The practices for regenerating the bone marrow through a series of breathing exercises has been one of the great legacies of the ancient Taoist masters of China. Bone breathing is capable of arresting the loss of bone mass and to replace bone mass and red marrow through a process the ancients called "bone marrow washing". The main ingredient of marrow washing is the breath, not the gross breath that enters ours nostrils, but rather the subtle breath that penetrates through every pore in the skin.
The subtle breath is guided through the bone marrow with the attention. For example one places the attention on the tip of the index finger and slowly moves the attention up the the length of the bone, moving up to the wrist. This simple action activates a very powerful law of energy work that states that any place in our bodies we place our attention a flow of energy is generated in that direction.By moving the attention from the top of the index finger to the wrist over and over again warmth, tingling, heaviness or subtle vibration of the finger may be experienced. The warmth or heaviness that may follow is an indication that the exercise is generating energy flow within the bone.One of the basic tenets of Taoist medicine is that if there is good flow there is health, and when energy flow is reduced illness appears. From the finger the practice may be continued to the rest of the fingers and gradually up the arms, up the legs and the rest of the skeleton.
Another important condition in bone breathing practice is being able to feel the area being worked with the attention. The ancient Taoists have left us the maxim that says that "The practice of Tao begins with feeling". Without feeling the practice may degenerate into being just a mental exercise unrelated to the bones.
Bone breathing is not only for those repairing bones, but for opening the human potential to its maximum. It's ancient and it's working.
How to do it:
- Sit comfortably and place the extended arms on your lap. The palms of the hands are open and the fingers relaxed.
- Inhale gently through the nose in the direction of the abdomen and then exhale deeply all the way from the abdomen. Do this several times mentally letting go of tension with each exhale.
- Bring your attention to the tip of the index finger of the left hand.
- The next time you take your normal breath, simply let your attention run slowly from the tip to the base of the finger.
- As you exhale normally through the nose let the energy stay in the finger and return your attention to the tip of the finger. Repeat again the procedure with the next breath.
- As a sensation of heaviness or warmth develops in the left index finger compare it with the right index finger where you have not done any bone breathing yet. This will help develop the ability to feel more deeply and identify the sensation bone breathing brings.
- As the left index finger becomes warmer or heavier continue the same bone breathing procedure with the rest of the fingers of the left hand, either one by one or all the same time.
- As the left hand becomes warmer and havier compare with the right hand where no practice has been done yet.
- When you decide to incorporate the right hand into the practice simply reproduce the feeling in the left hand into the right or start once again finger by finger.
- Once both hands are feeling heavy continue the same practice but higher and higher in the arms until the same feeling is up to the shoulders.
- For bone breathing through the feet it is best to remove the shoes and any tight clothing and guide your awareness up the toes, either singly or together up the ankle.
- For breathing up the spine begin at the tip of the sacrum and run your awareness up the spine higher and higher until you reach the base of the neck and the same feeling of warmth and heaviness is developed.
- As the practice progresses and the body relaxes, the gross breath through the nose may become more and more subtle. Do not try to force back to gross, rather let it stay subtle and calm. Continue to guide your attention up the bones.
- Eventually it is possible to have the whole skeleton doing bone breathing that is including the teeth.
- As practice develops try to breathe through the whole body at once, like a sponge.
- If more specific knowledge of the bones is desired then it is advised to work with an anatomical chart of the skeleton to guide the energy with more precision.