Tummo breathing is a meditation and breathing technique traditionally used in Tibetan Buddhism to cultivate heat within the body and mind.
This article examines tummo breathing and meditation in detail and provides a simple, step-by-step process for tummo breathing.
What is Tummo Breathing?
Tummo breathing, also known as “inner fire” or “psychic heat,” is a meditation and deep breathing technique involving focusing the mind and using the breath to generate heat within the body. It is often associated with advanced meditation practices and is believed to have numerous physical health and mental benefits.
Tummo breathing practice is generally part of a more extensive meditation or yoga routine, and it involves a series of specific breathing patterns and visualizations. It helps practitioners cultivate a sense of inner peace, clarity, and the ability to tolerate external extremes, such as cold conditions, cold exposure and pain.
Research conducted on Taoist Monks performing G-tummo meditation demonstrated an ability to increase body temperature, generate body heat, and withstand cold temperatures using these special breathing patterns.
Origins of Tummo Breathing and Meditation
Tummo meditation is an ancient practice that has its roots in Tibetan Buddhism, which originated in India and was brought to Tibet by the Indian sage Padmasambhava in the 8th century.
In Tibetan Buddhism, it’s associated with the Six Yogas of Naropa and G-Tummo meditation. It is a powerful tool for cultivating inner heat and purifying the mind and body, and is often used to prepare one’s body and mind for longer meditation sessions or retreats.
The Effects of the Tummo Breathing Technique
Tummo breathing has numerous physical and mental benefits, including:
- Improved circulation and increased warmth in the body
- Enhanced relaxation and stress reduction
- Improved concentration and mental clarity
- Increased feelings of calm and inner peace
- Improved sleep
Some practitioners of tummo breathing also claim that the practice can help to improve overall physical and mental health and can be used as a tool for self-healing.
However, we must point out that effects of tummo breathing have yet to be extensively researched, and more research is needed to understand the potential benefits and risks of the practice entirely.
Tummo Breathing: The Research
There have been a few rigorous clinical studies on the effects of tummo breathing and meditation.
One 2015 paper found that tummo breathing was associated with increased feelings of relaxation and stress reduction and improved concentration and mental clarity. However, the study was small and did not include a control group.
However, solid research published in Frontiers in Psychology on diaphragmatic breathing – an essential component of tummo meditation, found an increase in attention and a decrease in feelings of stress.
Tummo Breathwork Practice: How To
Tummo breathing is typically practiced as part of a larger meditation or yoga routine and involves a series of specific breathing techniques and visualizations. Here is a step-by-step guide to practicing tummo breathing:
Step 1: Visualization
Before beginning the tummo breathing technique, it is important to visualize the process and to set a clear intention. Close your eyes and imagine a warm, glowing flame at your chest’s centre.
Visualize the flame growing and spreading throughout your body, filling you with warmth and light. Focus on this flame and experience its warmth. Once you do, gradually begin vase breathing.
Step 2: Practice Vase Breathing
Once you have a clear visualization in mind, begin to practice vase breathing. To do this, place your hands on your belly and take a deep breath through your nose, filling your belly with air. As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles to push the air through your mouth.
Repeat this process several times before moving on to base belly holding.
Step 3: Base Belly Hold
After practicing vase breathing for a few minutes, you can begin the base belly hold. To do this, take a deep breath in through your nose and fill your belly with air.
Hold the breath, contracting your abdominal muscles to keep the air in place. Visualize the warm and glowing flame at the center of your chest, and imagine it growing and spreading throughout your body.
Hold the breath for as long as you can, while maintaining a relaxed and comfortable posture. When ready to exhale, release the contraction in your abdominal muscles and let the air out slowly through your mouth.
Keep your mind focused on the visualization of the flame in your chest, and the sensation of the breath. It will likely take some time and regular practice to get comfortable with the technique, but you should begin to feel the benefits with consistent practice.
Tips to Keep in Mind
Here are a few key tips to keep in mind while you practice tummo breathing:
- Start slowly and gradually increase the length of your practice over time.
- Be patient, and don’t expect to see results right away. Tummo breathing takes time to see the benefits.
- Stay relaxed and comfortable. Tummo breathing should not be painful or uncomfortable. If you experience discomfort, cease your practice and consult with a healthcare professional.
- Keep a consistent practice. The benefits of tummo breathing are cumulative, so it’s important to practice regularly to realize its full advantages.
Tummo Breathing in Popular Culture
Tummo breathing has gained popularity in recent years and has been featured in numerous books, articles, and documentaries. It has also been used in Hollywood movies, such as in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” in which the protagonist learns tummo breathing to survive a journey to the Himalayas.
Despite its popularity, it is essential to remember that tummo breathing is an advanced meditation practice that requires careful instruction and guidance. It is not appropriate for everyone, and it is vital to consult a healthcare professional or a qualified meditation teacher before starting the practice.
Wim Hof and Tummo Breathing
Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete and meditation teacher who has gained fame for his ability to use his mind and breath to withstand extreme cold and to perform other seemingly superhuman feats. Hof claims to have developed his abilities through tummo breathing and other mindfulness techniques, and he has taught his methods to thousands of students worldwide.
Hof’s methods have been met with both praise and skepticism, and while some studies have suggested that his methods may have some potential benefits, more research is needed to understand the effects of his techniques fully.
The Takeaway: The Benefits of Tummo Breathing
Tummo breathing is an ancient meditation and breathing technique that is traditionally used in Tibetan Buddhism to cultivate inner heat and purify the mind and body. It is believed to have numerous physical and mental benefits, but the research on the topic is still limited.
If you want to try tummo breathing, find a qualified meditation teacher or healthcare professional who can provide guidance and instruction.
Tummo breathing is an advanced meditation practice that is only appropriate for some. However, with careful instruction and regular exercise, tummo breathing can become a beneficial, enjoyable component of your daily meditation routine.