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Chrissie Blaze

Workout for the Soul
October 2002

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Chrissie's Current Column

by Chrissie Blaze

We are very pleased to welcome Chrissie Blaze to SoulfulLiving.com as our newest monthly columnist!  Each month, Chrissie will share one of her Eight Steps to Inner Fitness from her book,
"Workout for the Soul."

Step 3 - Harmonizing with the Breath of Life

Breathing is one of the most fundamental and important steps in our journey to inner fitness. The process of breathing is one of the great miracles of life and without it we die. We enter and leave this world with a gasp of breath; in between life is a continuous series of breaths. When we breathe we live and when we breathe deeply and fully we live deeply and fully.

The yogis and adepts from India knew that by controlling their breath, they controlled their minds. For thousands of years, Taoist Masters taught natural breathing to their students through Chi Kung, Tai Chi and other martial and healing arts. Students of the ancient Chinese art of breath manipulation, Chi Kung, practice disciplined breathing as a way to gain total control over their bodies and minds.

Because breathing is so fundamental, we take it for granted. Concentrating on breathing is like re-learning how to walk; it seems like a waste of time. The most common mistake people make is to breathe too shallowly using only the top portion of the lungs, which means they are breathing too fast. The average rate of breathing is 12-15 times a minute and this is considered to be much faster than it should be. The ancient mystics taught that our life is measured by a number of breaths and that we could extend our life by breathing more slowly.

It is ironic that we spend so much time and money searching for external solutions to our global problems of ill-health and lack of vitality, while we neglect the potential of the greatest source of energy available to us - our breathing. While physical exercise, vitamins and minerals, balanced nutrition, herbal medicine, etc., are important to achieve and maintain good health, the starting point for us all is correct breathing habits. After all, breathing is something we have to do anyway – let’s do it correctly! Correct breathing brings us so many wonderful benefits, including enhanced mental strength, clearer sight, more dynamism, less fear and anxiety, exercise of our internal organs as well as better health and vitality through an improved immune system.

The mind is by its nature unsteady and it is affected by our senses: by what we see, hear, feel, etc., at every minute of every day. When we concentrate our minds we find our breathing automatically becomes deeper and slower. When we have bad news that causes us to be sad or angry, our breathing becomes irregular, the opposite of the slow, smooth flow of the breath when the mind is calm. This proves that our mind and breath are interdependent and are each unable to act independently of each other. Correct breathing gives us physiological and psychological balance.

We also intuitively acknowledge the relationship between mind and energy. We know that when we have lots of physical vitality, we also have greater clarity of mind. When we feel tired and fatigued physically our minds usually follow suit and we feel we have "no mental energy." As it is true that our breathing affects our body and mind, then it follows that the rhythm and rate of the breathing not only indicates one’s physical condition but helps to create our health and energy level. Breathing, then, is far more than it appears to be.

If you ask most people what is the purpose of breathing, they will say it is to take in oxygen in order to sustain our bodies and minds, or words to that effect. They may also explain that when we breathe too fast, we reduce the level of carbon dioxide in our blood. When this happens, no matter how much oxygen we may breathe in, we will still experience a shortage of oxygen, making us tense.

These are extremely important factors and illustrate why deep, slow and rhythmical breathing is so important. Deep breathing of fresh, clean air fills the bloodstream with oxygenated particles that are pumped by the heart to every extremity of the body, feeding every cell and causing waste toxic matter to be consumed. However, even this is not the most important part of breathing, which is referred to by mystics as the "negative" aspect. The "positive" aspect and most important one is the direct absorption of prana by the nervous and brain systems, without which we could not exist. This is why the yogis and Masters in the East taught correct breathing techniques and these are referred to as pranayama, which is control or mastery (yama) over the energy (prana).

During our regular in and out breathing, we draw in a certain amount of prana. With controlled breathing, or pranayama, we draw in more prana, which is stored in the brain and nerve centers. Our body will then be able to draw upon this storehouse of vitality as and when it is required. Yogis and practitioners of Chi Kung channel the pranas drawn in upon the breath to any part of the body that needs it, revitalizing and charging the area. This is the basis of self-healing.

