Breathing Track

img_0707The simplest definition for meditation (mindfulness) ever:
In its simplest (basic) form, it is following the breath on this model, period.
Nothing abstract, confusing, complex or requiring any thing at all.  Your breath and a breath model is all that is needed.  Mine is not special however it does work and saves time making your own.  This ability to focus on this model and slow the breath down will improve your mental wellbeing with daily practice.

  Starting with tracing the breathing track with your hand while you inhale and exhale all the way to application to triggers and beyond healing.
. The Breathing Track was born in an effort to simplify the process of practicing mindfulness for people wanting to heal from Trauma, PTSD, Complex PTSD, agoraphobia or other anxiety disorders.
My path was rather long and arduous starting a meditation or mindfulness (meditation) program in my garage by myself.  From there, I searched out a small local Zen center to strengthen my practice.  This took a few years to reach a place of emptiness (no thought) for short periods.  Along the way, I learned no goals, to sit with intention and support of others.  Loving Kindness was the last piece of the puzzle.
My complex PTSD was much better and I was gaining some freedom and relief from the once constant flow of cortisol and fear.  I would sit and ask for more understanding of the breath and all its connections and power it had.  My wife could not believe the depth and time spent investigating my breath.
I realized some things which were never obvious to me. The inhales were cooler than the exhales.  We pause after an exhale to let the used air to clear before taking in another oxygen filled breath.
The inhale needed a little more time to enrich the exchange of oxygen to feed the brain.  Remember the brain uses 25% of the bodies oxygen.  So all of a sudden these so-called pauses had more importance.
My best results seemed to have a certain slower rhythm and flow when meditating.  How could I make this easier and quicker.  Buddhas Brain came along and finally I knew the secrets of the mind/brain.  We made the ego up, and the fight or flight mechanism was the fear feeling not the thoughts.
I plugged all my knowledge and practice to find a better way.  I knew that we always get lost in thought during the pauses or transitions.  It was easy to just follow the breath in the nostrils noticing how the breath eases past our nose hairs.
So getting lured into thoughts happens in the pauses.  What could we do to fix that.  Finally I connected the inhales and exhales making the current breathing track.
It worked.  Then after a couple of months use other benefits started appearing.  keeping thoughts out of my sits was much easier.  My breath liked the balance and flow of the track.  I found my breath had a speed which it gravitated to and the mind loved the form and balance.
Then I found my mind-body and breath were soothed by the strength of the quiet and focus.  My practice reached deeper levels and more understanding of how to kill PTSD the quickest became clear.

Mindset Using The Breathing Track!


27 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by soul_sista_nyc on January 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    hi marty ~ i like the breathing track idea and i’m going to start tonight. i think i would like to do it each night and each morning…night to see if it helps with the nightmares. day for obvious reasons 🙂

  2. Great, let me know what comes up and relax. It is you taking time to soothe and heal yourself. In a way it is an inner look at ourselves without the negative bias of the left brain.

    There is no right or wrong or good or bad, you just relax and follow the breath on the track. If thoughts come up and you find yourself involved, just come back to the track.

    leave judging alone and you are just practicing a skill. Your goal is to improve your ability to focus on your breath for now.

    Then during the day you can take 60 second practice following the breath and see if you can in a line, at lunch, at the doctors or with your friends or family.

    Using the breathing track like this hooks us up to our emotional regulation center so in time all will calm and heal with effort and daily practice. healing is not comfortable because trauma has to leave it seems as it came.

    Good Luck.

  3. I like your model Marty. I like the idea of it a lot more than most of the apps for the Ipad, etc.
    Great teaching technique for those of us who are visual.
    Namaste. Jen

  4. Thanks Jen,

    As you say, you are visual but even if it was not your dominant sense, the model still offers some unique benefits. Whether you are visual or not is brings that sense into play. Also it brings the sense of touch and movement also. You can actually trace the breath with your eyes open and feel the curves and see how the breath can flow around this neat little continuum.

    My point is that it takes counting the breath which is almost all abstract as you can get. For me a person with complex PTSD and no desire to follow a spiritual path not many options are available.

    The breathing track lets them see and practice wit eyes open to know exactly what to do. It takes all that connotation about meditation and mindfulness and presents Te sufferer with a small model a skill to learn

    What I did not know at first is that this model immediately balanced the inhales and exhales and then made the transition flow with a similarity. The breath, mind and body love this model and are attracted to it. Seems it balances the mind body so it relaxes and thoughts find it difficult to,penetrate.

