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Chi Kung Breathing Practice

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Post time: 2009-04-27 14:35:19
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Exercise one is mainly concerned with breathing. The way you breathe has a lot to do with how you feel, physically and emotionally. This exercise describes three breathing patterns that you can use in your Chi Kung practice, and can also be used in your everyday life when you want to relax more, feel more energized, feel more alive.


1. Tummy Breathing
Find a comfortable place to lie down with your arms by your sides, the palms of your hands facing up, the feet a little apart, legs uncrossed, and allow yourself to feel the places where the floor underneath you supports your weight, the backs of the heels, the backs of the legs, the buttocks, the shoulders, the back of the head, and just allow yourself to relax into that support. Whether the body is tense or relaxed, the weight of the body is always completely supported by the floor, just as much as if your body were a sack of potatoes that someone had dropped on this floor.
Start to breathe using your tummy, so that as you breathe in your tummy gets a little fatter, and as you breathe out it goes down again. The feeling is as if you were drawing air into your tummy. What's actually happening is that you're using a muscle called the diaphragm, underneath the bottom of your lungs, that's gently pushing your tummy out. So every time you breathe in, let your tummy get a little fatter, and as you breathe out, just let it go.

If you can, start the breath down from rather low down towards the pubic bone, so that the feeling of getting a little fatter in your tummy is starting way down towards the pubic bone, and coming up towards the navel or even the solar plexus.

As you breathe out, take the opportunity to relax your body even more. As you breathe in, you can become more aware of you body, and as you breathe out, you can let it relax even more, trust the support of the floor beneath you.

[20-sec pause]



2. Complete Breathing
Now I'm going to ask you to switch to another breathing pattern, using both your tummy and your chest. For this one I want you to start with the pattern we were just doing, breathing into your tummy, and when your tummy's full, start to breathe into your chest as well. Fill the chest, and as you fill the chest, you can even allow your tummy to contract a little. So first as you breathe in, your tummy gets fatter, and as you continue to breathe in more, your chest gets fatter and your tummy goes in again. So the feeling is as if there's a wave that's going up the body, staring at your pubic bone and going through your tummy then going up through your chest then going all the way up towards your neck. It's like a python swallowing an egg, as the egg moves through the body.
As you breathe out the same wave goes down again, so you're breathing out of your chest, then out of your tummy.

So there's a big, full wave that's moving up through your body on the inbreath, and going down again on the outbreath.

You may notice that you take in a lot of air with each breath this way, maybe even four or five times as much as you usually do, and just one cycle of your breath can last maybe 20 seconds. See how much you can relax your tummy muscles. Every time you breathe in, see if you can fill your tummy a little more, and every time you breathe out, see if you can empty and relax the chest even more, so that you can really fully breathe out all the old stale air. It may feel a little unfamiliar to breathe out that much; just allow it to be a little unfamiliar.

Take a really full breath in, starting with the tummy, then moving up through the chest, and then as you breathe out really empty the chest, really let it go, just let all the muscles of the chest and the ribs be soft, breathing out all the way. As you breathe in, you're taking in all this Chi energy from the air, and the good Chi, the energy that you can use, you send down to your tummy as you breathe out and store it for later. And the energy that you can't use, the old, stale air, or just stale energy anywhere in your body, you breathe out. So you take in all this Chi, and as you breathe out, you breathe out the stuff you don't need from the top of your lungs, and the stuff you wanna keep, you pack down into your tummy and save for later.

As you continue to do this, you get the feeling that your chest is relaxing more, and you're getting more and more energy around your midsection.

Once you can breathe like this using the front of your body, start to use the back of your body as well, starting to breathe into your lower back, using the muscles of the lower back, expanding the lower back just in the same way as you expand your tummy to make room for the breath, and just in as when you breathe in you can feel a wave going up the front of your body, so you can feel a wave going up the back of your body as well. This big breathing wave is going through your whole body, front and back.

Let every part of your torso be loose, let your tummy be loose, let your chest be relaxed and soft, and let your lower back and your upper back both be relaxed and easy so that this wave can go through them.

In the Chinese system, the first type of breathing you did, just in your tummy, is called 'post-birth breathing,' or Tan Tien breathing, and the second type is called wave breathing, or 'pre-birth breathing.'


3. Circular Breathing
Now I'd like to move on to a third type of breathing, called 'circular breathing' and for this type of breathing you don't use as much control. Just take a full, deep breath IN (Breathes), and then let it go - just let it go anyway it goes, take another deep breath in,[B] and just let it go using your tummy, your chest ,whatever.
Breathe continuously with no gap at all between the inbreath and the outbreath; that's why it's called circular breathing.

Breathe in actively, so you do the inbreath, and just let the outbreath go, let it happen naturally, let it happen at its own speed. You can use either the mouth or the nose to breathe through, but choose one or the other - don't mix them. You may start to get a little high, exhilarated, energized. You may also start to feel tingling in your fingers and your toes. If these sensations start to get too strong, just ease up some.

These three types of breathing all have their own usefulness. The first type of breathing where you're breathing down in your tummy is good for calming, centering, relaxing. The second type, where you're using your whole torso in this very slow, even wave, is good for building up energy in the body, and I'm going to refer to this later in some of our later exercises.

The third type is good where you have a lot of energy moving already, maybe emotions coming up, tensions - lots of stuff is happening. This type of breath is very good at unblocking that and letting it come out, free it up.

Feel free to use any of these patterns, or any other pattern that feels good, in the rest of the exercises.

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Post time: 2009-04-27 14:35:30
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Fei Jing Soaring Eagle is a family style which comes from the Hubei province, Wudang mountain. It is a very closed system the style has been passed on strictly from father to son for centuries and that is why very little is known about it. However, in 1981 one of the youngest members of the family - Li Han Ching - chose a few people from outside the family to teach them this art. One of these people was teaching in my country - Bulgaria - until he passed away a few years ago. His death was so sudden that he wasnt able to leave any information to his students about where other disciples of the Han family may be found. If anybody has even the smallest piece of information connected to this style Id be most grateful if youre willing to share it with me. I know that many people who practice martial arts from all over the world come to this site which, btw, is so great, so my hope is that you cold have some info on this. Thanks for your time
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