Secrets of Magic No 35: Breathe deeply

Breathing is so automatic that many of us never think about it. We can fall into bad breathing habits, sitting slumped, breathing shallowly, breathing through our mouths. Tension pools at the solar plexus, tightening our breathing.

Deep breathing brings oxygen into the body. Taking a big breath and letting it out helps to release tension. During relaxation practices, inhale while you tense each muscle, and then exhale as you relax the muscle.

We can time our breathing to the beating of our hearts. Find your pulse, at your wrist or neck, or wherever it is easy for you to feel. Breathing normally, count how many heartbeats it takes you to inhale, and how many it takes you to exhale.

Cyclic breathing is a basic tool of magic. Besides helping us to breath deeply and to relax tension, it serves as a marker that we are doing magic. Over time, when we do cyclic breathing, we automatically and quickly move into a magical state of mind.

Affirmation
I breathe deeply to relax and practice magic.

Practice: Cyclic breathing

Each day this week, do one of these breathing practices. You can switch them each night, so that you do the four beat breathing on the first day, six beat breathing on the second day, ten beat breathing on the third day, and then on the fourth day start over with four beat breathing. On the seventh day, you can do all three!

You can do them in bed at night. You can also sit in a chair, or sit in a yogic posture on the floor. Wherever you do these practices, make sure to keep your back straight so your diaphragm can move easily.

Four beat breathing
Feel your pulse to establish your rhythm. Inhale for four heartbeats, hold your breath for four heartbeats, exhale for four heartbeats, and hold your exhalation for four heartbeats. Repeat four times.

Four beat breathing helps us to learn to breathe consciously. It is a good starting rhythm for doing magic.

Six beat breathing
Feel your pulse to establish your rhythm. Inhale for six beats, hold your breath for two beats, exhale for six beats, hold your exhalation for two beats. Repeat six times.

Six beat breathing helps us to learn to breathe deeply. It gives us energy to do magic.

Ten beat breathing
Feel your pulse to establish your rhythm. Inhale for ten beats, hold your breath for three beats, exhale for ten beats, hold your exhalation for three beats. Repeat ten times.

Ten beat breathing helps us enter a trance state. It aids us in doing affirmations, visualizations, and energy work.

If you find it difficult to quiet your mind while doing breathing practices, try repeating the affirmation while you do the practice.

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