Tummo, meaning inner fire is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice that allows us to make significant physical changes to our body temperature using meditation, breathing techniques and our minds.
If you’re not so familiar with the practice of Tummo, think Wim Hof, the iceman who is able to immerse his naked body in freezing temperatures for long periods and walk across snowy landscapes for hours without freezing to death. Although, Wim Hof (featured in the photo) doesn’t use Tummo exactly — he has his own method called the Wim Hof Method, Tummo is a practice that is designed to help you gain greater control over your body’s temperature.
In this post, I’ve included a mix of videos and guides that I’ve come across about Tummo. However, like with any meditation technique, please be objective when reading. The material here is a collection of information I have discovered and collated to share on ThoughtBrick. I know people have mixed opinions about sharing certain meditation techniques online, so with this in mind, be careful and use your intuition if something doesn’t feel right.
Tummo meditation and body temperature
Watch this Tummo experiment, only 2:30 minutes long. It features a group of Tibetan Tummo practitioners who are able to control their body temperatures and explains what the Monks do when they practise Tummo. I’ve summarised the exercise further on in this article.
What are the benefits of practising Tummo meditation?
Before I talk about the science behind Tummo and how you can practise the technique, I think it’s important to discuss what the purpose of Tummo is. Why practise Tummo meditation in the first place and how does it differ from other types of meditation?
1. More control of your body’s temperature
Being able to control your body’s temperature using breathing techniques, meditation and your mind.
2. Surviving in freezing temperatures
As a result of being able to control your temperature, advanced Tummo practitioners may be able to survive in freezing temperatures with very little clothing. Human installation artist and photographer Spencer Tunick springs to mind.
3. Intuitive, mental and physical progression
According to spiritofchi.com when you have the flow of Tummo inside you, your physical, mental, emotional and intuitive levels will “progress much faster.” I’m not entirely sure what this means, but I’m happy to take it on board — not as scientific fact — just as an idea.
Again, many people advocate Tummo’s ability to heal — physically, mentally, emotionally … How exactly and for which illnesses is unclear but the potential is clearly there.
How to practise Tummo?
I’ve included two Tummo exercises:
1. The exercise the Tibetan practitioners were doing in the video above
2. An in depth inner heat meditation taken from How to Meditate: A Practical Guide by Kathleen McDonald
Tummo meditation exercise taken from the video
To summarise, in the video, the Tummo practitioners say they practise the following three techniques in order to get the Tummo energy flowing.
Details weren’t specified in the video, but do whatever you need to do to reach a state of relaxation. Tensing different parts of your body and then relaxing them might help.
2. Focus on your breathing
Similar to other types of meditation, once you’re relaxed and sitting still with your eyes closed, focus on your breath — first your in breath and then your out breath — over and over again.
3. Visualise a flame
The Tummo practitioners said they pictured air coming in and out as a “kind of energy” that they visualised as a flame or fire coursing through their chest.
Inner Heat Tummo Meditation Exercise
This Tummo exercise was taken from the book How to Meditate: A Practical Guide by Kathleen McDonald and also on the Sea Kayaker.
Tummo and scientific investigations
Here are a few Tummo experiments that have been conducted over the last few decades. Hopefully we’ll see more in the coming years.
1. In 1982 Benson and colleagues studied the physiological effects of practising Tummo by conducting an experiment with three Indo-Tibetan Yogis in India (Himalayas). They found that the Yogis were able to increase the temperature in their fingers and toes by a massive 8.3 degrees. You can find more info here Tummo Wikipedia page
2. Find out more about this 2012 Tummo experiment that took place in Normandy, France with Tibetan Monks. Meditation changes temperatures:Mind controls body in extreme experiments
Whilst researching Tummo, I came across a blog called The Tummo Experiment which involved a group of people who were new to Tummo but interested to experience first hand what it had to offer. The blog is their fascinating journey of what happened, what they discovered and their own thoughts on Tummo.
The information about Tummo on this page is a collection of resources I have discovered about Tummo over the last year and thought I’d share what i’ve found out with others.
However, you might also be interested in learning about the Wim Hof method which is an inner heat meditation similar to Tummo, but doesn’t just involve sitting. You can find out more here: Wim Hof Method. If you have any specific questions about Tummo or inner heat meditations, Wim Hof is the person to ask.
If you have had any personal experiences with Tummo, you’d like to give other readers Tummo tips or you have any thoughts, questions or opinions about this meditation practice, please leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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