Breath is such an important force on our healing journey that it deserves another blog entry. Whoever has taken a Jin Shin Jyustu class will be familiar with the mantra of the Jin Shin Jyutsu breathing cycle: “Exhale down the front of the body. Inhale up the back of the body.” This means that with every exhalation we can feel breath flowing down the front of our body, from the top of our head all the way down to the toes, where it turns and becomes inhalation traveling up the back of our body from the heels through the back and all the way up to the top of our head. Descending and ascending energy play an important role in Jin Shin Jyutsu. They give the Safety Energy Locks an inhaling or exhaling quality depending on whether they are located on the front or the back of the body. Accordingly, any given Jin Shin Jyutsu Flow will have a specific effect depending on whether it is ascending or descending.
For years, I took this mantra for granted although it always seemed a bit odd to me to inhale up the back of the body and exhale down the front. It somehow felt counterintuitive. This said, I thought that the directionality of breathing might hold a special secret (as does everything in Jin Shin Jyutsu). Therefore, I decided to experiment in very stressful situations (when I wasn’t even strong enough or able to apply finger holds or self-help flows) with consciously redirecting my breath, focusing on inhaling up the back of my body and exhaling down the front. I say “redirecting” because I noticed that in stressful situations I felt myself doing the exact opposite: I inhaled up the front of my body and exhaled down the back. To my surprise, each time I consciously worked on redirecting the flow of my breath, I felt a dramatic effect. First, I thought it was a fluke. Which is why I kept testing this simple breath-awareness-flow again and again in the most stressful situations, finding it extremely calming and grounding each time.
After experiencing the benefits of the “inhaling up the back, exhaling down the front” mantra for many years, I only recently had a moment of a deeper revelation still. I was struck by the profound wisdom and power of healing harbored in the Jin Shin Jyutsu cycle of breath. Indeed, we tend to inhale up the front of the body instead of the back, because as human beings we tend to “look” into the future (given that our eyes only look towards what is in front of us and not usually at what is behind of us). As future-oriented beings, we often hold our breath since we are afraid of what lies ahead of us. We take a deep inhale (up the front) and …wait for the next shoe to drop. Exhaling down the front as recommended in Jin Shin Jyutsu, is a constant reminder of living in the present. Exhaling down the front, we clear the path into the future, we leave the future open for whatever it holds, we let go of expectations.
Now let us look at the “inhaling up the back of the body” aspect. Usually, we tend to exhale down the back of the body. By doing so, we constantly emit energy towards all that was, our past. Now, by redirecting our breath, we center ourselves in the here and now. Conversely, inhaling “up the back of our body,” we clear out the past, and reboot ourselves with new energy and oxygen. Inhaling up the back allows us to put a period between the “us” at this moment and thoughts and emotions that we engaged in before. Every inhalation “up the back” will help us let memories be memories and begin a new cycle, open to the present without fear.
This is a good example of how the body takes the lead in Jin Shin Jyutsu, guiding us to a higher plane of understanding and spiritual wisdom – consciously, and even unconsciously.
3/17/2023 03:07:25 pm
I just came across this. Beautifully said. Thank you.
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I am a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner and self-help teacher. I am passionate about sharing the gift of Jin Shin Jyutsu with anybody looking for self-empowerment in their own health and wellness. Guest bloggers from the Jin Shin Jyutsu community who are eager to share their knowledge are always welcome.