Laurie Teaching Breathwork by Len Buchanan

The body discharges 70% of its toxins through the breath. If we’re not effectively using the breath, our other systems work overtime to compensate for it. This overwork can set the stage for serious illness.

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health wrote, “If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. From my own experience and from working with patients, I have come to believe that proper breathing is the master key to good health.”

Deep circular breathing—belly breathing—is when we inhale through our nose and exhale through our mouth. However, the ideal breath is not as simple as this. A true cleansing breath is one that directs the breath energy all the way down into the lower belly; about two inches below the navel. This area is known as the lower “Tan Tien,” meaning the stove, furnace, or cauldron.

Follow this inhalation by exhaling waste products up and out through the mouth with a long, slow exhalation. The key to the breath is to have longer exhalations than inhalations. In fact, they should be twice as long. This not only purges toxins, but promotes vital energy, relaxation, and healing.

When we don’t use our breath effectively, our other systems work overtime to compensate for it. This overwork can set the stage for serious illness. You can learn the practice of healthy breathing to increase your energy level, lower blood pressure, increase vitality, enhance mental concentration and the ability to retain information, unleash creativity, improve circulation, overcome anxiety disorders, and relaxation.

One of the most relaxing breathing exercises is four-seven-eight. Notice that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation—enjoy!

Four – Seven – Eight Breath
Inhale through your nose while mentally counting to four.
Hold that breath while mentally counting to seven.
Exhale through your mouth while mentally counting to eight.
Pause briefly without inhaling then start another round; this natural pause is therapeutic and relaxing.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

For more information on Breathwork, please follow this link.


Tonglen by Len Buchanan

Tonglen by Len Buchanan

Tonglen is an active practice of loving-kindness; a breathing meditation of sending and taking. Performed by Tibetan Buddhists and other spiritual traditions, Tonglen is a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing way to care for other people. The heart of this practice is compassion; to breathe in another person’s pain—physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—and breathe out strength, joy, and peace of mind; whatever gives relief.

Tonglen can be done for people individually—a person who is ill, fearful, in sorrow, or in pain. Or it can be done for people collectively—people in a geographic area that has been struck by a natural disaster such as tornado, earthquake, flood, or famine. Tonglen can be done anywhere, anytime. It can be formal like you see me doing in the photograph, or it can be done while you’re driving, or in bed.

When the Dalai Lama was touring the United States, he recommended the practice of Tonglen. He made it very simple. “Tonglen is giving and taking. As you inhale, take on the suffering of others. As you exhale, give out to them all your gifts, virtues, and positive qualities.” He suggests beginning the practice with equalizing, which means, “To realize that each and every sentient being wants happiness and does not want suffering, just like you.” With that in mind, he imagines that this practice actually reduces suffering in the world, but he says that “Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.”