Monday, 21 May 2012

The 6 Healing Breaths - #4

Circle your arms to the sides

he fourth breath in the 6 Healing Breaths series moves us into the direction of West.

When I first started reading the T’ang Poetry of China, I noticed that some of poems that dealt with leave taking and longing focused on a westerly direction. The poet would stand at the western gate of a town and imagine a loved one traveling through the world. This breath helps to release that form of sadness - without losing one's humanity.

The sound associated with the fourth breath is sss. This breath connects with the lungs and large intestine. The time of day is evening, the time of life old age. Shadows are becoming longer. Night will soon arrive.

If we follow the cycle of negative emotions that we tried to interrupt and change with the first breath, the shuu breath, we found that that anger of old had hardened into hatred which then eroded into worry and anxiety. And now, if unchecked, worry and anxiety will crumble into sadness and depression.

The sss breath draws the positive emotion of courage from the environment and literally empties the lungs of sadness and depression.

Hold hands in front of you while exhaling

Here’s how it’s done -

1.  Please turn into the direction of West. Your back should be straight but relaxed. Allow your tailbone to sink ever so slightly and then curve slightly forward. The shoulders should be relaxed and the chin pointed slightly downward in order to align the back of the neck with the rest of the spine. Your top of your head should feel as though its suspended from the ceiling by a string. The hips should feel open, so that they can act as a conduit between your torso and your legs.

2.  Circle your hands slowly out to the sides. Inhale slowly through the nose while doing this.

3.  Continue the circle out in front of you then hold your arms in a rounded position as though holding a big beach ball. Palms face inward. Lightly clench your teeth together. Very slowly, breathe out between your teeth making the sound sss.


4.  Once both breath and sound have reached their end, open out your arms and inhale once again. Repeat the cycle of opening your arms and circling out in front. Exhale and make the sound sss every time your hands pause to hold the imaginary beach ball.

5.  Remain in your spot facing West. Repeat this breath cycle either in groups of 3, 6, 12, 18, 36…and so on, even up to 108 times if you wish! (Most people perform about 6 to 12 repetitions).

The following are some additional points to consider -

DIRECTION – West. The shadows are long. Night is coming. 

ELEMENT – the Chinese 5 Element Theory, the interaction of the elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water which is central to all types of traditional medicine such as acupuncture as well as feng shui, philosophy, military strategy, martial arts, etc. The element of the sss breath is metal.

YIN ORGAN – the lungs. The lungs are associated with the metal element. The sound sss massages the lungs.

YANG ORGAN – the large intestine. Also associated with metal.  The sound sss massages the large intestine.

The poet Li Bai



NEGATIVE EMOTION – sadness and depression.

COLOUR – white.

TIME – evening, fall.

ENERGY – energy starts to contract,preparing for winter.

ANIMAL – white tiger.

The sss breath helps with the following – the respiratory system; eliminates carbon dioxide; adds oxygen to blood; helps elimination through the large intestine.

There are 2 more posts to go in this series. After that, I’d like to share the amazing inter-relationship between martial arts, Chi Kung, the 5 Element Theory…thousands of years of practise and exploration!

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