Have you ever been stressed out and someone says, “Just breathe!”? The practice of air is the practice of breathing, but more specifically, to breathe energy (prana) as well as air.
Breathing is probably the most valuable skill people have. And, today, skill is not an exaggeration. In a culture of stress and anxiety, breathing must be learned. When learned in the context of Personal Aliveness, breathing is indeed a skill.
People can learn to breathe energy (prana, chi, ki) with every inhalation, along with the air. It is in fact more important to breathe prana than air. Everyone breathes a little bit of prana with each breath, but learning simple breathing exercises, or advanced breathing techniques, increases the prana that enters the body, and makes the energy available to begin to experience renewal, regeneration, and healing throughout the body.
Conscious energy breathing focuses on balancing the inhale with the exhale in a gentle “circular” breath. In circular breathing there are no pauses, no interruptions— just the inhale connected to the exhale. Conscious energy breathing also recognizes the natural wisdom of the body to exhale effortlessly; gravity and involuntary muscle contractions release the breath naturally. This frees up the mind and body to conserve that energy for the inhale, providing very efficient breathing as well as the greater inflow of oxygen to exchange for the toxin-filled carbon dioxide that is exhaled.
This must be learned and practiced because from the very first breath out of the womb, most people associated breathing with pain or trauma (unless, of course, you were one of the lucky ones who had a gentle, loving entry into the world). Associating breath with pain subconsciously encourages people to hold their breath, particularly during times of pain, anxiety, or stress. Breathing in this manner can heal physical and psychic tension and release negative emotions and stuck energy.