The Chinese practice of Qigong dates back over 5000 years.
This is because there are considerable benefits to Qigong breathing exercises. These are both mental and physical. So what can Qigong do for you?
Read on to find out how to introduce Qigong breathing to your daily routine.
What Is Qigong?
Qigong's main focus is on rebalancing Qi or Chi in the mind and body. Qi is also known as 'life force energy'.
Traditional Chinese culture sees this as the primary force in any living entity. It plays an essential role in your energy flow. This is why it forms a central element of Chinese traditional medicine.
Working on your Qi is essential for your self-healing and improving your quality of life. Some people also use it as a medical remedy. For example, some people use it to treat hypertension, chronic pain, and even cancer.
To do this, Qigong combines movement, breathing, meditation, and body posture. There are different areas of Qigong, including martial arts, medicine, and philosophy.
What Are the Benefits of Qigong Breathing Exercises?
Qigong can focus on different areas of the body in order to restore and support balance. This has substantial physical and mental benefits.
For example, having a clear bladder meridian can help its function within your body. It works with the kidneys to rid your body of toxins. This, in itself, is a hugely important task.
However, the bladder meridian is also responsible for a lot of your emotional balance as well. Your bladder meridian emotions support your confidence, enthusiasm, and ability to express yourself.
It also promotes courage, control, sexuality, and intimacy. Because of this, an imbalance can have serious emotional implications. This can lead to anxiety, jealousy, or difficulty in decision making.
And this is just one area that Qigong focuses on! Qigong breathing helps you focus and improves the function of your internal organs. This also includes the spleen meridian and chi points of the body.
One of the main ways it does this is by harmonizing the body. This creates proper energy flow throughout and promotes wellbeing.
It is also a great way to give yourself some quiet, personal time. This, in turn, promotes mindfulness and benefits your headspace. There really isn't a downside!
But you don't have to take our word for it. Find out more about people's individual experiences of Qigong here.
How to Prepare for Qigong Breathing
Before practicing Qigong breathing exercises, you should get yourself into the right frame of mind.
Your environment plays a significant role in this. Settle yourself somewhere quiet without distraction.
Some people prefer to do their breathing outside. Wherever you choose, make sure it's somewhere you feel comfortable. This will help you to focus on your breathing.
You don't technically need anything with you for your breathing exercises. You can perform many of them standing or sitting depending on your personal needs. If you're sitting, make sure you have a supportive chair or cushion with you.
Set a portion of time aside for these exercises. You don't have to spend long periods of time on them. But it's also important to avoid feeling like you have to rush through them. Use this as personal time to relax and unwind.
There are no rules on what to wear for Qigong breathing. Just make sure you feel comfortable. Tight or restrictive clothing will limit your ability to breath deeply, so make sure you avoid it.
Finally, take some time to think about the different parts of your body. Some breathing techniques ask you to isolate certain organs or muscles.
This can feel strange at first as it isn't something we often do in daily life. Before you start, take a moment to really get in touch with the different parts of your body. This will help you as you move into the breathing exercise.
There are many different kinds of breathing exercises. Let us have a look at three breathing exercises that you can try at home!
1.The Original Breath
This breathing exercise focuses on relaxation and rejuvenation. It should help you to center yourself and start to feel more natural the more you do it.
You can practice this exercise, either standing or sitting. If you sit, do so on a chair or a cushion rather than directly on the ground. When standing have your feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees soft.
Whatever position you're in try to balance your spine. It should feel lengthened but not strained. Keeping a relaxed spine is important to the flow of Qi.
Place your hands over your navel. This will help you to feel the breath in your body. Relax and start to focus on your breaths.
Once you have focused on them, start to take deeper, longer breaths. You'll be able to feel these moving into your abdomen as you breathe. Watch the breath fill your abdomen and then extend into the chest.
Encourage this movement. When you breathe in, feel your belly expand outwards. Then let it relax back in when you breathe out.
You can continue doing this for as long as you want to. You'll feel your breaths becoming longer with time, as your body gets used to them.
Physically you'll be able to feel your lungs massaging your stomach as you breathe. This will create movement and stimulation in the belly.
2. Yogic Breathing
There are lots of different names for Yogic breathing and many different forms. These include Buddhist breathing, abdominal breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing.
They all focus on using your body as a whole. This promotes feelings of relaxation and stimulates oxygenation. It is best to practice this exercise sitting down.
To begin with, let your body relax. It's especially important to relax your face, neck, and shoulders.
Once relaxed, make contact between the tip of your tongue and your upper palate. It should sit just behind your top front teeth. This promotes energy flow by connecting the Ren Mai and Du Mai meridians, two of the main energy channels in the body.
Next, straighten your spine, close your eyes, and focus in on your breaths. Allow yourself time to do this. Let yourself become familiar with the inhalations and exhalations.
Then without changing yourself, start to count your breaths. Do this for twelve breaths.
After your final exhale, place one of your hands on the front of your chest and the other on your abdomen. You can place this fairly low down.
On your next inhale, you'll be able to feel the air moving into your body. Let your ribs expand outwards in all directions. You'll also start to feel your abdomen expand and push your hand away.
Don't force this action. It should happen naturally. More oxygen will start to reach every part of your body as you breath. Relax your perineum.
Continue breathing this way for nine breaths in and nine breaths out. Then return to your original breaths.
3. Daoist Reverse Breathing
This is a much more complicated breathing technique. It focuses on purifying the body and intensifying the meridian flow.
This is a great breathing exercise to use when meditating or doing Qigong movements. But to master it, start on the breathing by itself. Once you're comfortable with Yogic Breathing, this is a good exercise to try next.
Begin in the same way as with Yogic Breathing. Sit down and relax your head, neck, and shoulders. Then place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and straighten the spine.
Place your hands on your lower abdomen with the left underneath and the right on top. As with Yogic Breathing, inhale and let your ribs expand. While this happens, contract your lower abdomen.
Let the area below your naval pull in towards the spine. You should feel it move away from your hands. This should be gentle and feel like a scooping sensation.
As you exhale, let your abdomen return to its original position. This mirrors the action of Yogic Breathing. Repeat this movement for nine breaths.
Bringing your stomach in as you breath invites the Qi to move up your spine.
This technique can take a bit of getting used to. But once you master it, it's great to do while meditating. Or while performing Qigong or Tai Chi.
If you pair it with movements, remember to coordinate this with your breathing. Move your body as you exhale and hold the position as you inhale. This will help to guide your movements and oxygenate your body.
One More Easy Breathing Method to Use During Stressful Times
Navy Seals are taught a simple breathing technique to use in stressful situations. Take a deep breath through your nose for a count of 4, and fill your lungs. Hold the breath for a count of 4 and then smoothly release the breath through the nose for a count of 4.
Do this as many times as necessary to calm yourself down.
The Bottom Line
So now that you know about Qigong you can enjoy making it part of your daily life. Make a start by incorporating these Qigong breathing exercises.
And for more information or advice, please get in touch. We're here to help.
Michael Mohoric specializes in global Qigong distant energy healing. He has thousands of positive testimonials how his work has helped heal many serious illnesses, pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and more. He discovered he was blessed with a gift of distant energy healing after recovering from a serious spinal cord injury. He is the former Secretary of the International Tibetan Qigong Assoc. He has over 1,000 endorsements on Linkedin, many from health care professionals. He also has over 233,000 Likes on Facebook with thousands of positive posts about how this work has transformed lives.