Edward Dingle was a journalist and cartographer who lived for many years in China. He studied with “The Sage of Singapore”, who sent him to study in Tibet. It was there that he learned the Eight Key Breaths and the Five Tibetan Rites. He changed his name to Ding Le Mei and when he returned to the States he founded the Institute of Mentalphysics, where he taught the Breaths and the Rites and his philosophy. Eventually the Institute allowed a variety of spiritual groups to hold events there and required that each group teach the Breaths and the Rites to participants. When I went through Nine Gates Mystery School in 1990 we held our second session at the Institute and learned those two practices.
I loved them from the beginning but at that stage the chronic fatigue and muscle issues were so severe that it limited how much I could feel their impact. I was quite dedicated to my yoga practice–and really needed the regular routine just to keep some of my muscles in a tolerable place– and though I took up the Breaths and the Rites periodically I didn’t stick with them. As noted in the last post, in about 2008 I decided it was time to practice them again. By that time my body had opened up enough that I could feel their power much more.
I like to start my practice with the Breaths. There isn’t a lot written about them and the information from Ding Le Mei is mainly a treatise on prana and pranayama practice with little info about the specifics of the way the Breaths work. His instructions have been posted here so you can read what he had to say and see the pictures and instructions if you’re interested in trying the breaths.
As I’ve practiced, I’ve paid attention to the construction of the practice and I would add that I feel the pattern of the breaths buids energy/prana in particular areas as you hold and move and the movements help the energy to flow more forcefully. The overall impact is increased energy but I think it opens some major pathways so that the energy you build moves through more of your body.
My touchstone in the last few years, as the muscles in my face and head have been s-l-o-w-l-y unwinding, has been increased activity in those muscles when I do practices that push more prana through the nadis. The Eight Key Breaths have really built up energy in those locked up places and helped to push through those knots.
I like them as a beginning practice because they lift my energy so nicely that it gives me more energy for doing the rest of my practices. I also feel that the enhanced energy then leads nicely into the chi gung practice. Flying Crane opens major joints and helps chi/prana to flow throughout the body. When I do the breaths first, I feel the chi gung takes off from the enhanced energy they create. As the movements open my body even more, the already-increased flow grows more powerful.
After I started faithfully doing these three practices I experienced the most significant forward movement in my long journey to health that I have ever had.
LOVE those Key Breaths!
Collective Prayer Sundays: In case you’re new, we’re finding 10 minutes at a minimum to pray or chant or meditate (or???) for peace every Sunday. Details are on the CPS page. For comments: you can comment here or on that page or you can go to the Facebook page.