As some of you may know, we have recently released a breathing-meditation program on CD/DVD. For those of you who are familiar with the Cassiopaean transmission you will need no introduction as to the reason and impetus for this audio video program as it is clearly discussed in recent sessions posted on our public forum. In the photo below, you see us making the video out in the back garden. The program is in three parts, the first being the introductory talk. This post is that audio CD transcribed so that you can get an idea of our approach (which is science based) and why this program really works! “Eíriú-Eolas” is an Irish-Gaelic term that means “Growth of Knowledge”. The Éiriú Eolas technique constitutes a revival of an antediluvian – and, until now, mostly forgotten – “techno-spirituality” – the spiritual techniques of human kind before The Fall as revealed by the Cassiopaeans. This is a modern revival of an ancient breathing and meditation program revealed as THE TOOL that will help you relax and gently work through past emotional and psychological trauma, release repressed emotions and mental blockages that stand between you and True Peace, Happiness and ultimately, a successful, fulfilling life. That’s the blurb, so let’s get to the science.
“Right exercises”, Gurdjieff said once, “which lead direct to the aim of mastering the organism and subjecting it’s conscious and unconscious functions to the will, begin with breathing exercises. Without mastering breathing, nothing can be mastered. At the same time, to master breathing is not so easy”.
Gurdjieff made a few other comments about breathing especially some interesting remarks about how one person who is more highly developed than another could breathe the same air and if you took the exhalation from the two individuals and compared them, assuming you had the type of instrument that could determine exactly what they exhaled, there would be differences. In other words, that an individual who was more highly developed in some sort of esoteric sense, was able to extract more from the same air than someone who had less esoteric development.
Now these were very interesting remarks. Gurdjieff also talked about some movement exercises that could change a persons breathing and help them to master their breath, but aside from these very brief remarks, he didn’t give us much in the way of indications or clues about exactly how one was to go about mastering their breathing and therefore being able to master their will.
Breathing exercises are an integral part of yoga training and have been for centuries. It is claimed that mastering breath can produce almost instantaneous changes in an individual’s physiology and there have been many reports of yogis who mastered this kind of breath training; who could perform extraordinary feats of endurance or production of heat or even in some cases were said to be able to levitate or to be able to endure long periods of physical discomfort or exercise or exertion.
But as Gurdjieff pointed out that, on the way of the yogi, the yogi can acquire a great deal of knowledge about the physiology, about the breath, about how to produce certain substances within their bodies by controlling their breathing or other related methods and yet can do nothing because they have not developed sufficient will or faith: Will being the provence of the way of the fakir, faith being the provence of the way of the monk.
Gurdjieff’s way was called the fourth way and as he described it, was a way of working on all three aspects at once so that they all developed simultaneously so that ultimately, the individual can move into the fourth aspect which was the development of the permanent or crystallized soul or astral body or both. Yet we come back to what Gurdjieff said, that right exercises which lead to the aim of mastering the organism begin with breathing exercises. Without mastering breath, nothing can be mastered. And of course at the same time, mastering breathing is not so easy. In this respect, I want to share my own experience with breath exercises with you.
So lets go back to sometime in the early to mid 1980’s. I was a mother of four young children at that time, three of them in diapers. I had suffered extensive injuries during delivery of the last child and I was unable to walk for a period of 6 months. I was confined to bed and this was, in addition to the conditions of my life, an extremely stressful situation to find myself in . Those of you who have read my story in the now out of print book “Amazing Grace”, will be familiar with the circumstances. At some point I hope to get “Amazing Grace” back on the internet, so those of you who can’t obtain a copy can read about some of my earlier experiences. I have received many letters from readers of this story that have encouraged me to think that it is helpful for other people to read about the experiences of someone who has made all the same mistakes that everybody else makes and has gone through many of the same experiences that everybody else experiences and how I dealt with them.
So in “Grace”, I described my own early experiences with breathing exercises, with meditation and the extraordinary results that very quickly came as a consequence of undertaking a very simple set of exercises. But first, I want to talk a little bit about why to do it.
