My work with the Nine Purification Breaths

purification breath  

Lately I've been working with the Nine Purification Breaths technique, which is shared in Awakening the Sacred Body by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.  This is a useful technique to work with before you start meditating as its purpose is to clear our your energetic channels of emotional attachments. I've started using it at the beginning of my meditation practice, and its helped to deepen the state of my stillness work. I'm still figuring it out. It's a seemingly simple technique that nonetheless calls on you to really be aware and present in your body to get the full benefits.

The way it works is that you start with closing your right nostril off with a finger and inhaling with your left nostril. Then you close your left nostril and breathe out your right nostril. Do this again two more times. As you inhale you are drawing the prana in through the left nostril and then cycling it to the right nostril to clear out any anger you feel. After you have done this breath three or more times, you switch and close your left nostril and breath in through your right, then close your right nostril and breathe out through your left. You do this at least two more times and this time the purpose is to clear out any attachments you have. The final three breaths involve inhaling with both nostrils and then exhaling with both nostrils. This time you breathe out the doubt and ignorance you have.

The entire process can go fairly quick, but I would urge you to take your time with it. Be present with the breathing and more importantly with what you are seeking to clear out of yourself. For example, when I breathe out the anger emotions, inevitably some associations will come up and this can be useful for helping me to see if I need to address something with someone or if I just need to let it go. By taking your time, you allow yourself to be present with what you feel and let it go fully with each breath. And if you need to do some of this breathing more than three times, allow yourself to do that.

I also think there could be some applications to banishing with this technique or other forms of magical work. For example, you might want to breathe in specific emotions such as love or compassion. Or you might use the breathing to clear yourself of any conflicting emotions or attachments before and after you do a magical working. I've used it with my meditation practice and it has helped me reach a place of stillness with less effort involved because I'm clearing out what my other wise be a distraction. And at the same time it helps me open myself to my body, which is the first step toward embracing stillness (or movement for that matter). As with anything, what makes a technique like this useful is your willingness to engage it as a consistent practice in your life.