First, I practice ‘diaphragmatic smile-breathing’ combined with a visualization of cold Air (blue haze or vapor) entering my nostrils when I inhale and warm Air (red haze or vapor) exiting my nostrils when I exhale. I use my mantras to time my inhale and exhale and repeatedly hold my breath in every breathing cycle until I gently reach the point of ‘air-hunger start.’
How I exercise ‘haze breathing’
- I sit comfortably with a straight back, close my eyes, and keep my tongue and jaw relaxed.
- Reset my breathing if needed.
- Breathe exclusively through my nose (diaphragmatic breathing).
- Inhale, while visualizing cold Air, in a shade of blue, entering my nostrils while reciting my “Peace and quiet” mantra once.
- Exhale, while visualizing warm Air, in a shade of red, leaving my nostrils while reciting my “Peace and quiet” mantra twice.
- Hold my breath, reciting my mantra, “Relaaaaaaaaax.” I add a subtle eye-crossing and concentrate on my idle visions, until I gently reach the point of ‘air-hunger start.’
- Repeat for a few rounds.
Note: There is a tendency to engage the abdominal muscles when exhaling diaphragmatically. Once completing the exhale, it’s good to identify whether the abdominal muscles are fully relaxed. If they aren’t, relax them.
The shifting in and out of smiling contributes to my relaxation and gets my diaphragm to reach maximum amplitude repeatedly. The relaxing feeling naturally fluctuates, particularly as I shift out of the breath-holding and into the inhaling.
When I recite my mantra, “Relaaaaaaaaax,” I extend the ‘a’s during the breath holding time and end with the ‘x’ as I gently reach the point of ‘air-hunger start.’
As I commence the breath-holding, I add a subtle eye-crossing. This action allows me to increase my concentration and slightly delay the onset of hunger start. Since I shift in and out of the eye crossing (doing it only while holding my breath), I avoid experiencing the forehead pressure that often comes following prolonged eye crossing.
In my idle visions, I check for any pulsating areas on my ‘screensaver’ (particularly at the bottom). I also check that my tongue is encompassed and relaxed. The indicators that signify that I’m ready to move on to the next exercise are the absence of pulsations on my ‘screensaver,’ a relaxed tongue, and a noticeable slowdown in my breathing tempo.
In the next exercise, I aim to reduce the fluctuations in relaxation even further by eliminating the breath-holds.