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Tummo Meditation: Learn the “Inner Fire” Breathing Technique

tummo meditation
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / klimkin

Tummo meditation is an advanced practice, but that doesn't mean you can't use it to access your inner fire. Our simple guide will help you start the journey.

Like all forms of meditation, Tummo has its early origins deep in the oldest known scriptures of mankind, the Vedas. These ancient yogic texts gave birth to a variety of meditation methods that spread across the globe and are still used today. Originally a tantric practice, Tummo combines breath manipulation with visualization.

Translated by scholars as ‘inner fire,’ and ‘fierce woman,’ the practice was historically associated with the female goddess of heat and passion. So whether you would like to find your inner fire, divine goddess or fierce passion, Tummo might just be for you.

It has been practiced by Tibetan Buddhist monks for centuries and has some fascinating applications. In the bitter, sub-zero temperatures of the Himalayan mountains, these experienced meditators were studied as they wrapped soaking wet sheets around their naked bodies, and appeared to dry them with only the power of their minds.

More modern practitioners that use elements of Tummo, like the Iceman, Wim Hof, have also displayed the almost super-human effects of this powerful practice. And scientists can’t get enough.

The Science

Can science access the power of the human mind?
Can science access the power of the human mind?
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / geralt)

We already know that even the simplest meditation techniques can have powerful effects on the mind, body and soul. The science connecting meditation and improved wellbeing is everywhere. Tummo suggests, however, that we might be able to go a step further, and actually control some internal bodily functions – like temperature.

While not exactly Tummo, this breathing method is an adaptation and supports the theory that we can overcome a huge amount of challenges using our mind-body connections. 

Practice – The Secret To Successful Meditation

Meditation is a unique and personal experience.
Meditation is a unique and personal experience.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / brenkee)

The most beautiful part of any meditation practice is that it is a personal and unique journey. There are no hard and fast rules and many of us forget that. We often think that our minds should be completely empty or that we should experience some form of bliss or heightened state of being after closing our eyes. The reality is that we are often fighting off a hundred thoughts, fidgeting, scratching and struggling to stay in a comfortable position during many meditations sessions. And that’s OK.

Meditation can be challenging, especially for beginners. As a more advanced practice, Tummo can be very challenging, but its positive effects are worth the effort. It is associated with a wealth of health benefits  – from improved mental clarity to optimal physical endurance among many others. The hardest part and secret to any meditation is practice. This simple guide will help you to begin your Tummo journey using 6 easy, step-by-step instructions.

How to Practice Tummo

Access your inner fire with Tummo meditation..
Access your inner fire with Tummo meditation..
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / yeiBB)

Tummo meditation is a combination of breathing techniques (pranayama) and visualisation. If you find your mind wandering, don’t worry and just bring your focus back to the breath and the image of a fire raging in your belly. The first few attempts may be difficult, but you will find yourself relaxing into it more easily as you become more familiar with what to do.

Tummo may not be a suitable form of meditation if you are pregnant or suffer from epilepsy, cardiovascular or neurological disorders. Always consult your doctor before starting any advanced meditation practices if you suffer from these or any other serious health conditions. Do not attempt any aspect of Tummo while driving or operating machinery as it can cause dizziness. And finally, practice Tummo on a relatively empty stomach. 


Getting Prepared for Tummo Meditation

Step 1: Posture

You do not have to achieve a perfect lotus position and spinal alignment to be a good meditator. You can practice in a chair with your feet on the floor, or ideally, on a comfortable mat on the ground with legs crossed over each other. Because some people do experience dizziness practicing Tummo, staying as close to the floor is advised for beginners. The important part is keeping your spine straight and maintaining good posture, as energy is believed to flow through the spine and throughout the rest of the body.

Step 2: Set a Goal or Intention

This is an important step in any meditation and one we often forget. Ask yourself what you would like to achieve. Think about the concepts behind Tummo, like inner fire, passion, connections and female energies. Perhaps you would like to improve your motivation, your endurance or your inner strength. You might want to find new ways of activating those mind, body, soul connections, or you might just want to destress and switch off for awhile. Regardless of your goals and intentions, remember to set one before any meditation session.

Step 3: Close Your Eyes & Imagine

When you are ready, try to imagine yourself as a completely empty shell. See a small flame developing in your core, or the pit of your belly. The pelvis and abdomen house the first three chakra points in the yogic chakra system. They are associated with survival, deep grounding in the earth, passion and self-esteem. See, feel and experience this fire as it ignites inside you. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to those flames and the breath.

Belly Breathing

Breathe deeply into your core.
Breathe deeply into your core.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / KELLEPICS)

There are several ways we can practice Tummo breathing and there are differing instructions as to the exact breath pattern we should follow. Diaphragmatic, or bell breathing is a form of pranayama or breath manipulation that can become an advanced practice on its own. 

Place your left hand on your abdomen and your right hand over the left. Your hands will remain here for the entire session. Through the hands, bring your awareness to the rhythms and strength of your breath. To keep it simple, we will give you step-by-step instructions that can be followed easily:

1. Inhale deeply through your nose

Arch your back and push your belly out to draw as much air into your lungs as you can. Imagine the oxygen flooding through your body and visualize it fueling the fire. Hold the chin up when you breath in.

2. Exhale as deeply and forcefully as you can

Drop your chin and exhale through pursed lips as though you are blowing out a candle. Curl slightly forward and use se the muscles in your belly and pelvic floor to push all of the air from you lungs. Feel and imagine the fire spreading through your body as you breath.  

3. Repeat this forceful breathing five times.

4. Hold after Breath 5

On the sixth inhalation, hold the breath for 5-10 seconds and swallow. Hold your chin up and shoulders slightly back as you hold the breath deep inside your body.

4. Visualize

As you hold the breath, feel and see the heat being generated in your core. Imagine that fire flowing through your entire body and feel the temperature rise. If you wish, bring to mind your goal or intention and let the power of the heat fuel you towards it.

5. Release

Exhale after 10 seconds, slowly and again through rounded lips. Allow the chin to drop and shoulders forward. Use your pelvic and abdominal muscles to push every last drop of air from your lungs. As you do, feel the heat, see the flames and let yourself fill with the force of the energy.

6. Repeat

Repeat the cycle until you feel mentally clear and warm!

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