“Breathing down the front” is a meditation technique that I learned in David Deida’s book, The Way of the Superior Man. This breathing exercise is often the technique I choose for my daily mindfulness meditation because it is simple and very effective. Mindfulness meditation is a discipline that I highly recommend to all, and if you are unsure as to what mindfulness meditation is; just practice the following technique and you will start to understand. Remember: Experience is the best teacher.
“Inhale deeply, through your nose, and breathe through whatever tension you notice in your body. Inhale deeply into your lower belly. Then exhale. On your next inhalation, breathe into your lower and upper belly. Then exhale. On your next inhalation, fill your entire belly, then your solar plexus and lower chest. Then exhale. Then inhale and fill your belly, solar plexus, and finally your chest. Then exhale fully, slowly, and smoothly.”
David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man. Page 167
When practicing this method of breath control, breathe directly into any stress you notice in your body. Literally feel that area expand with your breath, inhaling healing energy, and breathe out the stress and tension. Breathing out your stress in this manner will free up any energy blockages you may have previously unaware of.
The most powerful experience I have had with this breathing technique that I ever had was at work. I often practice mindfulness mediation at work because I have been making sushi for so long that I no longer have to do much thinking at all, and so I focus on my breath. That day, as I was breathing down the front, I because aware of a blockage in my chest in the form of a small pain.
So I focused on the blockage. I directed my breath in and out of the affected area; visualizing clean, healing energy entering the site of the block with each inhalation ,and visualized breathing out negative energy, pain, and sadness from the same spot with each exhalation.
Soon the pain I experienced with my exhalations started to increase at an alarming rate. I heard the voice of fear in my mind, “Is something wrong?” The panic I felt in my mind was met by the calmness I felt in spirit. It was a gloomy, rainy day, I was 23 years old and possibly having a heart attack, but yet I remained calm despite the intense pain in my chest.
Somehow I continued breathing out stress from my chest until the end of my shift, through lunch, and even another whole hour after lunch when I practiced my taijutsu. The process took almost 5 hours, but at the end of it, my chest was open, energetic, and pain- free. My chest felt expansive and free, a feeling which I also experienced mentally and emotionally. This feeling is something best understood through experience and one that I have been able to replicate many times through many different areas of stress.
Try breathing down the front for yourself and see what happens. Remember to be persistent and continue to practice until you have cleared any blockages. Happy meditating!