Qi Breathing Exercise 4
Breathe in a Square
Breathing has more to give than what the previous exercises reveal at first - a lot more. When you have a good belly breathing going, it has a power and a depth that are vitalizing and cleansing, reminding of its closeness to qi.
Breathing can be an even more direct help to awake and increase your qi flow. The following breathing exercise has this purpose. Now it is time to breathe qi.
How that works is explained in the exercise description, but do not focus solely on this aspect. Do it like a pure breathing exercise. Otherwise there is a risk that your conscious mind takes over and brushes the bodily experience aside. That will not help your qi flow. So, settle for what a pleasant and calming way of breathing it is. Then qi can flow freely through your body, instead of being hindered by your conscious ambition to steer it.
How to do it
- For this exercise you should assume a relaxed and peaceful position. Therefore you should avoid standing up, which would demand of you to keep your balance. That can cause some tension and disturbance. So, sit down with a good posture, or lie on your back. Loose clothing is fine, but not as important as with most of the previous exercises.
- Breathe normally through your nose for a while, so that you slow down and relax. Belly breathing is great, but actually not necessary. Already before you have learned a good belly breathing, you can get a lot from this exercise. But of course, the deeper you breathe, the more you get.
- Now, start a strictly regulated breathing: choose a fixed time for each phase of it. Do not make it too long. Later on, you will notice why. Settle for something like five seconds. That means you should make an inhalation, which lasts for five seconds, followed by a just as long exhalation. You do not have to time it with a clock. It needs not be that exact. It is enough that you count slowly to five. Do it silently, or it will interfere with your breathing.
- When this works smoothly, you should add the same length of time after the inhalation, where you hold your breath with a feeling of continued inhalation. Do not tighten your body to hold your breath, but sort of continue with the inhalation although you get no more air.
- After exhaling for the same length of time, add an equal period where you have a feeling of continued exhalation, although no more air leaves you. You will notice that it is harder to extend the period after an exhalation. The body is eager to get new air. That is why you should not choose a longer period of time than you manage comfortably.
- Now you are breathing in a square: Five seconds of inhaling, five seconds of a continued feeling of inhaling, five seconds of exhaling, and five seconds of a continued feeling of exhaling. Do it over and over. You can keep it up as long as you like, but only if you are able to feel like breathing in or out at the intervals when you actually hold your breath.
- That feeling of inhaling and exhaling is qi. It is not more odd than that. When you feel that you inhale something, or exhale something, and it is not air - then it is qi. The more clear this sense of breathing without air is to you, the stronger your qi flows.
Yes, it is qi you sort of breathe, when there is no air flowing. You also breathe qi when air passes in or out, but then it is not as easy to distinguish.
This exercise is an excellent way of getting familiar with qi and its nature, how qi feels and works. You will probably notice that the breathing without air is just as invigorating as regular breathing, although in a different way. The best way to describe it is that you breathe pure inspiration - or intention.
But whatever words we choose for it, they are bland when compared to the actual experience. So when you do the exercise, concentrate on the experience and do not bother to interpret it intellectually. That would only disturb it.
Of course, when you get more used to this exercise, you can skip the step where you breathe air only, in two phases. Go directly to the square, with four phases of breathing.
You should also practice your ability to recognize your qi breathing when you breathe normally. It is there, as well. That should be increasingly obvious to you. Also when you are breathing in a square, you do good to focus on your qi breathing in all the four phases.
The differences between breathing air and no air should dissolve by time, and lose their significance. The essence of your breathing should be its qi flow, and you can feel it all through.
It is also good to extend the length of time you choose, when you get better at this. You should never make the time so long that you feel frustrated during the fourth phase, before breathing in anew. That phase is the most difficult to extend, so it should be decisive when you choose the length of the intervals you try. It is not a competition of any kind, so you need only to find a time that is optimal for your experience of the exercise.
Qi Breathing Exercises
Here is a set of simple breathing exercises designed to increase your qi energy flow. I recommend that you do them in the given order, when you try them out. Once you've become familiar with them, you can do them in any order you please. Trust your instincts.
© Stefan Stenudd
This is a chapter of my book Qi: Increase your Life energy.
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Qi - Increase Your Life Energy
The life energy qi (also chi or ki) explained, with several very easy exercises to awaken, increase, and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Life Energy Encyclopedia
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I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. I've written several books about aikido, qi energy and other life force concepts. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. Click the image to get to my personal website.