    If you mix in our hearing and quiet your breath and sound so you can hear your. Death, emptiness is possible with daily practice.

    This breathing track is working for some who just started and the original feeling of someone new is I can do that. I have stumbled upon this and it seems to have no flaws.

    Thanks for the approval. Just think what this could do for kids, for people you help leave this planet and for people suffering from depression, anxiety or trauma.

  5. To focus is to think. To think is to think. To ‘have a goal’ is to think. You’ve got to set it ALL down – and we did for a time. I won’t go into it; but … experiencing infinity and way more. After all, I couldn’t describe it at the time; I had lost the sense of ‘me’ – totally and completely. Time, name, nothing meant . . . nothing and yet everything. Beyond a ‘religious experience’. And our breath slowed way down.

    I will never forget that thing. And the first part of it we start to lose words. Their meaning; their beginning. The rest follows naturally; concepts and things – just fall away like leaves. Until you are ‘expanding’ in an expanding universe within. And you can’t allow yourself to fall into it, meaning think about it – you’ve got to lose that thing, too – all of it.

    We were changed beyond words, and have been ever since. That was in Puerto Rico this last year (July) and we came back a changed man. Very much so. (Everyone noticed – and yes, it was for the better in all ways).

    But you said something I noticed, and something I need to do: Practice daily. Don’t go in ‘too deep’ – or I will lose myself again 🙂

    A really good feeling.

  6. I agree with most of what you have said, I think. Are you saying that you have healed with a mindfulness practice?

    This sentence can be proven with neutoscience not to be accurate.

    To focus is to think. To think is to think. To ‘have a goal’ is to think.

    Focus on the breath is the opposite of thinking, functional MRI’s have been fitted on monks and focus takes them far below any thought.

    A couple have so low of brain activity scientist could not imagine. The scientist were all excited by what they found but could not understand why these monks had no reaction.

    They asked them don’t you know what this means. They said we have known this without your machines.

    I have one goal and that is to be free without worry here and now. My one A goal would be effort. I am responsible for effort, results not be responsibilty or concern. Works well for me.

    I try to navigate life with as little ego invovled as possible.

    I am interested in your opinion and thoughts.

    Please expound some more Jeff.


  7. Posted by Alex on April 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Marty, did you design your track as the archetypal symbol of Infinity, or did the breath,in fact, reveal itself to you as Infinity?

    Just found you. Gratitude, Alex

  8. The breath I guess in a way fit into it. I simply connected the inhale and exhale with sort of a flat curve at first. Mine is a hybrid of infinity by the transitions have a distinct change rather than a more flowing infi it’t.

    It is a perfect symbol and the hybrid works well.

  9. Posted by Lindsay on September 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I have found spinning wool very good for being in the moment and it helps me find an inner peace that I thought I had lost when PTSD came to town. I have tried mindfulness work before but couldn’t let go, but I am going to give your method a solid go everyday after I have done my spinning as I am in such a calm place. I have just finished reading an article in the Ashford magazine called “Weaving the blues away” by Dr Ann Futterman Collier and she says in the article that textile making does indeed improve the mood. (happy to share the article with anyone).

  10. Posted by Lori on February 7, 2014 at 6:32 am

    I used to experience the same thing with throwing pots on a wheel (as above). Marty…do I just sit everyday and trace this with my hand and breathe? For how long?

  11. Trace with your hand for a while then close your eyes and become the breath. Try doing this for three to five minutes at first.

    Let go of thought while you focus on the breath, relax, let go.

  12. Posted by Me on August 2, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Mindfulness hurts. I feel very alone as no one else seems to experience this. After a lifetime of dissociating and ignoring my own emotions, feeling them and being present is intensely painful, and the pain lingers as I have poor emotion regulation. I am skeptical of the ubiquity of mindfulness, I believe the metta bhavana, wishing safety and happiness to myself and others, is a better meditation for me. I am concerned that mindfulness is being applied to every mental health condition and is inescapable- ACT, DBT, the STAIR programme. Please note that I am not saying it doesn’t work. I just think it is being applied carelessly. I was not prepared for the intense emotional pain stirred up by merely being present in my own life, and because I had been told to use mindfulness as self-help I had no tutor, therapist or guide to help me through it. I know of two other people who claim to have had a similar reaction. I am persisting, but i feel like a freak surrounded by people who love it and derive peace from it.

