Appendix B to Chapters 4 and 5
Extra Body Breath Exercises
(still being developed)
BASIC BUDDHIST BREATHING
I experience a clear distinction between my outside body and my breath body, or the body under my skin. So the idea of "the whole breath body" makes perfect sense.
There is a valuable passage right at the beginning of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Section 1. "Breathing In and Out". The original translation is wonderfully unclear about if body or breath is intended, or if the two are infact intrinsically connected as in my experience of getting bigger and smaller.
The first English translation came from Nyanaponika Thera (1962) (on page 130) Nyanaponika was a German who became a Buddhist monk and directly translated K E Neumann's original German translation from the late 1800s.
'Conscious of the whole (breath-) body. I shall breathe in', thus he trains himself. 'Conscious of the whole (breath-) body. I shall breathe out', thus he trains himself.
A modern translation by U Jotika & U Dhamminda (1986)
"Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe in", thus he trains himself; "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself.
This "whole breath body" idea is lost in all other modern translations which give just "whole body' or 'entire body". (Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna References)
COUNTING WITH BREATHS
I often start by counting through my fingers. Conscious of and letting go of each finger, - from the little fingers to the thumbs, - both sides at the same time, – then i count through my toes.
To start with it's hard to feel all your toes, but with repetition you will be able to identify all the individual toes and you might start feeling all the channels and nerves - inter-related and connected with each finger and toe - running through the legs and arms.
I often combine fingers and toes together: being aware of all the little fingers and toes to all the big fingers and toes. And, sometime later, it's a whole new dimension to go through the spaces inbetween the fingers where all the soft parts are.
When you've more time and motivation going through the vertebrae in the spinal column is invigorating, and going through the spaces between the vertebrae is the next step.
There are a number of methods which scan the body, i don't use them and i don't know them intimately, but they all seem good.