The Tao of Natural Breathing Chapter Titles & Quotes

Introduction: A Miracle and a Warning

“Breathing exercises involving complicated counting schemes, alternate nostril breathing, reverse breathing, breath retention, hyperventilation, and so on make sense only for people who already breathe naturally, making use of their entire body in the breathing process. It is my experience that natural breathing is in itself a powerful form of self-healing.”

Chapter 1: The Mechanics of Breathing

“The process of breathing, if we can begin to understand it in relation to the whole of life, shows us the way to let go of the old and open to the new.”

Chapter 2: Breath, Emotions, and the Art of Self-Sensing

” … the work with breathing starts with sensing the inner atmosphere of our organism — the basic emotional stance we take to ourselves and the world.”

Chapter 3: The Taoist Vision of Energy and Breath

“For the Taoist, the conscious cultivation of breath offers a powerful way not only to extract energies from the outside world but also to regulate the energetic pathways of our inner world, helping to bring our body, mind, and emotions into harmonious balance.”

Chapter 4: The Whole-Body Breath

” … when we are able to breathe through our whole body, sensing our verticality from head to foot, we are aligning ourselves with the natural flow of energy connecting heaven and earth.”

Chapter 5: The Spacious Breath

” … each breath we take is filled not only with the nutrients and energies we need for life, but also with the expansive, open quality of space. It is this quality of spaciousness, if we allow it to enter us, that can help us open to deeper levels of our own being and to our own inner powers of healing.”

Chapter 6: The Smiling Breath

“The ‘smiling breath’ is for me a fundamental practice of both self-awareness and self-healing. The sensitive, relaxing energy field that it produces helps me observe by contrast the unhealthy tensions, attitudes, and habits that undermine my health and vitality. What’s more, the practice helps to detoxify, energize, and regulate the various organs and tissues of my body, and thus helps not only to strengthen my immune system but also to transform the very way I sense and feel myself.”

Chapter 7: Circulating the Vital Breath

“Where our breath goes, our attention can also go. By learning how to breathe naturally — that is, by learning how to breathe vitality into every corner of our being — we not only promote the expansion of our inner consciousness, but we also stimulate the healthful, harmonious movement of substances and energies throughout our bodies.”

Appendix 1: Specialized Breathing Practices

Appendix 2: The Psychological Dimensions of the Microcosmic Orbit

Notes

Index

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