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Breathwork Practice #3 – Central Channel Breathing

Updated: Jul 1, 2023


What is central channel breathing?

Central channel breathing is a variation of belly breathing with a focus on drawing the breath into the belly while holding central channel anchor points. The four anchor points coincide with 4 of the 7 chakras – root, heart, throat, and third eye. This practice lends special care to the movement of our concentration down, up, and through the core of the body.

Benefits of central channel breathing:

Central channel breathing is a powerful exercise for enlivening energy, reducing stress, and improving concentration. The inherent potency of this practice comes from the focus and control it requires. This practice requires you to squeeze the four anchor points as you breathe. It may seem paradoxical to squeeze at the same time as you breathe, but the difficulty or ‘friction’ that arises is the whole point of the practice – the internal friction we create by squeezing and breathing simultaneously trains us to better handle stress when it inevitably arises. We are now able to ‘feel’ this friction as a path forward rather than a barrier. We can breathe through it, growing and realizing friction as our guide. The friction dissipates into openness, an expansion of us and our ability to handle life's "stressors."


Anchor Points How To:

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position

  • Keep good posture

  • Breathe through the nose

1. Root Chakra

  1. Focus your attention on the base of your spine

  2. Contract your pelvic floor muscles by lifting them toward your belly button as you draw your low belly in – this a basic Kegel exercise – like the squeeze of stopping your urine midstream

  3. Hold this squeeze as you breathe deeply and slowly into the belly, noticing the breath pass through the pelvis with each inhale and exhale

  4. Progress this by releasing unnecessary tension – let the squeeze be gentle but locked in

  5. Practice this root lock as often as possible – this is your foundation


2. Heart Chakra

  1. Focus your attention on the middle of your chest

  2. Contract the muscles that surround the chest by pulling your shoulders back and down, squeezing your arms to your sides, and contracting your pectoralis muscles

  3. Hold this squeeze as you breathe deeply and slowly into the belly, noticing the breath pass through the chest with each inhale and exhale

  4. Progress this by releasing unnecessary tension – let the squeeze be gentle but locked in

  5. Practice this heart squeeze regularly


3. Throat Chakra

  1. Focus your attention on the throat

  2. Let your jaw open slightly but keep your lips closed as you contract your throat by pulling the back of your tongue up and back like you are yawning but with a closed mouth, effectively opening the throat

  3. Hold this squeeze as you breathe deeply and slowly into the belly, noticing the breath pass through the throat with each inhale and exhale

  4. Progress this by releasing unnecessary tension – let the squeeze be gentle but locked in

  5. Practice this throat constriction regularly

  6. Note that your breath may sound like a snore with this practice and that is okay


4. Third Eye Chakra

  1. Focus your attention on the center of your forehead between and just above your eyebrows

  2. Close your eyes and gently roll them up as you raise your eyebrows up, creating tension in the center of your head

  3. Hold this squeeze as you breathe deeply and slowly into the belly, noticing the breath pass through the third eye with each inhale and exhale

  4. Progress this by releasing unnecessary tension – let the squeeze be gentle but locked in

  5. Practice this third eye squeeze routinely as you sit and observe, realize you are the one behind the eyes without telling a story about it

Notes:

  • Practice squeezing each of the anchor points individually before you move on to squeezing them all together with central channel breathing

Central Channel Breathing How To:

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position

  • Keep good posture

  • Squeeze each anchor point starting with the root lock and moving up to the heart, throat, and third eye

  • Hold the squeeze of all 4 anchor points, creating tension through your core

  • Breathe in (deeply and slowly) through the nose, drawing the breath in from overhead and following it down the third eye to the throat, heart, and into the belly and pelvis

  • Pause the breath for a moment at the base of the spine

  • Release the breath down and out through the base of the spine, legs, and feet and into the earth

  • Maintain your squeeze

  • Draw the next breath up from the ground into the feet and legs and up through the pelvis and belly to the heart and throat and into the third eye center

  • Pause the breath for a moment at the top of the head

  • Release the breath up and out through the top of the head and into the atmosphere

  • This is one cycle (1 inbreath down and 1 outbreath down and out into the earth and then 1 inbreath up and 1 outbreath up and out into the atmosphere)

  • Complete at least 2 cycles

  • Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Focus on the breath’s movement through each anchor point

  • Then focus on the air creating a straight line or channel through the core of your body (from the top of your head to the base of your spine)

  • Allow the tension of your squeeze to melt into the background; don’t strain

  • Practice this as often as possible and observe how your life transforms

  • As time goes on, this practice will become second nature, and you'll be able to perform it quickly and confidently

  • For even more benefit perform first thing when you wake up (still lying in bed) and last thing before going to sleep

  • Simply Be. Enjoy!

Reference:

Morter, S., The Energy Codes: The 7-step System to Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body, and Live Your Best Life, 2019.

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