The Healing Breath

The Healing Breath exercise expands and channels the life force within you for the healing of self and others.Breathing is much more than simply oxygenating and purifying blood by moving air in and out of the lungs. The breath is a vehicle for moving subtle energies, referred to in the spiritual teachings of India as prana, or life force.The Healing Breath is a form of Pranayama.

“Yama” means control and, in the word “pranayama”, it refers to controlling the life force through concentration and by intentional breath control

Pranayama is breathing performed with the specific intention to control life force. Pranayama can also be thought of as the breath of the living universe.The word “pranayama” is comprised of two roots: “prana” and “yama”. “Prana” signifies vital energy, or life force, which permeates the universe at all levels, and permeates and enlivens one’s body. “Yama” means control and, in the word “pranayama”, it refers to controlling the life force through concentration and by intentional breath control.By practicing the Healing Breath exercise with dedication and the right attitude, you will begin to notice in a short amount of time-days or weeks-subtle, positive changes in your demeanor. The Healing Breath, as well as many other forms of pranayama, has the potential to:calm the mind and body,relieve stress-related disorders,improve autonomic functions, for example, digestion and elimination,bring temporary or lasting relief from pain,rejuvenate the nervous system, endocrine glands, bodily tissues, cells, and organs,remove toxins from your body,extend life,enhance perception,steady your mind and strengthen your will,enable you to withdraw your attention from the physical world during meditation,fill you with light and bliss.Almost anyone can practice the Healing Breath exercise, for it requires no special knowledge or skill and can be done anywhere, anytime. For it to be effective, we must practice it regularly and have a positive attitude.

Quiet yourself

The Healing Breath is not only an excellent place to begin a spiritual practice, but it is an excellent place to return to for those who have spent many years practicing a variety of spiritual techniques without significant progress. Even adepts use the Healing Breath to begin their practice, for they know that it will quickly bring the mind-body into balance and prepare the way for entering deep states of meditation. I use it for self-healing and to quiet my mind before meditation.Until full command of the breath is accomplished, it is very difficult to go deep in meditation, and you may become frustrated in your efforts and disillusioned with your path.EFFECTS from the Healing Breath: Our integrated physiological, psychological, and spiritual make-up is affected by changes in any part of it.

