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NekVTAikido
12-15-2012, 03:36 PM
Beginner question:

I've heard reverse breathing explained as: When breathing in, contract the abdomen. When breathing out, extend the abdomen. My questions are based on this understanding - but if this is wrong, or incomplete - please help me see what I am missing.

Is the abdominal expansion/contraction strictly physical? or is it more a matter of intention/attitude? Or some point along the spectrum? If it's a spectrum from strictly physical to strictly awareness/visualization, are there specific instructions for how to work with that spectrum?

For those familiar with Bill Gleason's approach - When combining breath with different postures as in the video below, Does the in-breath coincide with expansion of the chest cavity (while at the same time contracting the lower abdominal cavity)? Does breathing out coincide with expansion of the lower abdominal cavity? Should you have the same sense of "pushing out" through your arms and legs? If so, should the attention/intention/awareness given to the limbs predominate over the attention in the abdomen, or do they balance, or does the abdominal awareness predominate?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-E_QUj4iys&feature=player_detailpage

PS: "Intention", "Attention", "Awareness", "Visualization" - different words, different nuances, none of them quite capture what I mean, but all of them are kinda close...so I'm using I'm using them in conjunction.

mathewjgano
12-15-2012, 07:12 PM
I'm only replying because no one else has so far; hopefully people with better experience will chime in. I have only beginner answers:
I think the practice is a matter of existing on a spectrum and perhaps bouncing back and forth between the "opposites" to better enagage them into a cohesive whole (better mind-body interactions). When I've been playing around with it I've been focusing on feeling the expansion pressure inhaling causes when I don't allow my abdomen to inflate. I think of it as breathing through the back (mostly) and I usually feel it just above my hips/below my kidneys and traveling up my back along the rear "corners."
FWLIW :D
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
12-15-2012, 07:53 PM
I'm only replying because no one else has so far; hopefully people with better experience will chime in. I have only beginner answers:
I think the practice is a matter of existing on a spectrum and perhaps bouncing back and forth between the "opposites" to better enagage them into a cohesive whole (better mind-body interactions). When I've been playing around with it I've been focusing on feeling the expansion pressure inhaling causes when I don't allow my abdomen to inflate. I think of it as breathing through the back (mostly) and I usually feel it just above my hips/below my kidneys and traveling up my back along the rear "corners."
FWLIW :D
Take care,
Matt

I'd like to add I actually try to feel down into my hips when I'm doing this...not sure how right or wrong that is though.

Dave de Vos
12-15-2012, 08:42 PM
I think the physical part more or less defines reverse breathing: contract abdomen when breathing in, expand abdomen when breathing out.

But depending on the goal of the practise, I think the visualisation, intent and other details differ from art to art, teacher to teacher or even from one exercise to the next (around 0:25 Bill Gleason says he will show a more complicated version the next day).

I don't know Bill Gleason personallly, but I hear and see him explaining that in this variation you visualize drawing energy up from the earth through the legs into the hara when breathing in and sending energy out through the palms when breathing out. He explains this variation is for building ki.

I was taught a different variation for body conditioning (it could be related to the variation Bill Gleason is teaching in the video, but I'm not sure).

hughrbeyer
12-15-2012, 09:09 PM
Based on my understanding only, subject to correction by Those Who Know:

I think this practice it is all about building connections throughout the body using the visualizations of breath coming in and going out through palms of the hands and soles of the feet. When you breathe in, you visualize the hara compressing in on itself, pulling breath and ki in from all directions but especially through the limbs. It is *not* about 6-directions as Dan talks about it; that's another exercise with different visualizations.

You do *not* want the chest to inflate on inhale. It just sits on the hara. Actively pull the diaphragm *down* on the inhale, compressing the hara from above. Raise the pelvic floor, compressing from below. (People say go easy on this because it raises blood pressure; maybe, but you've got a lot of structural weaknesses down there (think about it) that need to be reinforced or you'll have other problems.) Pull the abs in, compressing from the front. I don't generally feel the need to compress from the rear because you have the backbone providing stiffness and you generally want to get more expansion/breath/ki in that area anyway.

Breathing out is the reverse. Hara expands pushing ki out through the same channels as breathing in. This is expansion, not swelling up. Chest expands with the rest of the body but don't puff it out.

Watch out for tension on inhale and exhale. You should be lose and free to move throughout. Joints should not lock up. I find thinking of the breath going through the joint and out the body and across the room helps with this.

mathewjgano
12-15-2012, 11:18 PM
Thank you, Hugh and Dave!

Carsten Möllering
12-16-2012, 06:06 AM
I don't know the teaching of Bill Gleason.

As far as I know there are a whole lot of different ways to use reverse breathing. A lot of different Images, Intentions and aims. So it is also used for packing qi in the abdomen.
Another aspect of reverse breathing can be to concentrate the qi while breathing in into the dantian.
And to expand the qi while breathing out onto the surface of the body, i.e. the skin.
And if this works, to expand the qi further, like the bubbles sprinkling out from a soda.

To my experience the most difficult part of reverse breathing before it comes to images or intent is first to really manage the physical part of contracting and expanding the abdomen. (Not the chest.) Because as far as I understand it, this is about actively and correctly moving the diaphragm, the pelvic diaphragm and the inner mucles of front and the back. Which is not easy to do.

gregstec
12-16-2012, 07:09 AM
We were working on this yesterday with 'Those Who Know' and Hugh has a pretty good summary from that perspective - as he says, the drill is for help in establishing connection on in the body - However, it is only a first step at a low level to learn what connection feels like - you really need to use intent to take the slack out of the body and maintain that while breathing normally.

