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Tummo breathing is a form of meditation that uses a mix of breathing and visualization techniques with the intention of increasing body temperature.
history of tummo
Tibetan Buddhist monks originally developed tummo breathing thousands of years ago not only as a technique to warm their bodies in the icy Himalayan winters but also as a way of establishing a deeper connection between mind and body.
In 1981 cardiologist Herbert Benson observed Tibetan monks practicing tummo in the Himalayan mountains and noted that the monks were able to raise the temperature of their fingers and toes by up to 46.9°F (8.3°C).
how to perform tummo
Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and your hands on your stomach. Sit quietly for a few minutes relaxing your mind.
Visualize your navel as being a hollow balloon with a ball of fire inside. Continue this visualization throughout the meditation.
Inhale deeply through the nose, leaning backward slightly and expanding the torso and chest. Imagine the oxygen in the breath fuelling the fire inside, causing it to become bigger and hotter.
Exhale forcefully through the mouth while pursing the lips, as though blowing through a straw. Curl the spine forward and imagine the flame spreading its heat through the body.
Repeat this pattern five times imagining the heat building. After the fifth inhalation, swallow gently and focus on how that holds the breath below the diaphragm.
Contract the pelvic floor muscles, holding the breath between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. Hold this breath for as long as possible, then exhale and relax the muscles. Repeat this pattern a few times.
benefits of tummo breathing
One of the goals of tummo is to raise body temperature, and this may or may not be important for you. Tummo breathing has other benefits too. From the view of someone with fibromyalgia, the main thing about tummo breathing is a deeper appreciation of the mind-body connection. It can also help us cultivate clearer thoughts, boost learning and memory, reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
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