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Home > Newsletters > December 2007 > Qi Gong Breathing

Qi Gong Breathing

By Wing-benn Deng, BS, MATCM, PhD, Dipl Ac & CH (NCCAOM), LAc

There are five major components of practicing Chinese Qi Gong. All five seek to regulate the 1. the breathing, 2. the mind, 3. the body, 4. the Qi, and 5. the shen (spirit). Proper breathing is one of the main keys to general Chinese Qi Gong practice. It regulates and adjusts the body's Yin and Yang. Spirit and breathing are mutually dependent, while spirit and Qi have to mutually combine. After all, regulating the mind is the most important component to control the entire practice.

Abdominal breathing and reverse breathing are two common breathing exercises in Qi Gong practice. There are also other types of breathing such as, "Shen" breathing, "Five Centers" breathing, and "Body" breathing. Some advanced Qi Gong exercises may require a sequence training of these breathing exercises in order to reach a certain level of practice.

Abdominal breathing is a breathing technique in which you inhale into your lower abdomen or lower "Dan Tian," expanding your lower abdomen until it feels like "a balloon filled up with air." When you exhale, slowly and gently contract the lower abdomen. In this way, the abdomen expands and contracts with inhaling and exhaling. As such, it is called abdominal breathing.

On the other hand, the reverse breathing technique is just the opposite. When you inhale, you slowly and gently contract the lower abdomen, and smoothly expand that area during the exhale.

Neither of these two breathing methods should exaggerate the normal expansion or contraction of the lungs.

These two breathing exercises are common for general Qi Gong or Tai Chi exercise and during the meditation practice. Your Qi Gong or Tai Chi master will tell you which breathing technique to use and follow with certain intention of the mind and positions, such as to curve up the tip of the tongue to touch the palate of the mouth, to relax the shoulders, to hold up the perineum and anus...etc.

One meditation, which combines both the Conception (Ren) and Governing (Du) meridians, or the so-called microcosmic orbit (small circulation), uses both abdominal and reverse breathing in a different time of the practice to cultivate the Qi circulation in the body. You should contact your Qi Gong master to instruct you in the details and to guide you throughout the Qi cultivation and development.

Did you ever think that breathing could be this complicated??? But guess what? It really does make a big difference, so keep up the good work.

Wing-Benn currently serves at Yo San University in Los Angeles as the Herb Lab Manager and he has his own private practice at the Yo San Clinic. He also teaches courses including Chinese Herbal Pharmacopoeia, Chinese Nutrition, Acupuncture, and a State Board Review class. His private practice includes pain management (sports injuries, arthritis, joint and back pain, migraines and chronic headaches), allergies, high blood pressure, stress management, male and female infertility, Tuina (massage), nutritional counseling, and treatment of senior citizen health problems. Wing-Benn delivered a well-received series of community lectures for seniors as part of YSUís Advancing Healthy Aging program.

For more info on Dr. Deng, click here

This Month's Articles

December 2007
Volume 5, Number 12

Coping with Holiday Stress: 5 Essential Tips

Chinese Medicine and the Mind

Qi Gong Breathing

Recent Research

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