What is Breath Moving?
February 28, 2022
An introduction to the ancient technique of Breath Moving
In breath moving we use our imagination to move our awareness to different parts of the body. This method improves the circulation of energy through the nervous system and improves blood flow.
The ancient roots of breath moving are in China, but forms of it have since been seen many places, from Hawaiian mind-body practices to the practices of Christian Orthodox Hesychast monks around the eleventh century.
The Basic Technique
The idea is that where our attention goes our "energy" flows. So when we move our awareness/attention to a certain point in our body, in some sense our "energy" flows to that point. This energy could be seen as "Chi" or "Prana" from the Eastern traditions, or from a more western point of view, here we can just think of it as the electricity in our nervous system, or the induced electromagnetic field.
"Chi" is the Chinese word for "breath", and in some sense the ancient Chinese must have thought of the breath and the life energy as the same thing, hence the name "Breath Moving".
There are two basic "circuits" where we may try and move our awareness in the body.
1: Top/crown of the head to the base of the spine
2: Top/crown of the head to the bottom of the feet
Moving the Breath in Circuit 1
We can move the breath in circuit one as follows:
As you breathe in, focus your attention on the crown of your head. Focus like you've never focused before, i.e. really, really pay attention to the feeling of the top of your head.
You may feel a tingling sensation in the crown of your head as you do this! If so then that’s great, but don't worry if you don't feel this - it can take a bit of practice.
Now as you breathe out, move your focus to the base of your spine. As your attention moves to the base of your spine you may experience energy flowing through your body to this new position.
And that's it: On the in-breath you focus on the top of your head and on the out-breath you focus on the base of your spine. i.e. you’re moving your Breath/Chi/Energy/Awareness from A to B, and as the energy moves you can ideally feel it flowing through your body.
This feeling of energy flowing through your body can be extremely energising and can also prevent your from falling asleep during a breathing session if you're feeling tired.
This technique is most effective when done during a coherent/heart breathing session.
Moving the Breath in Circuit 2
To move the breath in circuit 2, is similar to circuit 1, except on the out-breath rather than focus attention on the base of the spine, instead we focus our attention on the bottom of the feet.
Both circuits can be done while sitting or lying down, but some people get better results with circuit 2 when lying down.
Benefits of Breath Moving
Breath moving can have the following benefits:
- increase circulation around the body
- boost energy levels
- help to keep the mind focused during heart/coherent breathing