A Dr. Richard Brown gave a talk in February of 2005 in which he talked about stress. He said that stress is a world wide epidemic. The number one disease of adults in the world is depression. Depression is the most extreme form of stress. He further said that if you have significant anxiety, you have twice the risk of a heart attack. If you have significant depression over time, you have four times the risk of a heart attack. He added that stress can also increase the risk of cancer at an early age. Well, we all know that we live in a stressful world. But here is a clue: the stress response is vital for survival in times of danger. The problem only comes in when it is turned on too much, too strong and too often.
Stress is the result of the sympathetic nervous system fight or flight response being over aroused, too much, too strongly and too often. Stress increases dangerous inflammatory factors called cytokines. It damages the hippo-campus, causes memory loss; stress can cause mood disorders, it can reduce the brain’s ability to repair itself. It can increase abdominal fat and it can interfere with thyroid function. It even increases the stickiness of the blood which can lead to blood clots, heart attacks or strokes.
So all of those things are the bad things about stress but lets go back to that idea that the stress response is vital for survival in times of danger. We need to think about the world we live in and the dangers we face. Obviously our stress responses are telling us something, individually, socially, globally. There is danger out there, there is danger everywhere and we all need to understand why that danger is there, why our bodies are responding to stress.
There are a number of factors that contribute to stress in our lives. For example our ancestors were not routinely exposed to the types of poisons that we encounter in our daily environment. We have not evolved the proper physiological machinery to break down these toxins.
Today humans are exposed to more toxic chemicals than at any other time in their evolution on this planet. The poisoning of our civilization is not the result of progress however. It originates in the lack of common consideration for other people. We can have progress. We can have industrialization but we can also have it so that it does not produce so many poisons and toxins in our environment. Quite often the heads of large corporations will admit that cleaning up after themselves, lower their profit margins.
Apparently man also did not evolve in a toxic psychological environment. Most human beings have little defense against psychopathology. But that’s a whole other subject and we have covered that in depth and in detail in many writings on our website, so we are not going to go into that in great depth here.
Early in the 20th century, farmers didn’t try to kill all of the insects in any given region and accepted the fact that insects would be more numerous in some years than at other times. During bad years, they sprayed some pesticides that were toxic to the insects but not very deadly to people. But during the 1940’s, DDT and other related petrochemicals were developed into sprays for killing malaria carrying mosquitoes. These new pesticides were very effective, destroying many mosquitoes and also helpful insects and other species. DDT type pesticides were cheap and could be produced from plentiful crude oil supplies. Farmers, corporations and consumers were excited by this.
Now they could kill all the bugs, save all the crops and make lots of money. In the cities people were spraying DDT everywhere, If the first spraying didn’t work, you could spray again, kill even more bugs. These people didn’t realize that the bugs had tremendous reproduction capacities and some of them always survived and those that survived produced millions of baby bugs that were not affected by the poisons. So we are immersed in a poisonous environment because petrochemical toxins are fat soluble. They permeate all biological membranes including human skin, the skin of fruits and vegetables. Toxic chemicals saturate our food. They saturate the newspapers that you read and handle with your hands. The cars that you drive load the air with toxic chemicals. Computer chips that drive office machinery: if you set up a computer or television, you know, take it out of the box, set it up and turn it on, you can smell the toxic solvents evaporating off the equipment for weeks.
Poisons are everywhere. On the vegetables you eat, the office where you work, the schools where you study and even in your home. Nietzsche once said that if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger but there is another saying: the straw that broke the camel’s back. Anybody can become overwhelmed by physiological stress. That’s one of the main contributors to the stresses in our environment and, as I mentioned, human beings did not evolve in a toxic environment either physically or psychologically.
So we have psychological stressors, fear responses and we have physical stressors from the toxicity in our environment that makes us less able to withstand the psychological stress that we are subjected to, and we go round and round and round getting more and more stressed everyday.
We’ve talked a great deal about detoxing the body on our websites and of course our work is focused on detoxing the mind and the emotions, sorting out unhealthy programming from childhood, from society, from religion. Helping the person free up their creativity and face our reality with some equanimity and balance.
