Former Japanese actor Miki Ryosuke discovered the Long Breath Diet completely by accident. With the help of his doctor, he was taught a breath-exercise solely to ease back pain. However, he noticed as a side-effect that he was losing a lot of weight.
He eventually discovered that he lost 28 pounds and 5 inches in 50 days. Realizing the potential of his discovery, Ryosuke came up with a series of more effective ways of breathing in and exhaling, and created the now famous Long Breath Diet.
The lymphatic system, unlike the circulatory system, has no pump to move lymph fluid. So to move the fluid, a form of exercise that incorporates major muscle groups and deep breathing is needed to encourage lymph flow.
Encouraging lymph flow is not only necessary for health, it may also be a factor in alleviating various health conditions such as allergies, eczema and other skin conditions, infections, chronic sinusitis, inflammation, and edema. Jill Johnson, founder of Oxycise diet, goes on to give us this inspiration to breathe deeply every day:
“Fat is made up of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. When the oxygen we breathe reaches these fat molecules, it breaks them down into carbon dioxide and water.” — Jill Johnson
As I was researching this deeper, I found it interesting to understand how the autonomic nervous system works. There are two systems at work: sympathetic nervous-system and the parasympathetic nervous-system. They explain that people either breathe in one of two ways: fight or flight or rest and digest.
Since we are conditioned by society in such a negative way, most of us unconsciously breathe in a shallow manner. When the sympathetic nervous-system is predominant, most people breathe in a pattern that hinges on fear. This leads to being acutely disconnected from our body and we may notice that we are living mostly in our heads.
Do we really want to live a constant state of tension or fear?
To reverse this and be more in a meditative state, day in and day out, we need to breathe consciously if we are to activate the parasympathetic nervous-system. When we make the switch we are in the rest and digest process. After a few days of this experiment, I noticed once I did three or four sets of this breathwork, I had a sense of subtle joy building up. This was that good-to-be-alive feeling. It was rather easy and effortless to be active and to participate in everyday, ordinary tasks without so much drudgery.
Most psychologists and meditation masters will tell you that shallow breathing is a habit of being in fear. Therefore to reverse that, deep diaphragm breathing will move you into a state of rest and digest.
After doing some investigating. I discovered there are two forms to properly develop and practice the Long Breath Diet:
- Tighten the buttocks and place one foot in front of your body while placing 90% of your body weight on your back foot. Once you’re in position, breathe in for 3 seconds while lifting your arms above your head. Then exhale contracting all the muscles in your body to help you get all the air out, for 7 seconds.
It sounds easy enough, but most of the air comes out in the first couple of seconds, leaving you to flex your abs as you run out of breath.
- The second method requires you to stand up straight and tighten the buttocks. Place one hand on your abdomen and another on your lower back, and breath in for 3 seconds while sucking in your midsection. Finally, exhale for 7 seconds and suck in your stomach even more
As I did further research it is true that reverse-breathing helps build up Yang energy in the body that inhibits psychic influence. For those that are more spiritually inclined, the more Yang energy that is built up inhibits the influence of negative spirits by about 80 percent.
“One more very important thing to remember: hungry ghosts can cause harm to you if your chi energy is low or depleted. To counter this, you must wear amulets and ensure that there is an excess of yang energy and wear lots of bright colours.” — Grand Master Lillian Too
She goes on to say, “Yang chi, as you know, scares ghosts away because ghosts are yin. That’s why they give you the willies and why you usually encounter them in the twilight (yin) hours, or at certain hours of the day when yin chi is strong. When people are sick and dying, their chi is quite yin and that’s when they can start to see other spirits too. It all has to do with chi communication.
Many people tell me they’re quite sensitive and hate going to hospitals. Not just because of the smell of all those disinfectants, but because they just feel “ucky” due to all the yin chi. It feels like their chi is drained every time they visit friends who are sick.”
Furthermore, this breathwork is NOT to be done continuously throughout the day. It is best to set aside a few minutes (two or three times a day) when you can go into the privacy of your room and practice. All you need to do is three or four sets. As always, we want to do this on an empty stomach to perform this exercise in the safest way.
“I find reverse breathing a useful technique to use before meditation practice. It is important that you never let this become your natural way to breathe.” — Daoist monk Zhou, Xuan-Yun
Zhou, Xuan-Yun goes on to gives us the following cautionary advice: “Over-practice and incorrect practice of reverse breathing can lead to medical problems. I would not recommend anyone with high-blood pressure to practice reverse breathing.
While I am not a medical professional, I was taught that exerting too much downward pressure on the lower abdomen can cause hemorrhoids, and too much upward pressure on the stomach can contribute to acid reflux problems.”
NOTE: It is important that any advanced breathing techniques be learned and practiced under the supervision of an experienced teacher or health care professional.
I have been experimenting with this form of breathwork for about three weeks. With this unique variation of reverse breathing, I have only needed to eat one or two meals a day. After 16 days of practice I lost six pounds. That is one pound every three days! Pretty impressive. On the 19th day I no longer had nerve-pain that was common at the base of my neck.
The main benefit I find happening is a strengthening of the core (muscles around the stomach) and removing the damage and fatigue within the nervous system which eventually leads to increased stamina. I have found that being mindful when the body slackens, that one or two breaths helps increase the time desired to be in meditative posture.
Toning the body with this unique method has literally doubled the amount of time I am normally in meditative position. Also, with this daily practice it has helped me completely eliminate the urge to binge eat. I believe the major benefits are enjoying more will-power (by toning the nerves) and the secondary benefits are weight control. Hopefully, people will not get obsessed with weight-loss at all costs. It is best to find our body’s natural rhythm and balance without going to extremes with this knowledge.
I noticed that by exhaling properly (by puffing the cheeks) is NOT to be omitted because it will release the tensions along the base of the neck (at C7/T1 vertebra). The stomach and the top of the sternum are the two places where the major lymph nodes gather. Interestingly enough, these are also the two places chiropractors make adjustments. I believe that during these degenerate times something skillful like this is necessary to counteract our poor-condition and unhealthy eating-habits.
With constant practice…doing this breathwork, exactly as shown in the video, will circulate the lymph fluids and release the pent up nerve pressure. By constant practice we can strengthen and tone the nerves alone the spinal column.
I noticed that some comments on YouTube, people were saying that they don’t have the energy or will power to even stand up. That is quite common when we are in a constant lazy and lethargic state. To counteract that tendency, I would recommend doing this in a seated position until you build up more natural self-power. For best results you stand up and lean backwards for the full stretch to help strengthen the nervous system.
NOTE: As always be safe when self-experimenting with breath work. Don’t overdo it…and if something goes wrong, just stop. If you feel spacey or have energy stuck in the head or back of your heart you must stop what you are doing. The energy is going in the wrong direction.
TIP: A good solution to know if you are spaced-out is to ask the question: What was I just doing? If you can’t answer then you are obviously moving energy too high in the body and ungrounded.
Miki Ryosuke, shows his technique for developing core-strength and weight loss: