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Spinal Breathing

          Spinal breathing is a technique that will help you to focus and calm your mind.  It will naturally draw your attention inward to the hub of your wheel of awareness. Over time, it will enhance your capacity for concentration, and help to strengthen your mid prefrontal cortex (the MPFC).

How It’s Done

          Ultimately, you can do this practice anytime, anywhere, but when you’re first learning it, you might want to choose someplace quiet, with few distractions, and get into a comfortable position with your spine straight but still relaxed.  

          Start by focusing your attention at the base of your spine.  As your attention settles in, become aware of any sensations that are there.

          Keeping your attention at the base of your spine, exhale deeply, and begin slow ocean breathing.

          After several rounds of ocean breathing, the next time you inhale, imagine that you’re drawing the breath up from the base of your spine all the way to the top of your head.  As you exhale with a normal breath (that is, not an ocean breath), imagine the breath flowing effortlessly back down the spine.

          That’s it, that’s the basic exercise.


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          You may find it helpful to imagine the coolness of the in-breath travelling up your spine as you inhale, and the warmth of the out-breath flowing down the spine as you exhale.

          As you practice, continue to inhale with ocean breathing as you draw the breath up the spine, and exhale using normal breathing as you let the breath flow down the spine.

          You can do this exercise as long as you like. You may find – especially at first – that you need at least two or three minutes before you start to really feel the effects.  

          If you would like to be guided through the exercise, you can find an audio version of spinal breathing here.