This month’s self-care tip comes from locally reputed massage therapist Tom Coen, who specializes Zero Balancing – a holistic energy-shifting therapy that I can only describe as an incredibly meticulous form of bodywork that is subtle yet highly effective. Below he describes a meditation practice designed to breath energy into intention- a perfect practice for the start of a new year!
January, oh January!
Time of resolutions and guilt and unrealistic expectations….This year instead of making a huge list of ridiculous goals, I’ve decided to embrace brief bits of meditation before bed. Parallel breathing is one of the simpler, yet very powerful meditations I’ve experienced over the years. It not only is a meditation in itself, but it can be used to focus energy into a specific intention or problem.
We are Vertical Creatures
One of the most unique developments in the human evolution (perhaps THE pivotal one if you ask me) was when we became upright bi-pedal animals. We are vertical creatures, and this gives us a unique relationship to gravity that no other animal really has.
Gravity is one of the oldest and strongest forces in our universe, so too the vertical currents that run through our body are the deepest flows. Picture yourself standing next to a very tall building and looking up. You can almost feel the height of the building, its size is a strong force. This is the same energy that courses up and down the skeleton, spinning off the major curves of the body to create the chakras. When we focus our attention here, we establish a deep and unswerving calm by connecting to what is deepest and most primal in our natures.
The Parallel Breath
This breathing technique was one I learned from Fritz Smith, the creator of Zero Balancing. We start every day of class with it, and in just a few minutes it can really change your state of mind. Close your eyes and begin by just observing your breath as it is. Now deepen the breath a bit and try to establish an even rhythm. For this exercise I like a 4 count breath.
Now begin to imagine that as you breath in you draw energy from the universe down through the crown of your head. As the in breath continues, draw this energy to the base of your spine. As you exhale send this energy up the spine in a steady stream and back out into the heavens. The key to this technique is to really FEEL that motion. To me it feels like a slight pressure, a little squeeze moving up and down the spine. Others say it feels like a tingle, or like an electric current. As yogis, most of us are familiar with the idea of breathing INTO a particular area, the idea here is similar.
Once you have gotten the feel of this firmly rooted in your consciousness, the next step is to use the breath to work through issues you face in your life or if you choose, issues facing us all. To work with a personal problem, imagine some representation of the issue and place it in your hara (the area more or less between the 2nd and 3rd chakras). As you continue the parallel breaths, be aware of any changes that you observe to your image. See if you can feel the image change and dissolve as you breathe.
If your focus is “world work”, place the issue in the same area but in front of your body rather than internally. Changes might come slower in your imagery of this issue, but when you close, rest easy in the fact that you have DONE SOMETHING to improve it. The energy you have put into the issue makes some sort of difference (it’s quantum physics, look it up!), but more importantly takes away the feeling of powerlessness that we often feel about such big issues.
For more info about Parallel Breaths, Zero Balancing, and Dr. Fritz Smith, email email@example.com or check out the following:
“Inner Bridges” by Dr. Fritz Smith
“Zero Balancing” by John Hamwee