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Ancient system to count breaths, by Susana Laborde-Blaj

Two ways to focus our attention, which the ancient yogis had been doing for many years, are the attention to breath, and purposeful gesture and touch.

While doing breathing exercises (pranayama), there is an ancient system that puts those two together, and which I find very helpful to focus my attention. It will allow you to keep track of 12 rounds of breath.

With the tip of the thumb of one hand, one touches the proximal phalanx of the index of that hand, then the intermediate or middle, then the distal, then goes to the distal phalanx of the middle finger, the distal of the ring finger, the distal of the pinkie, , the intermediate or middle of the pinkie, the proximal of the pinkie, then the proximal of the ring finger, then the proximal of the middle finger, then the intermediate or middle of the middle finger, and finally the intermediate of the ring finger. The whole thing may sound complex, but can become very easy at the end, and it describes a spiral. even if it's not exactly the same, it reminds me of the golden radio (also known as the divine radio, or divine proportion). when I taught this to one of my peers, a friend and yoga teacher, she was so excited saying: "My hand is a Mala!"

You can do this very simple drawing at home, using your hand, a peace of paper and a pen.


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