Change in one part of our system affects every other part

Change in one part of our system affects every other part. Our physical, mental and spiritual state is affected by our breathing, and vice versa.PRECAUTIONS: If there is a physical condition affecting one’s cardiopulmonary system, a doctor should be consulted before attempting the exercise. In addition, please keep in mind that breathing is an automatic process, controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Normally, one does not have conscious control over it, and if one tries to forcibly control it, one may be working against the body’s needs. Therefore caution should be used. Always do what comes naturally, without force, when working with your breathing pattern. If you begin to feel dizzy, you may need to breathe more slowly or stop the Healing Breath exercise.PHYSICAL EFFECTS: Regular practice of the Healing Breath brings beneficial change to every part of our body-mind-spirit. As the mind is quieted by the slow breathing exercise, the brain and glands become better able to regulate chemicals that, in turn, regulate our biochemistry: we sleep more soundly, our overall mood improves, and we become less anxious. In addition, muscles relax, pain is decreased, the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems become stronger and healthier, physical endurance and stamina increase, digestion improves, and mental capacity for concentration and problem solving are enhanced. Addiction to smoking (or other drugs) or cravings of any kind may be diffused and eventually eliminated if the Healing Breath is done properly and regularly. We are better able to have deep meditations. It takes only a few days of dedicated practice to begin to realize these effects.PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS: Our psychological make-up leans on our self-created ego. When the ego is agitated or threatened, we may also become agitated and lose our focus. Then the breath becomes quick and shallow. The process of eliminating the ego may create this agitation in us, because we are threatening our ego with the possibility of extinction-something the ego fights against fiercely. This may be experienced as a busy mind during meditation.Prior to working with a healing client, I used to adamantly address my ego by saying, “Okay ego, get out of here. You can come back later, but for now be gone.” I no longer do that for it is my desire to be egoless. I now command it to leave, period, for if we give in to the ego’s desire for existence, we give up control over our lives and stay quagmired in the confines of the ego’s false domain.In initiating the Healing Breath exercise, we call upon the ego to leave, and we must be aware that the ego may defend its status by causing us to doubt or feel anxious or restless. We must be prepared to overcome the ego’s false concepts with the power of truth and inner calm. For our freedom to choose what we know is best for us is the only power the ego cannot withstand, and as our breath becomes longer and deeper, we find ourselves in a peaceful, relaxed state of consciousness. With continued practice, a new understanding arises that can identify and extinguish any unwanted mood with negligible effort.SPIRITUAL EFFECTS: We are all spiritual beings by nature, so in reality, there is nothing spiritual to be gained from practicing the Healing Breath that we don’t already have. What we are really doing is gaining awareness of our native spiritual state. With regular practice of the Healing Breath exercise, the distractions of form, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought disappear, and we can calm the busy mind and relax the body, heal ourselves and others, and gain a sudden realization of our pure, non-dualistic nature as spirit. Then we realize that all is one in Divine Love . . . in God. When this happens, we lose all memory of ego and are free.BREATH PATTERNNormal breathing is performed in the following pattern:1.inhalation2. retention (holding the breath in)3. exhalation4. retention (holding the breath out)Normally, a retention lasts only for a moment after each inhalation and exhalation. However, if one fixes the mind steadily on the inhaled energy (life-force) spreading within the body, the retention will naturally be extended to longer and longer periods of time.The following is my method for activating the Healing Breath. You may practice hatha yoga first.THE HEALING BREATH PART ONE1. Set an intention to activate the Healing Breath. Command your ego to go.2. Say a prayer to be open to accepting healing from Spirit.3. Quiet yourself. Be comfortable. Close your eyes.4. Take a deep breath, sigh it out. Drop your shoulders.5. Clear your aura to:a. drive away negative energy or entities attached to you,b. create a bubble of protection surrounding you,c. prepare you for breath work, healing, meditation.6. Focus on your normal rhythmic breathing through your nose, for a while. Calm your mind. Should you find yourself thinking about something other than your breath, withdraw your consciousness from those thoughts and calmly return to watching your breath flow.7. Continue to focus on your breath. Relax and breathe in deeply. Fill your belly and expand the air into your ribs and chest during each inhalation, then during each exhalation, let the abdomen come in. This is the healthiest form of breathing we can do. We do it automatically when completely relaxed.8. Listen to the sound of your breathing. Feel your breath as it enters and exits your body.9 When moved to do so, breathe in and sense the breath as energy filling the whole body. Each tiny cell seems to fill with this prana, bathing in healing light as you hold the breath in a state of rest, not forcing it to stay.10. Exhale very slowly and gently; relax. There is a sense of patience, as this is a pleasant sensation of exhalation.Repeat steps 9 and 10 several times.All the energy that was brought into the body with each long, healing breath, along with energy awakened in the spinal centers (chakras), is now dispersed throughout the body, moving through subtle energy channels. Your brain is also doubly nourished-from the increased energy and from the oxygen that flow in the healing, meditative quietness while you practice this technique. This is a healing treatment on all levels. It brings a blissful, peaceful state and nourishes our body, mind and spirit, as we open up to greater possibilities of understanding and divine awareness.PART TWO HEALING BREATH FOR SELF-HEALING OF PAIN OR DISCOMFORTContinue from PART ONE1. As you breathe in, scan your body for any discomfort or pain that needs healing.2. As you hold the healing breath, send healing energy into that specific area or the whole body and let it linger there, or ask God to send the healing energy where you need it, for this might not be evident to you.3. Breathe out. Relax. Slowly release tension and pain-make any discomfort comfortable.4. Again, breathe in, send energy to the same part of the body that you know needs healing or the whole body, and let it linger there.5. Breathe out from that area or the whole body. Push the problem or discomfort out. Feel or imagine the breath leaving the body, taking the problem with it.6. Repeat until you feel you are finished with that area.Move on to another area that might need healing. End with a Thank You to Spirit.PART THREE HEALING BREATH FOR HEALING OTHERSContinue from PART ONE1. Ask that healing occur for the highest good of the person or situation.2. Breathe in and hold the healing breath, exhale, hold. Repeat.3. Feel your breath slowing down and energy building within.4. With each slow intake of breath, fill your heart with healing energy. Send this energy into your upraised hands.5. Slowly release the energy by breathing out your hands, toward a person or situation, for healing.6. See the person or situation healed.Continue until you feel you are finished. End with a Thank You to Spirit.efIf you are able to practice the Healing Breath easily, without discomfort or difficulty, it will be of great benefit. It can be used to bring about an overall improvement in well-being, as well as to address specific ailments. It can be used for self-healing or healing others at any distance.The Healing Breath exercise is easy to master if you take time each day to practice it. Jesus said many times to me in Messages from Jesus, “Practice, practice, practice.” It may require several months for you to be able to feel energy touching parts of your body. I use these techniques the instant I awaken in the morning, but they can be done anytime, anywhere.By practicing the Healing Breath, you will be able to develop your ability to understand and feel in a different way. When the Healing Breath is activated, it allows simultaneous opening of your chakras, resulting in a state of profound relaxation and peace, which allows you to enter a higher state of consciousness.Suggestion: During hatha yoga, breathe as in steps 9 and 10 of Part One while you hold each posture.

Mary Ann Johnston, healer, lecturer and author of three books, “Sustained by Faith”; “Messages from Jesus” and “That Heaven”.Mary Ann’s writings show us how Spirit nurtures and strengthens our souls, and our part in the process.You may be more comfortable with messages from ancient holy books and less likely to accept messages from Jesus received by people living today. Remember, finding truth does not exclude inner knowing, and only your intuition and sound reasoning can be trusted to tell you what and what not to believe.In “Sustained by Faith – Personal Awakening in God”, she tells us the story of her life and the wondrous ways in which Jesus encouraged and protected her when she needed help during abuse, and other hard times. Her life demonstrates that, by walking in the light of God’s presence and never giving up, we too can learn from adversity, overcome obstacles, grow spiritually, and achieve worthwhile goals. This book will be available November 2008.In “Messages from Jesus – A Dialogue of Love”, Jesus discusses threats to our health, safety, and environment that didn’t exist two thousand years ago and presents spiritual concepts few could have understood back then. But He also enables us to more fully comprehend the timeless truths He lived and taught at that time. Many have been spiritually changed, comforted, and inspired to be more loving and forgiving by reading “Messages from Jesus”. This book is presently available.That Heaven is not only about Mary Ann’s near-death experience, during which she visited heaven, but will help you to more fully experience your own spirituality, be more aware of and embrace the presence of God in your life, activate divine energies within yourself, and increase the light in your soul. Words from Jesus and Yogananda, give us encouragement and hope in trying times.

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