Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 26th. 2013 ...
So You Think You've Found a Teacher...
Casting The Wiccan Circle
Raising Personal Magickal Energy for Spellwork
Learning To Live Your Own Life
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 14584
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 672
Times Read: 1,892
RSS Views: 68,219
Author: Ryan Hatcher
Posted: July 24th. 2011
Times Viewed: 1,892
Every day we breathe, we take thousands of breaths in our lifetime without thinking. Breath has played an important part in many of the mystery traditions of the world as well as in many Eastern martial arts, from the pranayama techniques of India, to the tan t'ien breathing of Qi Gong and the meditation techniques of Buddhism, breath has been the pivotal focus of many self-development techniques.
In some Asian cultures it was once believed that each human being had a limited number of breaths in their body, and the day of their last breath would be the day they died. So slower, deeper breathing was encouraged to reduce the number of breaths used and potentially prolong life. Asian cultures (China, Korea and Japan etc) held the idea that the breath and the life force energy (Qi or Ki) were inherently entwined and that as one inhaled one drew into themselves the life force energy (incidentally, the word Qi/Ki can be translated to mean 'breath' as well as 'life force energy') . This belief is also held in some schools of yoga where the technique called pranayama, meaning to extend the life force energy or breath, is practiced (coming from the Sanskrit words 'Prana' meaning life force energy or breath and 'ayama' meaning to draw out or extend ) . Both Indian and Asian cultures have used breath control in their spiritual practices, to calm the mind and body, enhance the soul and prolong their life.
There is an adaptation of a breathing technique from Qi Gong, which I wish to focus on; it was practiced in Japan and features in Reiki. The point of the technique is to encourage diaphragm breathing to be able to draw in more air, and therefore Qi/Ki, gathering and focusing it in the tan t'ien (also called the tanden, seika tanden and hara in Japan) , thereby increasing one's store of energy allowing for greater health and flow of Ki.
This technique, known in Japanese as joshin kokyu ho (mind focusing breath method) or hikari no kokyu ho (breath of light method) is actually relatively simple and is also a mediation technique.
To begin, sit or stand comfortably, wearing loose clothing and with a straight back. Close your eyes and allow yourself to relax. If you would like to follow the Qi Gong method then place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth against your teeth. This is intended to prevent Qi/Ki leaving the body via exhalation. Place your hands on your lap, usually palms up but in whatever way is comfortable. Now, focus on the tanden/Tan t'ien. This is the point about 2 finger widths below the navel (corresponding with the rough location of the sacral chakra featured in some schools of yoga) , and is believed to be the centre of gravity for the human body, linking the body to the earth.
Focusing on this point, breath deep, using your diaphragm (you stomach should move instead of your lungs. You can place your hands on your belly to feel this if it helps) . As you inhale draw Qi/Ki in on the breath, and allow it to flow down into the tanden (through intention and visualization) . Allow yourself to hold the breath for a couple of seconds, still focusing on the tanden, allow the Qi/Ki to swirl and grow around this energy centre. As you exhale allow the energy to expand from the tanden, filling your body, seeping out through your skin and into the area around you.
Repeat this breathing method for about 5-10 minutes, or longer if you wish. It is believed that the tanden is the store of all our body's Qi/Ki from birth, and that this technique allows for an expansion of that energy and the amount we can store within ourselves. (As a note, I find the most effective breath pattern is inhale for 4 beats, hold for 2, exhale for 5 beats, hold for 2. 4-2-5-2) .
Now, how does this relate to western Paganism and Witchcraft? Well firstly, since the life force energy is the same as the energy used in magic, if we can increase the amount that is stored and flows into our bodies then surely more can be drawn upon and directed in our spell work? The energy drawn into and stored in the tanden can also be drawn upon to be used on the exhale. In Reiki this is used as a healing method (which you could try out if you wished) , but it could be used to empower objects with energy by blowing it into them; giving them the 'breath of life' so to speak, potentially useful when working with poppets!
The principal of this is virtually the same as the breathing technique, but almost in reverse; you breath the energy in the tanden, draw some more from it if you wish, then direct this energy, moulded with your intended purpose onto the out breath (which should be slow and gradual) and the into the object you wish to cleanse, empower or heal. And all that aside it's actually a nice, simple and effective meditation technique that can improve visualization abilities, mental focus, and awareness of energy, all good things really.
We take thousands of breaths in our lifetime without thinking, but perhaps we should spend some time breathing consciously and being aware of our bodies. This way we can improve ourselves, not just physically through breath control and increased oxygen levels, but mentally through relaxed focus and visualization and energetically by increasing the levels of life force energy we have within us and improving our sensitivity to it.
Give the techniques mentioned here a try next time you're meditating or working in circle and see how it works for you. And as a personal side note, while performing this technique I often find it causes a greater energy flow to my hands, characterized as a strong tingling and warmth, so healers should definitely try this and perform it while healing as it will definitely give your work a boost!
Thank you again for reading yet another of my articles.
The Reiki sourcebook - Frans and Bronwen Stiene
The Japanese art of Reiki - Frans and Bronwen Stiene
Essential Reiki - Diane Stein
Location: Swaffham, England
Author's Profile: To learn more about Ryan Hatcher - Click HERE
Other Articles: Ryan Hatcher has posted 9 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Ryan Hatcher... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2013 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).