I know what you’re thinking: how could something called “bone breathing” be anything less than complete woo-woo?
But this would be a false assumption.
The Taoist masters of ancient China developed the technique of ‘bone breathing’ to access higher consciousness and to bring about a culmination our highest potential. The ancient masters realized that since the human body ages and decays, the energy or vital essence is slowly leaving us, moment by moment.
This most commonly effects the bones as we enter old age. Taoist masters believed that their special technique could help regenerate this gradual loss of bone marrow over time. And not just bone density — they believed it would rejuvenate the blood, the immune system, and reduce stress.
When done correctly, it’s even believed that this technique leaves the practitioner invulnerable to disease.
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How it Works
The main focus of bone breathing is not what you’d normally think of. Instead, the focus is on the subtle breath — which is universal energy absorbed through every pore of the skin. The subtle breath is directed to the bone marrow through deep concentration. For instance, we begin by focusing our awareness on the tip of the index finger, slowly drawing the energy up the length of the bone.
How to Do It
“The ancient Taoists have left us the maxim that says that `The practice of the Tao begins with feeling’. Without feeling the practice may degenerate into being just a mental exercise unrelated to the bones. Bone breathing is not only for those repairing bones, … the Taoists developed these practices for opening the human potential to its maximum. One powerful effect of bone breathing sessions is the ability to calm the mind and arrest the current of internal talk which goes on constantly. It also brings a profound sense of relaxation and openness that aids in resolving muscular tension and stress.” ~ Healing Tao
- To begin, bring yourself into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Fingers are stretched open and relaxed. Inhale through the nose and take several deep breaths. Imagine there is energy in your environment and that it can be felt subtly.
- Next, bring your attention to your fingertips on your left hand. Feel the energy around you move through the skin and into the bones. You should experience a sense of warmth/heaviness/tingling. Keep the breath rhythmic and deep. Continue to draw energy into all the bones of the hand and upward into the wrists, forearms, upper arm and shoulders — visualizing your bones are like a sponge absorbing energy from all around. Repeat with the right hand.
- Proceed by drawing energy into the scapulae, collarbone, sternum and ribs from both arms. Now, move your attention to your toes, moving energy up through both feet to the ankles, calves, knees, thighbones, pelvis and sacrum. You will then breath energy up the vertebra into the spinal column and skull. Lastly, breath energy into the whole body for a minimum of nine full breaths. Conclude by drawing all energy into the navel center and imagine “closing” it.
In addition to fortifying the skeleton, bone breathing increases the production of red and white blood cells, fosters sexual energy, stimulates the immune system and improves the flow of blood.
Healing Tao offers this final advice about the practice in “Bone Breathing: Strengthening your Bones”:
“Eventually it is possible to have the whole skeleton doing bone breathing, that is including the teeth. As practice develops try to breathe through the whole body at once, like a sponge. If more specific knowledge of the bones is desired then it is advisable to work with a anatomical chart of the skeleton to guide the energy with more precision.”