  13. Posted by Preeti Agnihotri on April 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

    i am Preeti and i live in india. I have been following your posts for a couple of years now. i suffer from acute depression since the last 20+ years. Yesterday i finally mustered the energy to try your breathing track model and have been practicing it a couple of times a day since then. it has a real calming effect on me.
    I am so grateful to you for your posts and resources.
    i just took a print out of the breathing track model on your site and practice on that.
    i have been silently suffering from my fears shame guilt and suicidal tendencies for a very very long time.
    could you please share any other resources that might help me.
    one question which you might find silly…. but can i adjust the size of the track to suit my current breathing capacity since i am also severely asthmatic and are there any ready to get models of the track.
    Looking forward to a response.

  14. Thank you for your gratitude and effort. The breathing track is not a magical shape, it is just one continuum that works fluidly. You could use a rectangle or square.
    You can adjust the size of the breathing track to fit your breathing capacity. Actually when we sit quietly and slow of breath, our bodies will gravitate to what pace feels natural to us.
    Some other ideas to add. Tracing the breathing track with eyes open to start. One more way to imprint this model in the memory bank. We want this to be ingrained habit.
    Bring listening into your mindfulness practice. Pick out the quietest sound in the room, then go below it. Try to hear your breath, your inhales and exhales. Notice how the body is completely at rest during the pauses. Notice the cool inhale compared to the warm exhale from the lungs. Notice the difference.
    Focus on the breath, combined with listening intently makes it much more difficult for thought to distract us. Makes letting go and focus much easier.
    Walking meditation. While standing, arms cupped together in front, we take a small controlled step with each exhale. Same model, we are just upright and moving, like real life.
    Application: Practice a three breath focus set during the day. Become aware of where you place your attention, in this present moment or dissociating into doubt and worry. Three slow, focused breaths,,then back to work, chores,,etc.
    Affirmations: Repeat these out loud. Tape yourself and play back during the day.
    I strive to accept all of me, the human strengths and frailties, the flawed and exceptional me, as well. I actively, try my best everyday, to live in this moment, then relax. I try my best to be free, to live free and accept life without judgment.
    Goals: none. All out effort daily is the goal. Persistence. Practice and know this mindfulness space is special, a healing place.
    Good luck and feel free to ask as you heal.

  15. Posted by Anonymous on May 15, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I love the image of figure of eight breathing. That all important momentary pause at top and bottom of the breath.
    Sitting with the breath, training our concentration and attention to the present moment, helps to avoid so much uncons ious activity in response to external stimuli.
    Our well developed self preservation systems entice us into unconscious actions without our being involved in the process.
    Meditaion helps our awareness to filter some of these i puts and helps us to act out of choice not threat.
    good work I think 👍

  16. Posted by CortisolQueen on May 2, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Do you pause after each inhale and exhale, in an open state, or do you actively close the airway and hold your breath? Sorry, I don’t quite get it. Thanks.

  17. Yes we pause after each inhale and exhale.

    It is like a sheet of
    Music flowing rhythmically, balanced and free

  18. We hold
    Our breath after then inhale and hold the pause after the exhale

  19. Posted by Myname on September 15, 2016 at 1:08 am

    I’m going to try this. It’s a nice coincidence that the shape of the breath is the symbol for infinity

  20. Start out tracing the model eyes open with your hand

    Go slow and try five breaths with eyes open then closed

    Master a couple of breaths then expand

    Model is a continuum so the inhales and exhales are connected to the pauses

    When you catch yourself in thought return gently without judgment to the

    Part of the journey is getting lost in thought and coming back

    If you feel a strong emotional thought let it go and go to the body sensation

    Good luck

    I am here to answer any questions and we could Skype and walk you through


  21. […] thoughts do arise, try continuously to bring them around to clarity by focusing on the  breathing track.  This takes us out of a reactionary mind to one of acceptance and feeling of overall […]

  22. […] Try the breathing track if you need help. You are Good, you are the love you want, we were all lied to, and you are already […]

  23. […] must reiterate the importance of the PTSD and CPTSD Breathing Track exercise, which I learned of and began practicing in 2012. I was one of the first people to be recognized […]

  24. I once followed your blog under another account name. Now I want to thank you, Marty, for being one of the angels who have helped me on The Path ❤

  25. Thank you so much for your gratitude

    We share this journey and happiness involves giving and gratitude for what we have

  26. […] are alone. Breathe. Breathe deeply and slowly. Breathe the word love in the sign of infinity, the breathing track, the Law of […]

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