Focus on breathing serves much the same purpose as focus on the inner eye by allowing you to quell the mind and then slip into the theta state after about fifteen minutes.
This item goes into the practice much more deeply than that of course, but it is sensible as well and lays out much more than we need to know..
Five years later, like the once-foolish novice in many a spiritual parable, my annoyance has given way to a degree of understanding. I’m no yogi, and my practice is scattered, improvised and private. But I consider my breathing constantly. In doing this, I flirt with the madness less brazenly, and less often.
Cut out of the chest and held up to the light, the human heart is shiny as a ripe, purple grape. The lungs are shaped like a pair of heavy wings. It all looks very damp, very vivid, and very strong. From the day that we are abandoned by the umbilical, until the day when the last fires will wave to us, this fleshy equipment stands between us and nonexistence. And yet: unless (until) it malfunctions, we tend to barely consider it.
However. This base layer of our anatomy is hooked up to the whole physical network from which consciousness blooms. And for millennia, people – mainly the people my meditation teacher was channelling – have tapped options other than autopilot for their simple, subtle power. As is so often the case, Western science is catching up, and so is culture: breathing, you might have noticed, is in vogue. In fact, according to Vogue magazine itself, breathing is ‘the new yoga’. This is partly a fad, one more potential solution to the pervasive unease of the everyday. But all fads have their kernel of truth, and this kernel is real: breathing is at the core of us, and anything at the core of us can be harnessed.