Breathing recommendation?

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Breathing recommendation?

Postby pilotfish » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:43 pm

Hello.

I'm just starting Qi Gong and enjoying it (8 Pieces of Brocade). From this DVD and other sources, breathing seems to be a critical part. Likewise, understanding Qi is important, including how to focus on it, "lead" it, "smooth" it, and other things that are interesting but their meaning isn't clear.

Can someone recommend a book or DVD (or two) that introduces the concept of Qi and perhaps basic principles of breathing? YMAA has many books and DVDs on these -- which one(s) are good for starters?

Thanks.
Lew
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby Dvivid » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:01 am

Hi

If you have that DVD, you can follow along and refine your breathing and leading of Qi. The Eight Brocades is considered "layperson" qigong, meaning that you don't need to know any theory to benefit.

Focus on breathing more deeply, quietly and slowly during your practice. As your limbs move in toward the centerline of the body, you're inhaling, and as the limbs move away from the body, you're exhaling. This is a guideline, not a rule. Over time, you "regulate" the breathing so that you develop healthier breathing habits, without the need to think about it and make adjustments all the time.

The same is true for regulating the body, mind, qi, and spirit (shen), which are the next stages of progress.

If you want to know more, I recommend either this book:
http://ymaa.com/publishing/books/qigong ... _breathing

Or, these two DVDs:

What is Qi?: http://ymaa.com/publishing/dvd/qigong_D ... igong_DVD1

Qigong Breathing: http://ymaa.com/publishing/dvd/qigong_D ... igong_DVD2

Article: http://ymaa.com/articles/qigong-meditat ... -breathing

hope this helps,
David
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby pilotfish » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:44 pm

Thank you, David. The recommendations look good, and I'll be looking at them further. Thanks also for associating inhalation with movement in toward centerline and exahalation with outward movement. I had it backwards.

I've been concentrating on long, slow breaths by counting to three for each inhalation and each exhalation: one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three; two thousand one, etc. That puts me at about 30 minutes for the standing set doing half the prescribed reps. My sense is that controlling the lungs/torso -- plus the horse stances -- uses large muscle groups that broke a sweat the first few sessions. That's not happening now, so the conditioning for these activities is working.

Thanks again. Looking forward to more.
Lew
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby joeblast » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:59 am

Lew, as you get more in practice with breathing in general, when you are able, stop counting and focus your awareness on just the breath and movement. You dont need to waste energy thinking of timing once you get a feel for your timing :)
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby pilotfish » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:44 am

joeblast -- looking forward to that. As it is, I have to have a way to control the number of reps, or I'll be there too long or too short.
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby pilotfish » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:40 pm

Followup question -- 8 Pieces of Brocade. I'm almost at the full prescribed number of reps. I'm still at about 1/2 hour, so I've raised the pace a bit (cut the average time for each rep). And I continue to feel the exertion in my torso, legs, and shoulders.

To normalize my pace, I've switched focus from counting to simply exhaling fully, pushing with the lower abs below the navel to empty the lungs.

As I've paid more attention to exhaling, I've noticed that I do it one of two ways: (a) I feel a pushing in of the whole lower ab complex, as well as a pushing out of the anal muscles (almost as if I'm defecating), (b) I feel a pushing in of the lower ab complex, but with a contraction of the anal muscles, almost drawing everything up into the pelvis.

I hope this makes sense. Is there a significant difference between the two experiences as I've described for purposes of proper breathing and these exercises?
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby Dvivid » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:57 am

Abdominal breathing is not necessary in the Eight Brocades. But, anytime you can incorporate it into your practice, it will make your training more efficient.

The type of breathing in A. does not make sense. if you are drawing in the abdomen, you should be lifting the pelvic floor, as in B. This is reverse abdominal breathing.

Conversely, you can use the more gentle and relaxing normal abdominal breathing, in which you inhale and expand the abdomen and gently push the pelvic floor down.

One or the other.

A note about focusing on your exhalation; emptying the lungs completely is a great way to develop deeper breathing habits. but, be aware of the duration of your breaths as they pertain to the time of year.

In Fall and Winter, energy is waning and we can practice more "Yang" exercises safely. This means, your exhalation should be as long as, or longer than, your inhalation. As you exhale slowly and mindfully, your body's energy field expands outward, making the body more Yang.

In the Spring/Summer, you want to make the body more Yin, so focus on extending the inhalation.
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby pilotfish » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:15 pm

thanks, David
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Re: Breathing recommendation?

Postby joeblast » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:39 am

Lew, I dont know if D's interpretation of completely emptying the lungs was implied or not, but generally most practices do not require full emptying of the lungs. If you are doing meditative breathing then that is a case where you would specifically not empty the lungs completely, since emptying them beyond a certain point actually requires a significant input of additional energy. If the focus is maximum energy efficiency as would be appropriate for meditation, then you really only want to empty them 70, 75%, ostensibly making the middle 70-75% of the full range of your breath the functional, usable range, simply for the fact that significant additional energetic input is necessary to accommodate those ranges of breath.

You'll probably find more full emptying or full vital capacity breathwork in certain yogas.
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