I spent a wonderful day at the Nordik on Wednesday. The snow lightly fell on my head but disappeared before it hit the steam of the hot pools. I practised tummo and other breathing techniques in both the heat and the cold. It was blissful.
With the COVID pandemic breathing became, for me, like Heidegger’s hammer: paid attention to only when broken. Graham Harman’s work is on point here and in a lecture he once talked about how no one misses an object like oxygen or the chair that you are sitting on unless something happens to it. If the chair that you are sitting on disappears, you become aware of it. As working from home set in, I began to focus my attention on my breath and attention on my mind as a healthy mental habit.
As is my routine, I looked to expertise on breathing, reading as much as I could and watching videos and learning sessions. I will blog on this more later but the Netflix series called Headspace was really good! It makes mediation very accessible.
I began to track my meditation sessions in Oak (iOS). My habit is now 188 days in a row that I stacked (more on this later) in order to make it that way. I spend 30-60 minutes a day in both meditation and breathing, finding myself wanting to spend more time than that occupied solely with the present.
Here is a screenshot of my iBook collection of breathing books and a few personal growth “mind mastery” type books. Wim Hof is a popularized form of Tummo breathing but is easily accessible. He has guided breathing sessions that I use often. His cold therapy is challenging but each time I shower, I finish with cold water. It certainly does wake me up!
Learning to breathe properly is the key. Moving away from shallow breathing in the chest and into diaphragmatic breathing. This is a technique that I learned in yoga class decades ago. One easy Buteyko technique to ensure that you learn proper breathing from the start is placing your hands befind your head. Yes, just put your hands behind your head and breathe. Either through your nose or mouth, you will find that it is difficult to breathe the wrong way. As I felt the right way to breathe, into the diaphragm, I recall this while I am breathing during the day to ensure that I am on track. And I am also drinking more water.