Let me ask you a question – Do you know how to breathe?
What? What? Are you kidding me? Isn’t this a silly question?
You must be saying…who doesn’t know to breathe. Breathing is something we do every day, that’s why we are all alive. Since the time I have realized the power of breath, I have come to the conclusion that not many of us truly know the conscious art of breathing. To be honest, as I write this post, I have been researching and studying on various breathing practices and exercises derived from the ancient yoga practices which prove to be extremely beneficial to your health.
It was during my research I stumbled across a course “Your Breathing Body” By Reginald Ray which further reinforced the power of breath and its energetic influence on our physical, emotional and mental state. In this post I shall share details of this program and how the simple act of breathing can truly transform your life. So let’s begin.
Meet The Creator
Reginald A. Ray, PhD, is an American Buddhist academic and teacher. He is the co-founder and spiritual director of Dharma Ocean Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the practice, study, evolution and flowering of the somatic teachings of Tibetan Tantra. He is a lineage holder in the tradition of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. Reginald Ray is the author of several books including Touching Enlightenment. He resides in Crestone and Boulder, Colorado.
Your breath is a gateway to the vastness of the universe—and the path to your highest fulfillment. This is the premise behind Your Breathing Body, a landmark two-volume breath work curriculum from esteemed meditation teacher and Tibetan Buddhist scholar Reginald Ray.
Your Breathing Body – Volume 1
Volume One presents a 10-CD course with the beginner in mind. Ray gives you a practice-focused program that will show you how to “fathom your breath to its full depths” for physical healing, emotional balance and ultimately, the direct experience of who you are and where you fit in the cosmos.
In this audio course, Ray summarizes some of the most powerful somatic practices and breathing techniques of the ancient traditions to enable us to experience the transformational power of breath. The term ‘somatic practices’ means exploring ways, to sense where we are, through focusing on contact with the ground, the air as well as listening to our own bodies.
Somatic practices lay more emphasis on listening deeply to the body. It involves noticing what is already happening to our body and how we carry our habitual movements, working with the breath, responding to sensations, encouraging exploration of alternative ways of moving and consciously altering movement habits and choices.
You must be wondering why so much emphasis on body?
Ray explains that during the primitive years, when man used to hunt animals for his food he used rely on his bodily cognitive functions when it came to sensing predators or finding the prey. During those days we were more rooted to our senses and now we are more rooted to our perceptions or concepts.
In this audio course, Ray explains the connection between body and mind and why both must function together in order to achieve overall well-being i.e. physical, spiritual and psychological health. The breathing practices discussed in this course will help you in having a deeper connection with your body, self and the world around you.
How To Use This Course
Your Breathing Body (Vol-1) is an intensive course with over ten hours of lecture (spread across ten CDs) and guided practices. Each CD begins with a Dharma Talk (discussion around a concept) and followed by a guided meditation practice. The duration of each CD is around 45 minutes.
There are two approaches I may suggest when it comes to the listening to these CDs:
First Approach – You may go through each CD sequentially on a daily basis and listen the whole series in the 10-12 days. This will give you a general understanding of the course and then go back to each CD and listen with more focus. When you listen the second time get more involved with the practices and follow Ray’s guidelines.
Second Approach – You go slow and work with each CD for a week or more as it suits you. Ray says that some lessons / practices mentioned in the CDs will resonate more with you and you can stick with them for a longer time whereas some may not resonate at the first time however you may relate to it the next time or when appropriate.
Guided meditation practices include, Ten Point Meditation practice, Earth Breathing (both lying down and sitting up), Three-Fold Breathing, and practices exploring the five levels of the breath. Ray’s instructions are very clear and he enunciates the postures of meditation for both lying down and sitting up.
To make the most of this course I would suggest you use both the approaches i.e. start with the first approach, get an overview and then go through each session slowly and with more intent. I think the best part about this course is you can listen to these CDs multiple times and there are chances that you may come across enlightening nuggets in these teachings.
This course will help you to reduce stress related health issues, make you more aware of the connection between body and mind and lead to a far greater wellness. It goes without saying, the best results are produced by individuals who follow the practices on a regular basis with focus and intent.
Your Breathing Body – Volume 2
Volume Two contains 10 CDs for the advanced practitioner. In Ray’s words, he says in this audio course you would find subtle, sophisticated breathing meditation techniques which are built on the foundations laid down in volume one. In this volume also each CD begins a Dharma Talk (discussion around a concept) which he has acquired through four decades of study and practice and followed by a guided meditation practice.
In the course Ray encourages us to have an experiential practice. By this what he means facing and experiencing the reality of life, whether it is frightening, ugly or challenging. He further elaborates on “the ways of knowing” through which we can deal with our sufferings and recover from it.
You will come across a session in this course in which Ray talks about understanding the elements of the Four Noble Truths which comprises the essence of Buddha’s teachings. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.
In simple words it means: suffering exists; it has a cause; it has an end; and it has a cause to bring about its end. The notion of suffering is not intended to convey a negative world view, but rather, a pragmatic perspective that deals with the world as it is, and attempts to rectify it. The concept of pleasure is not denied, but acknowledged as short-term (not long-lasting). Pursuit of pleasure / happiness can only continue what is ultimately unappeasable.
You will find in this course guided meditation practices that lead to Earth-Belly Breathing, Cellular Breathing, Skull Breathing and the Seven Chakras of the body. In the last CD, Ray talks about ways in which you can deepen your meditation practice and trusting oneself (your personal intuition).
It is recommended you go through the Volume 1 and then proceed to Volume 2 unless you are advanced meditator.
How Much Does It Cost
As I write this post both the volumes are priced at $45 each and comes with 1-year money back guarantee. So if you are not happy after listening to this course or if it does not meet your expectations then you can simply contact to claim for the refund.
If you are skeptical, I suggest you start with volume 1 and then proceed to volume 2. I have shared the links at the end of this post for you to have complete access to both the volumes right away.
Think of this as a meditation retreat taught by a top teacher in the world with the advantage of listening to him multiple times and only having to pay once in a lifetime.
In my opinion it is a worthy one-time investment for anyone who is seeking a deeper life experience. Ray puts all his knowledge, study, practices and experience which he has gathered over four decades in these two volumes. It is a goldmine of over 20 hours of in-depth teachings and guided meditation for your entire lifetime.
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