The Seishin Chousoku Method of Breathing
The Seishin Chousoku Method of Breathing
Written by Nobuo Shioya
Translated by Shun Daichi
I would now like to talk about practicing the Seishin Chousoku Method of breathing, a method consisting of two parts: Seishin, a proper way of mind usage, being the "back" part; and Chousoku, a special pattern of abdominal breathing, being the "front" part. After practicing Seishin-chousoku method, the Daidangen (Grand Declaration) is repeatedly recited.
There are various ways of using one's mind properly. But the important point is to try to maintain the following 3 attitudes in everyday life.
1. Always think positively.
Always maintain an enthusiastic and positive attitude. If you must choose between them, then choose enthusiasm. Enthusiasm will lead you to act positively. Even if you fail, never regret, but learn from failure.
2. Be grateful always.
Be grateful for all of your surroundings. Being grateful will lead you to realize how many things you should feel thankful for. You may not feel like it much at first, but if feeling grateful becomes a habit, you will begin feeling appreciation from the bottom of your heart.
3. Never grumble.
There is nothing in this world that is not worthwhile. There may be things that are disadvantageous or harmful to you or even cause you to suffer. But you will realize there is always something to gain or learn, or something useful or helpful in everything. Nothing is useless in life.
This is a pattern of abdominal breathing. Throughout our history, various breathing methods had been introduced into Japan. Having studied and practiced these methods for a long time, I combined the advantages of many methods into a single nearly perfect breathing method. This method can be practiced alone and you can expect it to be effective in maintaining good health and preventing senile dementia. The key to getting the best result is to practice this method continually.
1. Sit up straight:
Sit up straight and let the air flow throughout your lungs. You may either sit straight on the floor or on a chair, or sit cross-legged. Do not lean against your back or rest your arms when using a chair. When sitting cross-legged, it is advisable to fold a cushion in half and place it under your hips or buttocks, with your legs on the floor and your bottom on the cushion.
2. Bend your arms at right angle and clasp your hands:
Clasp as if you have a small round or rubber ball in your hands. This practice is called "The bell". With thumbs on top of the other, close the other 4 fingers and clasp them together with your good hand on the outer side.
Those suffering from sickness or in delicate health may practice while lying on the ground. Spread your arms out to the sides and touch the floor or mattress with your palms down.
Practice breathing in the following sequence: inhaling; keeping the breath; exhaling; normal breathing.
1. Inhale (breathing in):
Slowly breathe deeply in through your nose until the air reaches the lower half of your lung. With our usual breathing pattern, using the upper chest, the air only reaches the upper half of our lungs. Even if we felt we breathed enough air to fill our lungs, it only fills the upper half with not much air reaching the lower half. The width of our lungs is wider at the bottom, absorbing more air there. Therefore, by breathing air until it reaches the lower half of your lungs, using you abdomen, you will absorb more oxygen effectively.
2. Keeping the breath (hold your breath and tense your abdomen just below the navel):
Using the breath you drew in, slowly push your diaphragm down so that the air flows down to your lower abdomen (Tanden). Keep your Tanden (lower abdominal, just below the navel) tense and hold your breath. "Seikatanden" usually refers to the abdominal wall behind the navel. But while doing this, concentrate on the area further into the center of your body between your back and the navel. Then press the air down to this area with your strength. Also tighten your anus sphincter muscle at the same time. Hold your breath, according to your ability, several seconds or up to 10 seconds.
3. Exhale (breathing out):
Slowly breathe out through your nose.
Release all tension from your stomach and allow it to breathe all the air out.
4. Shosoku (normal breathing):
Breathe normally only once.
Repeat this cycle from (1) to (4) above 25 times. Elders and those suffering from sickness who have difficulty repeating the exercise 25 times all at once may set intervals in between, as long as the exercise is repeated 25 times in total.
5. Seisoku (breathe normally and slowly):
After breathing 25 times, slightly tense your tanden and slowly, breathe normally for 10 times.
You may utilize this time at your own discretion; you may just sit there, or those who are ill may pray for recovery, or set objectives like "I will control my temper" or "I will unite with the universe", and recite that to yourself repeatedly. Or without any particular thought, you could aim to reach what we call a perfectly peaceful state of mind.
I would specially recommend, as I mentioned in Chapter 5, that you recite the Daidangen. See the "Daidangen" section below.
Repeating this Chousoku-method will bring you peace of mind and fully revitalize you both physically and mentally. A deep sense of equilibrium and calm will descend on you and make it possible for you to handle matters very peacefully.
(Using one's mind power)
At each step, recite the following:
1. During Inhale:
"The eternal power of the universe is in my Tanden and spreads throughout my body."
2. While holding your breath:
"I am totally in good health." Those suffering from an illness may instead recite, "My disease is cured."
3. During Exhale:
"All body wastes have been cleared away. I am totally clean. I am rejuvenated from inside (this last mantra is reserved for the older generation).
Repeat steps 1 to 3, 25 times. Those suffering from more than one illness may recite several times for each illness up to a total of 25 times. For example, if you suffer from 5 illnesses, recite 5 times for each illness. Those in good health, recite, "I am in perfect health" 25 times.
(viewing with mind's eye)
Try to visualize the sonen with your mind's eye. For example, when reciting that arthritis in your knees has been cured, picture yourself fully cured and briskly walking down the street. Those who have difficulty sleeping, visualize yourself sound asleep in your bed.
As I mentioned in Chapter 5, recite the Daidangen during the Seisoku of Seishin-Chousoku method.
The eternal power of the universe has gathered itself to create a world with true and grand harmony.
Imagine a world of peace while reciting. Regardless of how many times you breathe, recite and declare this 10 times from the bottom of your heart.