Essential Therapies* & Techniques

*Some of this section is adapted from Dr. Bruce West’s pamphlets called Essential Therapies

Breathing for health – beginners50px-om

When you feel out of sorts and your mind is going crazy, try this:

Take 3 deep breaths.  On the in breath, count to 4, hold the breath in for a 4 count, then exhale to a 4 count.  Hold the air out for a few counts, then repeat twice for 3 total.  (Do this regularly three times a day to start, and increase as you remember to do it more.  This will go alot further than taking in another medication, or sitting in mind chatter.

Having been a practicing yogi for over 20 years, I and millions of others can attest to the effectiveness of using the breath to calm the mind and bring in oxygen.  Oxygen is the one most important nutrient we cannot live more than a few minutes without.  Cancer cells hate oxygen, muscles love oxygen, and our energy improves with deeper, calmer, and slower breathing.

posted 11/2/09

Breath of Fire – this is an outward, activating breath.  Active exhalations and passive inhalations.  Brings more mental clarity, oxygen to the head and brain, and a sense of lightness.

Click this link for detailed instructions (Clear mind) scroll down to see this one

Alternate nostril breath – this is a balancing breath.  Never ever do this with any strain.  Some of the old yogis liked to say the breath in this one should sound like a gentle stream, not a windy day!  Keep the counts lower if it causes strain.  I use this when I need to feel calmer, lighter, and more focus.  This works well after a long work day, after stretching, but before a sitting practice starts.

Click this link for detailed instructions (Sun&Moon)  After practicing for one month, see me for breath retentions

Circular Inward Breath – sort of the opposite of the breath of fire.  This one, in my adaptation, is an active inhalation, with a passive exhale.  Consider the Breath of Fire as releasing old patterns, and this one as adding into the void left by the old patterns being released.  This is also a great exercise for those who, on a subtle and core level, “do not want to really be here.”  If you have no problem looking at your own death, yet still cannot make your dreams come true, then you might consider that as one of your deep core issues.

Click this link for detailed instructions (Embodiment) scroll down if you do not want to read the reasons why to do it.

Dry Skin Brushing (including scalp/hair) – Bernard Jensen considered this one of his most important health exercises.  Those of my clients (including myself) have found that daily use of this technique offers better circulation, shining and glowing skin, less rashes, and more energy.  This only takes five minutes to do.

Click this link for detailed instructions (Shine)

Kegels/Mula Bhanda – Bhanda means “lock” or to hold.  This is similar to the famous Kegel exercises, meant to strengthen the lower pelvic muscles.  It also can offer better circulation to the pelvis, healthier sexuality, more stamina, and act as a conduit for deeper, more subtle energies.

Click this link for detailed instructions (Kundalini), another more yogic one (yogakegel).  I like to recommend simplicity with this.  Simple squeezing is enough to start.  Persistence is mandatory as results may take weeks.

Microcosmic Orbit – This is an exercise meant to, in my experience, see and work with energies already moving in our body.  We see and move it up the back and then down the front, with specific breathing along with it.  This moves energy that can “stick” in various places, like the sex organs, back, head, and mind.

Click this link for detailed instructions (Flowing).  Remember not to get lost in all the “esoteric” reasons for it.  There are so many opinions, it is best to stick with one’s own direct experience.  Or use a teacher who DOES NOT HAVE RIGID DOGMA.

Slant board/Inversion Table – excellent for prolapsed organs, back pain from compression (some people have immediate and complete relief from back pain after doing one round of these!).  This does not require an expensive piece of equipment.  Most of us can adapt a wooden board, buy an inexpensive inversion table (most sporting goods stores sell them for $100-150), or even just lying with feet up a wall (Viparita Karani in yoga)

Click this link for detailed instructions (Riseup)

Energization Exercises – guaranteed to be quick, easy, and stimulates lymph flow, blood, and energy.  After doing them for over 20 years, I can attest to their efficacy and ease.  I ALWAYS feel better after doing them.  Yogananda liked to say, “the greater the will, the greater the flow of energy.”  Use your will to link to forces greater than yourself, bring life energy into your body.

Once the movements are learned, they take 10-12 minutes.What a better way to start or finish the day, perfect to warm up for yoga or before meditation / silent sitting.

The whole purpose of true exercise is to awaken the inner source of energy which we have ignored throughout our lives.



—Paramhansa Yogananda


The Excercises are based on the principle of drawing the Cosmic Energy into the body through the medulla oblongata by the power of will. Located at the back of the head, the medulla is the point where the scull joins the spinal column. It is referred to in the scriptures as “the mouth of God,” and is considered by yogis to be the portal through which the energy enters the body.

The full set of Energization Exercises is comprised of 39 individual exercises. Once you become familiar with the routine it takes about 10 – 12 minutes to practice.

Click here for a link explaining why they work, by Swami Kriyananda

Click here for a demonstration of the exercises


Click here for The Five Tibetan rites easy ten minute exercises (5Tibetans)
Click here for Dan Millman’s (He wrote The Way of the Peaceful Warrior) Peaceful Warrior Ten minute workout (Peaceexercises)

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