But clearly the storm of toxicity in our world has increased to such a pitch that we need stronger methods and techniques and that is what we are going to talk about today. Because there is something very simple you can do to alleviate the effects of stress. Well it’s not exactly accurate to say simple because it does need application but in a certain sense it is simple: you can stimulate you vagus nerve. This is not the time and place to debate the issue of smoking versus anti-smoking. I’ll just point out that nicotine induces the neurological structures of the body to create more acetylcholine receptors which greatly benefits stress relief and one might seriously ask a question – how is it that a government that has never been shown to do anything that is truly for the benefit for the people, could be considered to be doing a good thing by promoting the scare campaign about cigarettes and smoking, and inducing human beings to follow draconian laws in regard to something that has been shown over many years to be quite beneficial, and in fact it makes it very handy to have something that soothes stress get blamed for all the ills of society when, in fact, the majority of those ills are produced by industrial toxins and the poisons that are in almost everything in any room you are sitting in at any given moment!
From your computer to your telephone, to your television, your carpets, the paint on your walls, the materials your house is built out of, the clothing you wear, the skin and surface of your vegetables, in your meat. Just about every where you look, your entire environment is packed with horrible cancer causing toxins. And yet people are made to believe that if they just stop smoking, it will be all better while the industrial polluters laugh all the way to the bank with all the money they are making because they don’t have to produce goods and services for human beings that are not toxic and not poisonous.
So ask yourself that question – is it really possible that a government that allows that kind of pollution to go on, that allows pharmaceuticals companies to poison your children with toxic chemicals placed in infant vaccinations and to give drugs to people that have been proven to be more detrimental than the condition for which those drugs were prescribed – can such a government really be looking out for your best interests when they tell you, “oh, if you just stop smoking, if we pass laws against smoking, if we make criminals out of smokers…” – are they really acting in your best interest? I think not.
Nevertheless as I said, the vagus nerve controls the relaxation response through the transmitter acetylcholine. Vagal nerve stimulation therapy using a pace maker-like device implanted in the chest, is a treatment that’s been used since 1997 to control seizures in epilepsy patients. Now get this, they are using a pace maker-like device, surgically implanted in the chest to stimulate the vagus verve which controls seizures in epilepsy patients. This little gadget has been approved for treating drug resistant cases of clinical depression, but for god’s sake, don’t smoke! Every two to five minutes, this little machine stimulates the vagus nerve causing your diaphragm to contract. It’s recently been approved in the US for the treatment of depression. Works about as well as anti-depressants. However this little gadget is going to put you back by about $25,000 and it only stimulates the left vagus nerve and it only affects a small portion of the vagus nerve.
Vagus nerve stimulation may also be achieved by what is called a vagal manoeuvre. One of these vagal manoeuvres consists in just holding your breath for a few seconds. Another is dipping your face in cold water; coughing sharply; tensing your stomach muscles as if to bear down to have a bowel movement. Patients with supraventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation and other illnesses are being trained to perform these vagal manoeuvres to keep their heart beat regular.
Studies have been done on the effects of electronic vagal stimulation and these have shown that this little gadget induces the release of hormones such as prolactin, vasopressin and oxytocin. Oxytocin is know as the “cuddle” hormone. If a group of animals come together in a social context, they release a lot of oxytocin. It is also released during child birth and during sexual activity as well as during breast feeding. Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, that is anti-depressants, activate oxytocin release.
So let’s think a little bit about this vagus nerve. If stimulating the vagus nerve is the key to sorting out your stress, I think we need to know just a little bit about where it comes from and what it does. The vagus enters the brain stem, it then splits into what’s called an upper route that stimulates the thalamus that affects the cortex, which is the thinking part of your brain, and a lower path that goes into the limbic system or the emotional brain. So it goes into two directions: it can affect your thinking, your reasoning ability and your emotions and your feelings.
The limbic system comprises a number of anatomical functional regions. The hypothalamus takes car of the four ‘Fs’ – feeding, flight, fight and mating. The four ‘F’s’ hmm. I count three ‘F’s’ and an ‘M’. I think somebody has been trying to censor .
