The Grand Circulation of Breath is a multi-purpose meditation. Besides creating all the usual benefits of meditation, it also stimulates and rejuvenates the whole being, and helps bring balance and health to the body. The Grand Circulation develops: Concentration; Body integration; Awareness of Universal Life Energy or Ki; Awareness of the “energy body” and its interrelation with the physical body. It also aids in transcension of the physical plane, and balances & increases the flow of Universal Life Energy through the body via main “circuits” (called meridians). And here’s an interesting side-effect: some people with colds or allergies have experienced unclogging of the nasal passages when they did the Grand Circulation.
The exercise may be done lying down, or sitting with your spine straight. If you have difficulty with falling asleep or “spacing out” (wandering thoughts), you should do it sitting up.
This meditation involves circulating energy around the governing meridians of the torso, in coordination with your breathing. You will begin by visualizing energy coming up from the base of your spine, continuing up the spine area, over the top of the head, down the middle of the face, down the front of the chest to the groin, then back up from the base of the spine. Also, as I just mentioned, you will be visualizing this energy movement in coordination with your breathing. Basically, you will inhale during the visualization of the energy rising up the back, and you will exhale during the visualization of the energy going down your front. It’s important to also develop an “overview visualization” of the “whole” circulation of this energy, seeing it as one flowing circular band, even though you are concentrating on moving the energy “one section at a time”. It is also important not to stop moving the energy as you traverse the sections – keep it flowing, moving along its path.
Begin to inhale slowly, visualizing your breath as an energy at the base of the spine. As you inhale, see your “breath energy” slowly moving up the spine area passing over the small of the back; passing over the middle point of the back, passing over the area of your spine between the shoulder blades (still inhaling slowly); moving up the back of your neck; up the back of the skull to the forehead; down the center of the face to the upper lip (this completes the inhale/first part of the flow). Starting with the lower lip, you begin your exhale; continue on down a path centered along the front side of the body, passing over the chest area, the abdomen, the area in front of the spleen chakra ( a couple of inches below the navel), back to the starting point at the base of the spine. Do not pause your energy visualization when you get to the end of your exhale at the base of the spine. Continue the visualization, as you begin to inhale and repeat the same cycle just as before. Repeat for as long as you have time for. A half-hour is good.
Until you become familiar with coordinating your visualization with your breathing as we just described, you may have a little difficulty visualizing the entire flow cycle within one breath. Just stick with it, it won’t take you very long to master it. Some people experience running out of breath before the end of a visualization cycle. If you have this problem, you are inhaling/exhaling too slowly. Speed up your visualization to make it match a comfortable period of inhaling/exhaling. Just make sure that you are consciously controlling your breath, not just letting your body breathe normally.