Breathing, the Foundation of Life

Because of poor breathing habits, most people use less than a third of their lung capacity. The air sacs (alveoli) in the other two-thirds of the lungs have become lazy through lack of use. Even with the active air sacs, many of them and their tubes (bronchi) are choked with pollutants. By keeping our breathing deep and slow, we gradually cleanse our active air sacs of pollutants.

Deep breathing enables more oxygen to reach deeper into the lungs, replacing stale air that has been collected there for a long time by shallow breathers. Gradually more and more passive air sacs are brought to active service. Chi Kung enhances the lung capacity, increasing the intake of air from an average of 500 cc per breath to about 1500 cc.Chi Kung enables a better exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Our bodies are well provided with capillaries, which are collateral or sub-branches of meridians. In one square centimeter on the skin, there are about thirty capillaries, but only two or three are filled with blood in an average person. In a Chi Kung exponent, as many as ten to fifteen are filled with blood. This is what is meant by the expression `Chi Kung cleanses the meridians and promotes chi and blood circulation.' This does not cause a greater loss of blood if we cut ourselves.



This means better blood circulation to bring warmth and nutrients to all our cells. Importantantly, though less noticeable, is a more efficient disposal system for cleansing our bodies of toxins and dead cells. Each time we breathe out, millions of dead cells are disposed of; and each time we breathe in, millions of new cells are born. Indeed there is more than poetry in the saying that breathing is the very foundation of life, and Chi Kung is, among other things, the art of correct breathing. In this way, Chi Kung enhances our self-regenerative system. An average person breathes about sixteen times a minute. A Chi Kung practitioner breathes only about five or six times a minutes, as his breathing has become slow and deep through practice. Slow, deep breathing not. only provides a better and smoother supply of energy, it is also directly related to mental freshness and tranquillity. The slower and deeper the breathing, the calmer a person is, and the less likely he is to become breathless or fatigued.

Chi Kung slows down a person's brain wave frequency from more than fifteen times a second to around ten times a second, thus enabling him to stay at the alpha level eve during normal situations. This explains why Chi Kung masters are always calm, even when faced with demanding situations. It also enables them to develop sound judgment and instant reflexes, and to make quick decisions.

It was for these wonderful benefits - healthy and fitness, a more abundant and efficient energy supply, faster recovery from injury, better stamina and endurance, the freshness mind to make and carry out quick decisions and tranquillity at all times - that kung masters in the past used Chi Kung to enhance their fighting skills. If it worked for kung masters - whose stamina and endurance to last during long hours of fighting, and whom the wrong decision or slow action could cost them their lives - it can work modern sportsmen who want to be champions.

 

Energy Flowing Up the Spine

The following exercise, known as Loq Breathing in Chi Kung school, stimulates the flow of energy along the full length of the spine from the changqiang vital point at the tip of the tail bone to baihui at the crown of the head. It is similar to kundalini in yoga, This exercise should only be attempted you have successfully completed Abdominal Breathing and Submerged Breathing .

  • Stand upright and relax. Place your pals on your abdomen.
  • Perform Abdominal Breathing about times.
  • Then perform Submerged Breathing five times. As you breathe in, visualize cosmic energy flowing in through your nose and down to your huiyin vital point just near the anus. The in-flowing breath should be quite long, and your abdomen should rise gently.
  • Pause for a short while after breathing in. Then clench your toes and lift your anus (as'if holding your anus to prevent faeces coming out), as your chi travels the very short distance between the huiyin (before the anus) and the changqiang (after the anus).
  • Next, breath out through your mouth and visualize chi flowing up your spine from changqiang to baihui at the crown of your head. Gently relax your toes and anus. Your abdomen will fall slightly as you breathe out.
  • Pause for a short while after breathing out. Repeat this procedure of breathing into the huiyin-changqiang area, and breathing out to the baihui, about twenty-six times. Remember to clench your toes and lift your anus, and do not forget two pauses.
  • Complete the exercise with Standing Meditation. Think of your huiyin-changqiang energy field, which is known as the `bottom of the sea' in classical texts. Visualize a beautiful full moon at the bottom of the sea, and let the pleasant moon energy gleam up at your body. Later, when this energy swells, enjoy almost unconsciously the flow of energy up your spine. You will probably feel some pulsation at your huiyin-changqiang region; and later at your baihui.

Do not be surprised to experience a heightening of sexual excitement when your energy is focused at the huiyin-changqiang energy field. But do not abuse this feeling. Later, when your energy is focused at the higher energy field of baihui, you may find that you prefer mental or spiritual joys to carnal pleasures.

Empty your Heart and Fill your Abdomen


 

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