Meditation is a holistic discipline by which the practitioner attempts to get beyond the reflexive, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. Meditation is a component of many religions, and has been practiced since antiquity. It is also practiced outside religious traditions in the manner of certain breathing exercises. Goals are higher states of consciousness, compassion and loving-kindness, to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.”

The above was taken from the Wikipedia definition of meditation only I added “breathing exercises” and I have to say the team has done a wonderful job in clarifying one of the most important activities, concepts, processes in all of mankind.

What I believe is missing is the importance that breathing can play in the meditation process. Many like to say that energy follows thought but this is not always true. There are many natural reflexes and critical energy pathways in the body that never reach the brain or thinking process. Body-workers know much of this.  There are others that work much better when the thoughts are laid to rest or we become adept at allowing them to occur without reacting to or with them.  Excessive stress (or distress) is often wanting us to tighten and hold on to energy that often is best left behind or allowed to move through and resolve itself. Letting go needs to become a developable art form. Spiritual principles may want to guide our actions but the way we are breathing is often at the root of our being and doing.

Because the breathing patterns can greatly stimulate the central and autonomic nervous systems into contraction or expansion, enervation, sensing, feeling or numbness and cellular non activity, it becomes relevant to learn to manage them in ways that fit our individual and common goals and purposes. To best manage something it is helpful to be able to measure it.
With proper breathing based meditation, the conscious and eventually unconscious or habituated mind directs the breathing and then the breathing softens and loosens the mind’s connection with the body or as some like to say the body mind and spirit. The key is to know how and what to do with the breathing. That is what I have been working with for many years and what I endeavor to teach in what one can be categorized as breathing meditations.

I have for over 35 years studied, experienced, developed, adapted and in some instances copied breathing exercises that energize; that calm; that energize and calm; that simultaneously strengthen focusing and relaxing, even during life threatening situations; that inhibit overreaction to the negative, that foster body awareness, that invite deep peace within; that help resolve trauma and negative emotions; that invite peace, joy, bliss and open one’s heart to love and forgiveness. All this is possible with simple but certain and profound breathing exercises.  Our challenge is to want them to work and apply them properly and then let their natural tendency towards healthy balanced habituation guide our spontaneous responses and eventually teach us as Hakuin used to say that “meditation in movement is a billion times superior to meditation in stillness”. The secret is often in the way we breathe. The obstacles are often in the way we think about the way we breathe. For several dependable breathing based meditations click here