In any event the amygdale is where you feel joy, humor and anger and in mammals, the amygdale is where all of the species-specific programmed actions come from, thus it’s crucial for survival. And once again we want to go back to that idea that stress is a response to danger in the environment. It’s the species specific programmed reaction. We need to think about the fact that all of us are feeling some sort of reaction to something in our environment that scares the hell out of us and it’s species-specific to the majority of human beings. But there is a small minority that apparently do not feel this species-specific reaction to our world. In fact they contribute to creating it. I think that you should give that just a little bit of thought.
In post-traumatic stress disorder, the activity of the amygdala is seriously altered. This makes me think of the fact that there have been studies that show that the amygdala is defective or quite different in psychopaths and it’s also been shown in some studies that the effects of a psychopaths on a normal human being causes post-traumatic stress disorder. So here you have an individual who has a defective amygdala, who alters the amygdala of their victims. I find that to be fascinating.
In any event, back to our vagus nerve. Both the right and the left vagus nerves descend from the brain in the carotid sheath, lateral to the carotid artery. Now the carotid artery as you know is that artery on the side of your neck where you can put your fingertips and you can feel your heart-beat there. It extends through the jugular foramen down below the head, to the neck, chest and abdomen where it contributes to the innervation of the viscera, that is, it’s connected to your gut. The left and right vagus nerves ascend into the neck or descend from the brain between the trachea and the esophagus and this is where breathing is going to become very important.
Stimulating the vagus nerve, you can affect the high route from the thalamus to the cortex. When you affect the cortex in this way you produce what is called SMR, sensory motor rhythm. This is an activated pattern in the parietal cortex that is associated with the state of relaxed vigilance. In other words, it makes you very aware and very alert but at the same time you are relaxed and not stressed. Animals or humans exhibiting this SMR, show improve sleep, digestion, thinking, memory. Their brains also become much more resistant to seizures. It’s also been said that this SMR prevents you from craving drugs and overeating. Well that sounds like an ideal thing to aim for.
Apparently you can achieve all these benefits by self stimulating the vagus nerve via controlled breathing exercises. Remember the left and right vagus nerves pass between the trachea and esophagus. Breath re-training that induces stimulation of the vagus nerves reduces sympathetic nervous system over arousal. It increases para-sympathetic nervous system activity – the relax, recuperate and regenerate system – and this calms you down.
The beneficial effects of controlled breathing on the vagus nerve occur primarily during exhalation. Supposedly, during exhaling, your heart rate decelerates and during the period of deceleration of the heart, the vagus becomes active. Shallow, rapid breathing patterns inhibit the vagus because the period of vagal activity is too short. By slowing down your breathing you create more vagal activity accentuating it’s relaxing and regenerating effects.
There are other serious problems that can develop from wrong breathing and these are outline by Paul Ingraham, a registered massage therapist who has written extensively about these problems on the Internet. You might want to look him up and read his articles. In any event Paul tells us that human beings are born breathing deeply and diaphragmatically all the time, that is. they breathe naturally with their diaphragm, and virtually all self-imposed limitations begin with holding the breath.
Long before we ever think that it might be embarrassing to sing, we are already holding our breath. We do it because we sense just how dangerously expressive and vitalizing deep breathing is. In fact, part of the reason that singing is so expressive and beneficial to the organism is because it involves so much breathing.
Now this is interesting because one of the things that we have done at many of our workshops is to give our workshop attendees a bit of relaxation and entertainment and to get them to bond with each other: we have karaoke sessions! We’ve got this machine that supports four, five microphones and all these karaoke CD’s that display the words on the television and you sing along and you have a full band and backup singers and everything! It’s a lot of fun. Everybody has a secret rock star hiding away inside! But we’ve noticed that when people get together and sing, they breathe differently and they get a lot of catharsis. They get a lot of emotional relief from singing. You can sing one of those down home, good old boy, heart breaking songs about your lost love and re-experience all the emotions of some heart breaking experience you had at some point in your life and even maybe make yourself cry a little bit. And it is very cathartic. It’s very releasing. But in any event, not only is breath the engine of the sounds that we make, deep inhalations and exhalations are inextricably linked with emotionality.
