Taoism - Embryonic breathing
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Immortality and Reincarnation – Alexandra David-Neel
The result of embryonic breathing is a transformation of the material substance of the body that begins to take effect gradually.
The body becomes more subtle, more durable, and finally capable of resisting all causes of destruction.
Embryonic breathing is developed through progressively exercising the capacity to hold one’s ‘breath’.
First, you must know how to breathe deeply -"down to the heels," as the Taoists say. Then, the inhaled ‘air’ must not remain stationary. It must be made to circulate throughout all the various parts of the body, following a highly detailed itinerary that prescribes the time it should rest in the principal vital centres, located respectively in the brain, the heart, and the lower abdomen.
The tissues of the body, traversed by this circulation of ‘air’, are imbued with the living fluid that it transports, which they then digest and assimilate. At the same time, the strength of this current carries away the noxious spirits and the enemy gods that have penetrated the body. Thus a new, indestructible body is formed inside the body.
This exercise must be executed under the direction of a competent master; to attempt it without guidance is dangerous. Training should begin at youth. An individual of more than seventy years does not have a chance to manufacture internally those transformations that are necessary to make him immortal.