The breathing meditation is a special form of meditation where not a mantra or a term dominates but the rythm of the breath. This kind of meditation is nowadays also clinicaly applicated and also in the wellness area, in Ayurveda and in various esoteric groups.
Different types of breathing meditation have to be distinguished.
- Observation of the breath without manipulation
- Complete breath: i.e. not only shallow breath in the chest but deep into the belly. Inhalation fills first the lower and then the upper part of the abdomen, and finally the chest. When exhaling sinks first the chest and then the upper and then the lower abdomen.
- Concentration on the breath (buddh. 'Anapanasati'), optionally together with a concomitant mantra.
- Control of the breath with the help of a mantra.
== Zazen - breathing meditation ==
In the Soto
-Scool of Zen is Susokukan(PDF
), a breath counting meditation, more an exercise for beginners; later is Zuisokukan practiced (PDF
), 'follow the breath', so just to be mindful, and finally one shall come to Shikantaza
, the 'exclusive maintaining of the activity of sitting'.
EEG-measurements show (PDF
) that it is not a 'mere-off' but an 'extremely intense attention', which is directed at anything specific.
== Chinese breathing meditation ==
Chapter 10 of the Tao-Te-Ching says mutatis mutandis : "Condense your life-breath and reach receptivity - return to the newborn."
The Tao breathing scool concentrates the breath into different areas inside the body. With the Tao breathing is a resolution of inner blocks connected, so to clean the path of Qi
- Tao - breating.
Even the Taipingjing (Classic of the highest peace, universal harmony) contains information on meditation and herbal medicine and various breathing exercises.
The methods of healing breath come in many cases from oral family traditions. In the respiratory therapy institutes they are controlled by with the breating exercises versed doctors, who can properly advise on difficulties.
In the focus is the relaxation and silence(Sung-ching Wuei Chu). Relaxation means here a relaxation of the entire body, becoming quiet as a calming of the mind.
The second principle is the linking of thr breath with the attention(I-ch'i Ho-i).
The beginning is always an exercise from the circle of 'inner strength' and the muscles are sequentially relaxed from top to bottom. The patient deepens then the breathing gradually slightly and loose down to the abdominal breathing and breathes through the nose. As help he can think at a certain word like 'S'ung'(rest) or concentrate on points of the body.
There are also combined forms of 'inner preserving exercises'(Nei Kung-yang) as exhalation through the mouth with attention on the head and inhalation through the nose or to think continously with each breath at a word, what is called 'harmony and peace'. [s.a.: 4.14:inner preserving exercises u.a.(doc)]
The third principle is the coordinated interaction of practice and relaxation (Lien-yang Hsiang-chien), which is executed as fixation of attention on the navel.
The breathing exercises are performed upright and lying in various postures. (Stephan Palos: Chinesische Heilkunst, pg. 169-178)
According to traditional teachings is the attention directed by the breathing.
But there are also different types of conscious diaphragmatic breathing.
a. The matching breathing (Shun-hu-hsi-fa) : during inhalation bulges the abdominal wall .
b.The contrasting breathing(Ni-hu-hsi-fa) : by inhalation retracts the abdominal wall.
Here, the inner warmth and the 'tan-tien' point are watched and possibly is finally a white color visualized in the feet.
In addition organ-related syllables such as Ka-o, Chen - Teng, Sh'ang, T'ung, K'o, H'sü, Hu, H'si, Ch'ui are used. More general syllables are S'ung(silence), F'ang(relaxation), Ch'ing(purity) und Ch'iang-Chien(health). Sometimes a circuit to the Tan Tien point is generated.
By Prof. Palos accompanied measurements showed significant changes in the electrical potential between the specific acupuncture points which are relevant in the electro-acupuncture.
( Sr. Palos :Atem und Meditation, pg.140-154 )