To the Chinese, breath had the metaphorical importance to we give to blood. To them, breath was life. To breathe was to be and to breathe deeply was to move your ‘chi’ or ‘qi’ depending on how you pronounce it which was your soul or at least the energy of your soul.
Ingraham further tells us that many common aches and pains particularly around the neck, the head and the shoulders ,may be caused by inefficient breathing. The connection between dysfunctional breathing and pain is straightforward in principle. If the diaphragm isn’t doing it’s job, the muscles in the upper chest try to take over. Unfortunately those muscles aren’t built for routine respiration and they get exhausted and eventually injure themselves by taking over the job of the diaphragm.
The diaphragm is your primary breathing muscle. It’s a thin, wide sheet of muscle that separates your thoracic cavity from your lower abdominal cavity. It has a high dome shape. When it contracts as it does when you breathe or should be doing when you breathe, it flattens out. In other words, it’s like a plunger. Like a toilet plunger. It’s like a high dome rubber thing and then when you smash it flat, it creates pressure. So it not only creates pressure on the lower part of the abdominal cavity, it creates a suction, a vacuum in the upper thoracic cavity which then causes your lungs to expand and you take in air. That’s basically how breathing is suppose to happen. It is suppose to be done with the diaphragm. When the diaphragm contracts, that dome flattens and as it flattens it pushes down on the viscera, like a hydraulic plunger. Since the watery viscera, your intestines and so forth, cannot be compressed, they get out of the way and where do they go? They go out. The abdominal contents are forced down and out so that when you inhale with your diaphragm, your belly expands. That is, good breathing is usually described as abdominal breathing.
Now everybody in our culture is upset by the very idea of having a bulging belly. We spend our time going around sucking it in and keeping it flat and people naturally, as a result of social and cultural programming, tend to not want to breathe with their bellies, so they breathe very shallowly so that their belly won’t move. This is a very bad thing. When people don’t breathe well, they tend to breathe in reverse, that is the movement of their abdomen during respiration is the opposite of what is normal and healthy. Instead of letting the belly move outward during inhalation they try to suck it in and when they exhale and they are no longer in any danger of having their belly bulge out and make them look bad in profile, that’s when the relax the belly. So everybody is breathing in reverse. In other words most people don’t use their diaphragms to breathe.
Now the thing is, exhaling without the diaphragm is not a big deal. It’s inhaling that’s the problem Without inhaling with the diaphragm it’s very hard work because somehow or other you are going to have to get the rib cage to expand so that you will create that vacuum so that lungs will fill with air. The only muscles that are really designed for serious rib lifting are the intercostals and they can only do so much. People end up recruiting the pectoralis minors, sternocleidomastoids and the scalene muscles. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The trouble is when you do it all the time. Imagine a handful of muscles the size of pencils trying to lift your rib cage several time per minutes all day long, everyday, day after day, week after week, year after year. That is the ultimate specific problem with not using your diaphragm.
Now, the scalene muscles are muscles that are on each side of your neck. It is like a triangle. If you reach up to just below your ear, turn your head slightly sideways, you’ll feel a muscle that goes from just below your ear down forward and it’s usually a very pronounced muscle, goes down forward and it connects to your collar bone almost at the middle of your neck, almost at that little hollowed place; that’s the sternocleidomastoideus. And then you can feel another one that comes down from there and kind of goes back and connects to the muscles, go across the back of your shoulders; that’s the trapezius. So you get these two muscles and it creates kind of a triangle. The scalenes are located in this triangular area, you can feel them in the deep hollow of this triangular area.
Okay now these muscles are pretty powerful for their size but they are not designed for lifting your rib cage several thousands times per day. They can get worn out, sensitive and rigid. I ngraham tell us that the scalenes are an emotional muscle group. That they have unusual sensitivity to emotional states and an unusual ability to generate controlled emotional states. Together with other throat muscles, the scalenes determine the pliability of the head body connection and the vitality of your voice. Given their privileged position and peculiar significance, the scalenes are powerful agents of change and release of emotional states. And also you need to consider that these muscles are controlling the neck and the neck is where the vagus nerve passes between the trachea and the esophagus.