Mastering the complete breath will take time, effort and patience but it is worth all your efforts. Diligent practice is the key because it will take time for your muscles and nervous system to handle this new technique; persist with it and eventually you will find that deep, rhythmical breathing will become habitual. Deep breathing is the body’s natural rhythm and what our body naturally wants us to do!

The complete breath employs various spaces of the chest and the spaces of our abdomen, back, spine and solar plexus. The three different phases of the complete breath actually form one complete movement. These phases are the diaphragm breath, chest breathing and high breathing. Any one of the three breathing methods fills only a small portion of our lungs. As we learn to use the complete breath, our whole respiratory system comes into play and no portion of the lungs is left unfilled with fresh air and, more importantly, prana.

Prior to beginning the complete breath, spend a few minutes performing rhythmical breathing. Sit in yoga posture, or on a firm chair with your back straight, feet resting on the floor and palms down on the knees. Remain physically relaxed and mentally alert. Inhale through the nostrils to a count comfortable to you. Exhale slowly and gently to the same count. Do this until you feel the rhythm vibrating through your body.

Now start breathing through your nostrils and inhale steadily. Fill the lower, middle and then the high part of your lungs. Retain the breath in the body for a few seconds and exhale slowly. Hold your chest in a firm position and draw your abdomen in a little and lift it slowly upwards as the air leaves. When you have exhaled, relax your chest and abdomen. At the end of each complete breath, your abdomen should be slightly drawn in.

We are conditioned to believe that to stay strong we must exercise our external muscles but ignore the fact that our internal parts also need exercise. The complete breath will do this and so help all our internal functions from digestion to assimilation and elimination. It will revitalize the core of our being; balance, harmonize and ground us as well as feed our nervous system.

The complete breath will also retard and reverse the aging process. As we age, instead of relying on the physical body to lift and move things, we can start to utilize more fully this great power of prana that comes to us on every breath we breathe.

Read Chrissie's Introductory Article, "Workout for the Soul."

Read the Introduction, "The Eternal Quest."

Read Step 1 - "Preparing Your Temple."

Read Step 2 - "Refreshing the Soul."

© Copyright Chrissie Blaze.  Excerpted from "Workout for the Soul: 8 Steps to Inner Fitness," published by AsLan Publishing, Inc., November 2001.

Mercury Retrograde by Chrissie Blaze

"Every breath we take, every mouthful of liquid or solid we consume, is charged with that vital force known in the East as Prana.  In fact Prana is the sum total of all Cosmic energy.  It is the energy which enables you to bend your little finger; it is the energy which, manifesting as gravitation, causes a passing meteor to be drawn into the orbit of a planetary body. Without Prana, there could be no motion of any kind and all Cosmic manifestation would fade into its original state of dark, motionless potential; for Prana is the energy which brings forth the realization of the original possibilities into the numerous phases of activated manifestation which constitute the whole of Cosmic Creation."

© 2002 The Aetherius Society. Excerpted from Contact Your Higher Self Through Yoga by Dr. George King, published by The Aetherius Press, Los Angeles. All rights reserved. No publication in whole or part can be done without written permission from The Aetherius Society.For further information, contact The Aetherius Society, www.aetherius.org or telephone (323) 465 9652. For a brief biography of Dr. George King visit www.chrissieblaze.com.

Chrissie Blaze
Chrissie Blaze, a teacher, author, astrologer, media personality and senior Aetherius Church minister was a close student of Dr. George King (Yoga Master and founder of The Aetherius Society) for 25 years. Chrissie Blaze has written books including Workout for the Soul: Eight Steps to Inner Fitness, AsLan Publishing, Inc., November, 2001, Mercury Retrograde: Your Survival Guide to Astrology’s Most Precarious Times of the Year, Warner Books, Inc., April, 2002, and The Baby’s Astrologer: Your Guide to Good Parenting Is In the Stars, Warner Books, Inc., 2003 publication. For further information and details of classes and workshops in the Los Angeles area, please visit www.chrissieblaze.com. Tel: (213) 598 9552 (voicemail) or (323) 465 9652.




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