This breathing technique is a version of the traditional yoga three-part breath. I found that when I would practice the method, I would feel that I was missing a piece or a step: I therefore freed myself from the divided breathing (1/3 inhale into the belly; another third into the ribs; and the final third into the lungs), and then added a fourth level, as well as dimensionality.
The result was a feeling of wholeness and balance within the physical body. Additionally, 4-Point Breathing will help you to recenter when you feel scattered; create deep calm; stimulate digestion, and ease a stiff back. Most of all, the technique provides a deep sense of kinesthetic awareness and emotional security: This foundation of stability enables one to move into attunement with the Universal Consciousness.
Four-Point Breathing asks you to focus your inner eye inside your physical body, and to guide the focus with the flow of your breath. The breath is not divided; rather, you breathe slowly, deeply, and steadily as your inner eye moves to and through each suggested “point” in the side, back, and front bodies.
First, come into Baby Pose (also called Chlld’s Pose, or Balasana). Allow your arms to rest by your sides, rather than extending them out along the floor in front of you. Your forehead rests on the floor, or on a pillow (or block); additionally, you may place a rolled towel under you ankles, and/or between your heels and buttocks. If you absolutely can not accommodate this set-up, feel free to sit on the floor or in a chair.
Once situated, take a moment to locate each point that you will “touch” with your breath and mind’s eye as you practice. On the sides of your body, sense the top rims of your hip bone; the bottom ribs; the armpits; and the sides of your neck. For the back body, the points include: sacrum; bottom ribs; shoulder blades; and base of the skull, directly in line with the spine. Finally, on the front body, you will travel from pubic bone; to belly button; to sternum; and through the throat to arrive at the Third Eye.
The breath pattern starts on the side body. As you begin to inhale, focus on the iliac crest, and continue to breathe smoothly through each point as you move your inner eye upward along the sides of your body: bottom ribs, armpits, and neck. After you arrive at the fourth point upon the peak of your inhale, exhale slowly and steadily to carry your focus back to the starting point. Repeat the breath pattern another two times, for a total of three “trips” through the side body.
Next, repeat the breathing pattern with the points on the back body, again for three rounds. In order to transition to the front body from the back, take one full round of breathing through the points on the side body. Then move into the front body, also using three deep inhales and exhales to fulfill that sequence.
In order to complete the practice, pay one full visit to the side body; one to the front; and one to the back. For these final three 4-part breaths, you may emphasize different qualities by shifting the order of the breath focus. If, for example, you entered the practice with digestive woes or an anxious mind, you would complete the practice with one (or more) 4-part breaths into the front body. Thus, the final order would be one 4-part into the side; one 4-part into the back; and the final 4-part(s) into the front.
Desired results that would suggest an ending with the back body might be release from overwhelm or fear; or the need to get out of a mental or behavioral rut. You would choose to end with the side body if you have become withdrawn or ill-tempered. Further, the side-body breath fosters the ability to listen effectively. Regardless of your intention with the breath, allow yourself the time to revel in the physical “container” you will create. From that feeling of connected wholeness, your mind and spirit will be free to explore and communicate with the Universal Consciousness.