You are naturally better at either breathing in or breathing out.
I first came across this concept in one of David Deida's books. It went on to say how natural inhalers are better at accepting and receiving things, and those who are stronger at exhaling find it easier to let things go. The context in that book was the role that breathing has in tantric sexual practices.
But I more recently encountered this concept again in a workshop held by my Sensei in the martial art of Battodo (the art of the Japanese sword), who is also a yoga and chi-kung master.
Apparently, I am an exhaler. I can expel energy very quickly and explosively, and I can let things go and walk away from them. But this also means I am a weak inhaler.
Reflecting on this, I have seen how I have always had difficulty in receiving and accepting certain things. I have had resistance to accepting help from people and even accepting gifts. And it was pointed out to me that I do not appear to fully receive praise. I can see as well how I have been better at letting go than accepting in my relationships. I have been better at letting someone go than accepting that the relationship was failing. I also found it easier to let my mum go when she died than accepting that she was seriously ill in the year leading up to her passing.
When I've been on vacation, it takes me a few days (usually close to the time of having to return home) to fully relax and receive the sun, sea and beauty around me. And so on my most recent trips, I have consciously practiced receiving while lying in the sun. I inhale all the way down the front of my body; breathing in the sun, accepting its warmth into my body. I take in the beautiful surroundings - a beach in Southern Italy or rooftop pool in Vegas – and breathe it all into my body.
In Italy, this exercise almost brought me to tears and left me feeling weird (in a good way) for hours. I felt emotional cells in my body become re-hydrated after 32 of malnourishment with what felt like rays of love coming from the sun.
Currently, in my day-to-day / moment-to-moment practice, whenever I have a conscious moment, I inhale and accept all that is good in my life. I breathe in my sense of purpose, I breathe in my loved ones, I even breathe in my clients, home, money. And what I have noticed is a feeling of abundance. I know that ‘abundance’ has been done to death in the self-development and mind-body scene and even completely taken out of context by the Law of Attraction folk, but I can attest to the truth of attracting more of what you focus on.
And despite being a natural exhaler, I practice this too. At the end of each inhalation (the first breath we all take when we are born), I let go – of everything – and feel all that I am grateful for return to the universe as it all inevitably will with each exhalation (the last breath we all take when we die).
Feel into whether your in-breath or out-breath is the strongest. Do you accept or let go more easily? Practice both.
Breathe in all that you can be grateful for now. Be like a new-born on each inhalation and receive all that this big world has to give. Feel excitement at all that you have and that the universe will happily give you.
Breathe out and let everything go. All that you have been given by the universe, the identity that you borrowed for this life you have had, any resentments for the experiences you would rather have not been given – as if on your deathbed, breathe them all out and give them back.
Repeat. For the rest of your life.
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