Drumming of another kind: A breathing meditation

Robert Black

I have worked for over 30 years as an Osteopath, Registered Massage Therapist, Remedial Exercise Therapist and Movement Coach/Trainer, now in Sandy Hill. During this time of sequestering myself I have been studying and writing and this is the simple beginning of a physiologically based approach to breathing. The breath of life is, after all, fundamental to everything else we do.

  • Lie on your back. Support under your knees (so your low back is released). If necessary, support of a firm (not hard) surface under your head at the back of the head (but not jammed in your neck curve) to keep your head in alignment with your spine. If necessary.
  • Make sure you are warm enough and comfortable.
  • Place the tips/pads of your three middle fingers at the V junction where your ribs meet at the base of your breast bone (anatomy: at the xiphoid process), with your index finger resting on the bone. These fingers are providing presence without pressure. Gently resting on the skin.
  • Feel for the expansion of your skin only. Feel for the retraction of your skin only. This is not rib cage movement, nor belly movement.
  • You need to release tension and become open/vulnerable to the soft tissue of your solar plexus nerve centre.
  • Pause at the beginning of the out breath to allow/feel for the sweet spot of the elastic recoil of the lungs (anatomy: the elastin fibres in the alveoli of the lungs). Then let the skin “implode/retract.”
  • Do not engage with the hard overwhelming control movement of the rib cage which will overwhelm the feeling of the movement we are after by overpowering the feeling with the powerful accessory respiratory muscles.
  • With your intention, (not your will!), amplify the feeling of expansion and retraction of the skin of your drum. This is a very vulnerable space to be in so make sure you don’t have a cat ready to pounce on you!

ConceptsThis should be pure respiratory diaphragm breathing. In this exercise you want to get to the level that you are no longer doing the breathing but that you feel that you are being breathed.

Note: No one has ever committed suicide by not breathing!


I find it takes 20 minutes to half an hour to really kick in to the experience and benefits of this physiological meditative technique. And practice does make more and more perfect.