“The ancient postulate of perennial philosophy - the inseparability of value and reality - is psychologized into the demand that reality must satisfy us; the denial of the necessity of this demand is followed by the exclusion from philosophy of most of its traditional problems and the "raising to the dignity of philosophy many trivial and often foolish questions"”
Wilbur Marshall Urban

The Intelligible World: Metaphysics and Value

Alchemy of Breathing in Asana


This post will describe an experiment that will enable you to experience the workings of the fire within. To proceed with the experiment effectively you should be:

The expriment is about performing the same sequence of asana’s using different breathing patterns. The breathing patterns are selected to evoke different energetic affects. It is advisable to do one sequence a day, under similar conditions (same time and place in your usualy daily schedule). Take time after each practice to observe the effects of the practice. You may also want to write down some impressions. If you have a familiar practice sequence you may use that. Alternately you may use the sequence described at the end of this post.

Following are the breathing formulas for the experiment. The formulas are offered in multipliers – so please apply them to your own length of breath. Some of the formulas may be quite challenging to perform – therefor you may wish to work with a breath that is slightly shorter (~75%) of your full capacity. For example, if your base inhale is usually 8 seconds, you may consider practicing with a 6 second inhale instead.  I invite you to use the breathing formulas in the order they are offered:

  1. Equal inhale and exhale, no holds: 1 – 0 – 1 – 0
  2. Hold after the inhale: 1 – 0.5 – 1 – 0
  3. Hold after the exhale: 1 – 0   – 1 – 0.5
  4. Both holds: 1 – 0.5 – 1 – 0.5
  5. Optional Extended hold after inhale: 1 – 1 – 1 – 0.5

When I was first introduced to this experiment it was on retreat in a group setting. It was very useful to share my experiences and to hear what other people experienced. I invite you to come back to this article and to share your experienceand observations with others.

As promised, following is a short sequence of standing postures and some counter-postures you are welcome to use for this expriment. If you do, you may want to review reading practice illustrations. You can click on the image to enlarge it and you can download it as a printable PDF you can take to your practice space.

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