High in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet, young monks must prove themselves in
a contest of will and focus against the deathly chill of winter. Using special
meditation techniques and breathing practices know as Tumo, they must survive
in a freezing room made of stone from dusk until dawn the next day, wearing only
a thin wrap that is very similar in thickness to a bed sheet.
Though it took several years of research to find out how this technique is done,
and a bit of tinkering to improve upon it for Western minds, this secret can now be
shared with you in full here.
Understand before starting, to the Monks of the Mountains, these techniques are
a purely spiritual effect. While they preform all of the physical steps listed below, it
is not though to be the main portion of this technique at all. To them, the mind and
will play the most important part in most activities in life, this one being no
exception at all.
Most people reading this may tend to ignore the significance of this and view only
the outward trappings. Both are mistakes. We are not creatures of mind and spirit
alone, and are also not beings that exist only as physical bodies. Taking the time
to integrate ourselves fully and except ourselves as being both physical and
mental beings allows us to use a far greater portion of our personal potential.
Before you start this warming exercise, you will want to arrange your surroundings
- Find or create a sheltered space, where little to no wind passes or circulates
around you. This will aid in preventing loss of body heat. It only makes sense to
keep the increased heat you are generating as well as possible.
- Find something, a rug, a piece of wood, a pillow, to sit on, so that you are off
of the floor or ground, as contact with chill surfaces can lead to rapid loss of heat,
defeating your efforts.
- Find a voluminous wrap of some kind, in which pockets of air warmed by your
body heat can become trapped. While many small pockets of warmed air is the
ideal, still air is the most important factor here. It is the best insulation you can find without pre-planning.
- Sit comfortably off of the floor, with your back very straight and
as close to straight up and down as possible along your bodies core. Don’t hunch
or bunch up and try not to lean forward or back too much. Make your body heat
travel through as much mass as possible on it’s way up and out of your body.
- Hold your hands, palm up, on your lap, with your arms relaxed, but as close to
touching your body along their whole length as you can manage without
tightening your arms. If you can hold or drape a bit of material over your hands,
so much the better.
- Lightly tighten your stomach muscles, using about one quarter the effort it
would take to do a sit-up, and keep them tight as you inhale, extending your
stomach as you breath in (rather than lifting your chest up, this is important as the
physical work required to warm your body is being shared between the very high
endurance stomach wall and diaphragm.) and tightening your stomach and chest
muscles as you exhale. Try to fill your lungs full on the inhalation and do it slowly,
and empty your lungs as fully as possible on the exhalation. This will help prevent
hyperventilation. (Breathing slow is the key.)
- Breath only through your nose for this exercise. It allows the greatest pre-warming
of air and heat retention than breathing through the mouth. This alone will warm you, possibly enough for survival, but there is a bit more which will really help to kick start the fires within.
- Focus on the pit of your throat, a point just behind the half circular dip. Behind
this point (more or less) is where your Thyroid gland sits. Feel it growing warmer
(in your imagination, thoughts, or in your physical perception, what ever works for you.) and feel it enlarge a bit, swell and tingle as more thyroid hormone is
secreted into your system.) Just focusing on this spot can be enough to trigger an
increase in thyroid production. The more intense the focus, the greater the
amount of metabolic boosting hormone will be produced.
- As you continue with all of the above, focus on a stream of fire, moving from your
Hara (Japanese, a point a few inches below your belly button.)Up the front of your
body, warming you as it goes, up the chest and neck, through the face and then
to the top of the skull. At this point it folds over the top of the skull and runs down
the back of the body, down the spine, until it enters the Hara from the other side
of the body, forming a loop of hot energy.
As you inhale you should imagine this burning fire moving as if pushed from the
front, and as you exhale, you should image it as if it is being pulled from the back.
Keep this image up while working, to help the capillaries along the core of your
body open up and relax. It will also cause your mind, which is doing many things at
once, to increase in neural recruitment, which tends to raise the metabolic rate.
You should be breathing between six and sixteen times per minute for best affect.
You will be able to use this technique to stave off bitter chill and even potential
death, as long as you use it correctly and as soon as possible. It is best to
practice first however, as the stress on the diaphragm can make you sore the next
day if you have not conditioned yourself properly ahead of time.
Very few people have learned these techniques outside of Tibet. It is hoped that
this skill will aid you in hard times, if they should ever come.