Now to stop breathing with your chest and throat muscles – which many people do – you have to learn how to breathe with your diaphragm. This is a little bit hard because the diaphragm is a muscle you can’t see and you can’t feel it directly. It’s this big sheet of muscle that divides your thorax from your lower abdominal cavity. To learn to use your diaphragm, you have to make results visible. Ingraham suggest that you find a good heavy book, lie down on your back with your knees up. Place the book on your belly and that means the part of the belly just below your belly button. Take a deep breathe. Now remember the object is not to move this book by tensing up belly muscles. The object is to move this book by pushing down on the viscera and having the viscera force the book to move up, okay? It’s absolutely impossible to contract your diaphragm without your belly moving out. So if you are doing this correctly that book should move up and down.
Now usually if you start, you can get it to move about two inches. You want to work to the point where you can get that book to move at least four inches every time you contract your diaphragm and take a breath. The object is again, to move the book with your breathing, not by clenching some abdominal muscles and forcing that book to move up in the air. It must be done by the breathing. So you need to practice this. He also suggests breathing diaphragmatically once you’ve isolated the feeling with the book, in a swimming pool because this is a very good exercises for the diaphragm because the pressure of the water is equal all the way around your body and it’s kind of like lifting weights with your diaphragm. You can strengthen the diaphragm this way.
Now we are going to come to the topic of what Ingraham calls ‘bio-energetic’ round breathing. He says that everybody is emotionally constipated unless of course you are a sociopath. Well we already have mentioned pathologies so we won’t go off in that direction at this point. Most people repress most of what they really feel and really think and this begins in early infancy and if you think about it, in early childhood, whenever you felt like you were in trouble or whenever you felt stresses or whenever when something went wrong or you were been oppressed or punished or in some way in a situation that was unpleasant or uncomfortable, you were probably holding your breath. And as you grew older and you become aware of the socio-cultural norms of having a flat stomach, you were also repressing your breathing. So all through your life, you’ve learned to breathe the wrong way.
In any event, shallow breath and emotional constipation go together and they can only be fixed together. Obviously the best cure for shallow breathing is learning how to deep breathe. Ingraham recommends what he calls ’round’ breathing that was pioneered in the psychotherapeutic context by Carl Jung and popularized by his student Alexander Lowen who called it ‘bio-energetic’ breathing. It’s also similar to what the Chinese call round breathing.
Now let me tell you a little bit about this round breathing. Recently we had a very wonderful person who came to teach us a breathing technique that is been widely promoted and taught around the world by a certain Indian guru. This was a very interesting experience and we later did a little research on this kind of breathing because we thought that it was interesting that it was put together in exactly this way and let me say that that’s because we were aware of other breathing techniques and other things. But in any event, this guru says that he was given this technique in a meditation or it was a revelation to him and this is what he should do to teach the world how to breathe this way because it produces emotional catharsis and has very fast results helping people to reduce their stress and to achieve emotional balance.
The breathing consist of several techniques that are well known to practitioners of yoga. One of our group members had learned this very techniques in yoga classes years ago and she even learned techniques that are considered to be advanced techniques according to this particular guru’s series of classes or workshops. They teach a certain two or three techniques in the first series and then they teach what they call more advanced techniques in the second advance workshop and maybe even more advanced ones further on. But apparently the techniques that our group member learned in regular yoga classes were identical to these techniques that we were taught that are claimed to be a revelation by this guru. Now I don’t want to say anything definitely negative about this, but there were a couple of problems that we had with some of the breathing techniques of this program, the first one being that, the claim being made that it was revealed. And then of course it was patented or copyrighted, or at least the name of it was. And the second one was there was a part of the breathing techniques that includes very, very fast hyperventilating breaths. We don’t necessarily think that hyperventilation is the way to go and I’ll explain a little further, why.
