Our human bodies can live without food for weeks and without water for days, but we cannot survive for more than a few minutes without breath. Through the breath, we eliminate carbon dioxide, balance our body’s pH, and absorb oxygen into our blood, thus giving us the energy needed to live. So, is it any wonder that many spiritual practices and healing techniques use breathwork?
Cayce recommended breathing exercises each morning, preferably outside in fresh air or by an open window. In reading 257-149, the person asked, “Considering all of my conditions, what exercise could and should I take?” Cayce answered:
The exercises that have been indicated should be taken once or twice a day. The breathing exercises for the head, neck and upper portions of the body. And walking...the body should make a balance in its physical, its mental, and its spiritual activity.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 257-149
Cayce also recommended alternate nostril breathing to prepare for meditation. Close your right nostril while deeply breathing in through the left nostril. Then, cover your left nostril and slowly exhale through the right. Repeat this two more times. Then, close the left nostril and deeply breathe in the through the right nostril. Now, exhale through your mouth and repeat two more times.
In another reading, Cayce said:
By this [yogic] breathing, this [energy] may be made to expand… As this life-force is expanded, it moves first from the Leydig center through the adrenals, in what may be termed an upward trend, to the pineal and to the centers in control of the emotions—or reflexes through the nerve forces of the body. Thus an entity puts itself, through such an activity, into association or in conjunction with all it has EVER been or may be. For, it loosens the physical consciousness to the universal consciousness…To be loosed without a governor, or a director, may easily become harmful.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 2475-1
We all have these innate forces within us, and if we can develop them under the right guidance and direction, we can awaken profound abilities. Cayce then shows how the mind can control the body.
The activity of the mental or soul force of the body may control entirely the whole physical through the action of the balance in the sympathetic [nervous] system, for the sympathetic nerve system is to the soul and spirit forces as the cerebrospinal is to the physical forces.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 5717-3
This reading suggests that through our nervous system, using the mind, we can control our entire physical body! There is new scientific research and evidence of this.
Enter Wim Hof. Known as the “Dutch Iceman,” Wim currently owns 26 Guinness World Records, including one for being submerged in ice for almost two hours, one for swimming over 50 meters under ice, and for climbing each Mt. Everest and Kilimanjaro in only his shorts! See it yourself in the Vice documentary on YouTube. Wim uses breathing exercises (similar to that of Tibetan Tummo, Shamanic Breathing, and Yoga Kapalabhati) along with meditation, physical exercise, and exposure to cold to train the mind and body. He suggests 30 breath cycles of maximum inhalation, followed by a relaxed exhalation. At the end of the final exhalation, hold your breath as long as you can. When you need to, fully breathe in and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat that cycle at least twice more. Be sure you are seated or lying in a safe, comfortable place, and NEVER attempt this while you are driving or in water. In 2011, Wim was tested in a hospital and was able to control his immune system when injected with an E. Coli endotoxin. The results showed that he significantly increased the secretion of norepinephrine, the hormone of the sympathetic nervous system, just as Cayce had suggested. Wim then trained 12 test subjects in four days, who all repeated the same results (com-pared to a control group). This evidence supports the theory that we can control our mind and body through the breath by consciously influencing the autonomic nervous system and hormone secretion. I can personally attest that, after having practiced this method for over a year now, the results are pro-found. So, use your breath to heal thyself. It’s natural, free, and good for you!
Reprinted from the April-June 2018 Venture Inward magazine, available online to A.R.E. members. Log in.