Posts tagged ‘longevity’

From a Book I Have Not Yet Written

Title: The Secret Of Long Life (is in this book)

Dedication: For my children and my childrens’ children

Increasing life is called Fortune
Mind controlling energy is called Power

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55

The physical body is just a moment of thought.
Master Nan Huai-Chin

Introduction:

I offer this book to you as a guide to living a good and long life. Having a good life also means having a good death, and this book has things to say about that, too.
This book is not just about ideas, concepts or theories about longevity but includes numerous practices that lead to health and well-being. The book is actually more about practices to do than ideas to think about, although I hope there will be plenty of those too.

The practices require time, discipline and will power, things that are sometimes in short supply in the busyness of 21st century life. But the practices, besides being beneficial, also help to create the discipline and will power that are needed. In this way the practices create a positive feedback system in which personal development and growth are encouraged. “What you sow, so you reap”. What you put in
– in time, energy and commitment – are repaid many times over. This is perhaps the best investment of a lifetime.

This book is in part a kit- a combination of a book to read, a series of videos to watch and follow, audios to listen to, and a workbook to record your own impressions, history and thoughts. I hope that the entire kit will be comprehensive and easy to understand. If it isn’t I’m sure you will let me know.

First of all, let me describe the intention of this project. It is to help you to attain maximum health so you can live out your complete life span (barring accidents). I do not claim that the ideas and practices on offer will extend your life span, only that they can help you to live out the life span that is allocated to you.

There are many ways to reduce life span, and most of us do things that do take years off our potential life. The most obvious of these are smoking, excessive drinking and taking drugs, and enduring stress. Added to these are not taking enough rest, eating poorly and so on. No surprises there. We can also reduce life span by living dangerously, taking unnecessary risks. We may decide that life would have little fun unless we indulged in all or some of these activities. That’s the trade-off that each of us needs to make. Do we value life by its extent, by how long we have it, or by its quality, how exciting or fulfilling it is. This is also an equation each of us must make for ourselves. No one can tell us how we should live. All that I can do is to tell you what I have learned about life and health. What you do with that information is your concern.

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June 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

The importance of belly breathing – Part 1.

Post the Second. –

There is an emphasis in the guided meditation to getting the breath down as deep as possible into the belly. This is because one third of all people breathe only into their chest and consequently their breathing is shallow, and the amount of oxygen taken into the body is reduced. It also means that when we are under stress, and the breath is affected, even held, it becomes even shorter and shallower, which can easily lead to hyperventilation.

The body can utilise much more oxygen than most people inhale, and more oxygen is better for the body’s functioning, since the oxygen molecules make their way into every cell of the body. There they are integral to the creation of energy.

Even I , who was an athlete when young, and have been doing meditation and yoga for 20 years, found that my breath was restricted at the diaphragm once I started doing some concentrated belly breathing. Since the diaphragm is the second most important muscle in the body after the heart, it’s wise to try to make it as healthy and free-flowing as possible.

I am currently researching a book on health, well-being and longevity and one of the objects of the book is to be very practical, by giving exercises on DVD that people can follow. I wanted to have a series of yoga asanas that readers could do in order to discover where their body was stiff or in pain so that the work could be targeted at those places. I asked my wife, a yoga teacher, to help me devise these exercises, but she said that it’s better to start with breathing, since that is primary, and the asanas an be looked at later.

This led me to consider my own practise. Although I have been doing yoga, tai chi and meditation for many years I have never actually concentrated on belly breathing and testing my own breath patterns. I knew that I breathed into the belly, but I was also aware that for many years I felt a restriction or obstruction around the middle of my body just where the diaphragm is. I had worked on trying to loosen this tension, but had I actually eliminated it?

My wife had started learning Transformational Breathing, a training co-devised by Judith Kravitz in the US. She had Judith’s book Breathe Deep Laugh Loudly  and an audio CD, so I decided to read the book and do the exercises, without a teacher (having a teacher would have been preferable). Transformational Breathing exercises ask you to breath into the belly through the mouth and not the nose, and I found that after a short time doing the exercise my head felt light-headed. According to the book, this may have been due to the balance in my body between oxygen and nitrogen. When you breathe through the mouth and try to fill the belly with breath, you are deliberately taking into the body a great deal more oxygen than you normally would. This changes the balance between the nitrogen and oxygen in the body and could be the reason for my light-headedness.

I also realised that although the exercise called for 100 continuous breaths like this on a daily basis, that I got too light-headed to do that many. Clearly more work was needed on my belly breating.

To be continued

April 15, 2009 at 10:22 am 2 comments


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Reflections on an age of anxiety.

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