Let me first just say this about rapid breathing. When you exercise there is a strong metabolic demand for intense respiration. Your body needs oxygen and more urgently and it needs to get rid of carbon dioxide and other cellular respiration by-products. In that way, breathing fast and hard makes sense physiologically. However when you breathe hard just for the heck of it, something completely different happens. According to this guru and some other advocates of the hyperventilation system, you can begin to feel a vivid body awareness when you hyperventilate, and this fast breathing whips up an altered state in which emotions are heightened and it becomes very hard to hold on to the rigid limitations that define the edge of your comfort zone. According to them, breathing hard and fast, very, very fast, helps to expand your comfort zone by booting you out of it. Well that’s all fine and good, however remember what we learned earlier, that when you breathe fast, you are not stimulating your vagus nerve. Remember, the beneficial effects of controlled breathing on the vagus occur primarily during exhalation. Shallow, rapid breathing patterns inhibit the vagus because the period of vagal activity is too short. By slowing down your breathing you create more vagal activity accentuating it’s relaxing and regenerating effects. So, lets consider what does happens when you do this hyperventilation.
Hyperventilation type breathing tends to cause three allegedly harmless but definitely alarming side effects. Paresthesia, tetanus and tremors. Advocates of this particular system that include the hyperventilation phase and the round breathing, say these these experiences are harmless and they go away with practice. Paresthesia means altered sensation, usually in the form of tingling that starts around the mouth, the finger tips and then the toes. It advances and spreads throughout the body and as it advances it’s usually accompanied by something that is very similar to tetanus, that is a sustained but mild contraction of muscles. The hands and feet can tend to turn into claws and supposedly your lips will feel like you’ve just had a shot of novocaine at the dentist. They say that it wears off quickly once you stop breathing and this is true – I’ve experienced it – and then they say that tremors maybe experienced in one part of the body or the other and this will also past rapidly.
These symptoms supposedly are produced by an altered mind body state that is both physical and psychological. I am not sure about that. I think this is all entirely physiological. I think that tetanus is a consequence of changes in blood chemistry. It’s a very distinctive sensation and it may tend to produce what seem to be emotional releases but the question is, are these releases permanent and long lasting or are they just a temporary effect of having your mental state altered and you’ve been convinced by propaganda that once you’ve experienced this altered state of consciousness, it is suppose to have some kind of effect on you? You know, it’s hard to say. The only thing I can say is that our breathing program is not based on any sort of hyperventilation or extremely fast, round breathing, though there are some sections of it where quicker breathing is going to employed but it’s going to be employed in a very specific way and it’s going to be very deep and there is going to be adequate exhalations so that the vagus nerve can be properly stimulated.
If you read my own account of what I experienced as a consequence of practicing deep breathing exercises in a meditative state, you’ll see exactly what I mean. That there is no necessity to ever engage in these hyperventilation practices. I never did, and the emotional releases and the benefits that I experienced, far surpassed anything I’ve ever heard described by this people who claim that this hyperventilation is beneficial emotionally, mentally or physiologically. I just don’t think that it is necessary. I think that you can get much faster results and my experience and the experience of others that I’ve worked with, show that you can get much faster and much better results with deep breathing, with regular breathing, with long periods of exhalation, with emptying the lungs completely and carefully each time you breathe and also using the proper meditation techniques.
So getting back to round breathing, as Ingraham said, round breathing is fast, deep, continuous breathing that is hyperventilatory and gets you all dizzy and emotionally vulnerable. We are not going to be doing that. We are going to be talking about a kind of round breathing that is not hyperventilatory. And the fact is, that doing regular, deep breathing exercises as I am going to teach you, you very well will become emotional at some point. Maybe not the first time but there will be deep emotional releases at some point in your exercises. Most people feel like crying. Feeling sad or angry and frustrated are common reactions. Some people may feel like they want to hit something. For most of us, oceans of sadness exist inside us. Oceans of pain because of the hurts that we have experienced and the hurts that we’ve done to others. This kind of things can be deeply released if you practice controlled breathing regularly.
The Eíriú-Eolas Breathing Program is now available on QFGPublishing.com!! The set contains 1 DVD and 2 CDs. The Limited Special Edition comes with an autographed copy of the Prayer of the Soul. Grab a copy today!