Greg

chillzATL
12-16-2012, 08:35 PM
Just to add to what Hugh said about the structural weaknesses. I've found that early on, sitting down helps you to feel things more easily. Breathing, just like everything else it seems, takes conditioning. Sitting seems to squeeze off the body a bit and let you really focus on relaxing and slowly working those breaths lower into the body without having to tense up too much and still get some of the same overall conditioning results. Everything else still applies.

NekVTAikido
12-18-2012, 07:22 PM
Thank you all for your responses!

What I'm getting out of this is:
Work the muscles in the abdomen, but don't get tense.
It's about connecting, training the body, and also training ones awareness. It's a beginner step to having a connected body. (whatever "connected" means).

New questions: How important is posture? Is it ok to work on this when lying down?

hughrbeyer
12-19-2012, 01:16 AM
Posture is very important. Why do you think there are so many positions in the video you posted?

*I* wouldn't do it lying down, but that's just me. I do it standing up and work at the same time on everything else I'm working on: centered on my feet, open in 6 directions (on inhale and exhale, duh), no tension in the joints (have to work this one all over again every breath), ki extending from hara through limbs and out to infinity, etc. etc.

chillzATL
12-19-2012, 09:14 AM
Thank you all for your responses!

What I'm getting out of this is:
Work the muscles in the abdomen, but don't get tense.
It's about connecting, training the body, and also training ones awareness. It's a beginner step to having a connected body. (whatever "connected" means).

New questions: How important is posture? Is it ok to work on this when lying down?

connectedness: notice in the video you linked how he always keeps the body slightly extended and full, but not tense. If you do that with your arms and then add the breathing, you will feel that same stretch in your torso that you should feel in the arms and they kind of come together to connect your upper body as one unit. With enough of that combined with the various visualizations/intent you will get to a point that you feel that same tingly stretchy feel with having to stretch and/or breathe.

lying down: I wouldn't do it that way. One of the benefits I've found in doing reverse breathing is using it to help identify my center. When I breathe now I feel the expansion/pressure in my pelvis and I think laying down might be counter productive to that, initially at least.

Posture is important, but I don't think there's anything specific to breathing that's going to help you identify good vs. bad posture. I used other things to help gain some semblance of a relaxed but stable posture. Once I felt that and could comfortably get there without a lot of prep work, I know what to shoot for when doing anything else, breathing or otherwise, but I don't think I would have found that same stability from breathing alone. YMMV on that though.

phitruong
12-20-2012, 07:25 AM
I've heard reverse breathing explained as: When breathing in, contract the abdomen. When breathing out, extend the abdomen. My questions are based on this understanding - but if this is wrong, or incomplete - please help me see what I am missing.



keep forgetting to ask this question. have you read this blog http://mikesigman.blogspot.com/2012/11/breath-and-internal-strength-note-this.html ? and this thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21906 ?

Messias
02-07-2013, 09:42 PM
I don't know the teaching of Bill Gleason.

As far as I know there are a whole lot of different ways to use reverse breathing. (,,,)
To my experience the most difficult part of reverse breathing before it comes to images or intent is first to really manage the physical part of contracting and expanding the abdomen. (Not the chest.) Because as far as I understand it, this is about actively and correctly moving the diaphragm, the pelvic diaphragm and the inner mucles of front and the back. Which is not easy to do.

Although I´m quite new to Aikido, I´ve been an "obcessed" freediver for over 20 years now, and breathing (as you can imagine) plays a big role in there.
Carsten Möllering has hitted the spot on his comment. Breathing is only diaphragm! Big expanding chests burn down more energy (oxygen) than what they can intake.
And Men (males) are worst "breathers" than females and far worse than children... Have you noticed how a baby breathes? only diaphragm work.
As we grow old we accumulate some "vices" on our body movements and breathing is no exception (and again, male "machos" with big inflating chests... get on the loosing side of the breathing coin)

Relaxation is the mother of breathing...
In Aikido I don´t have the slightest clue on how to direct the energy, but in freediving (if relaxed) you can redirect energy from less used muscles/functions to where it is really needed.

Cheers,
Messias.

Dan Richards
02-15-2013, 04:51 AM
I think reverse breathing is one area that needs a big CAUTION sign over it. Something along the lines of DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY REVERSE BREATHING - BEFORE YOU HAVE ACQUIRED THE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO MOVE AS A UNIFIED WHOLE DIRECTED BY THE CORE.

And you can get that far with just regular abdominal breathing. Even learning to breath abdominally and have it feel natural is a study in and of itself for a lot of people.

The inexperienced playing around with reverse breathing would be like putting a kid who had no driving experience in a car on a highway in heavy traffic. And, yes, it can be that dangerous.

I never write in all caps, I don't swear that much, and I rarely use exclamation points. But in this case:

DON'T FUCKING DO IT!!!!!!

Dan Richards
02-16-2013, 07:22 AM
If you want to work on breathing, read the sections at the link, starting with chapters VI and VII. And then VIII will give you information on complete breathing.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sob/index.htm

Nicholas Eschenbruch
02-16-2013, 07:30 AM
Just for the record: while there are of course potentially dangerous breathing exercises, I have found soft, mindful and fully concentrated reverse breathing the probably most generally useful and healthy practice I have so far encountered in the IS field. But then, we may be talking about different things.

Cliff Judge
02-20-2013, 10:36 AM
i have been sometimes able to make things happen with reverse breathing. I still have to think about it while I am doing it, but I have been able to lift and tip people over with it if I can time my inhale with getting into a good position.

Inhale and pack the breath down into your center - I try to be careful so I don't rupture anything. Then as you exhale, expand outward. The idea I work with is that I my outward breath inflates my body on the way out.

I think the idea here is that the reverse breathing, combined with intention, activates ki. But I have also heard that in other martial paradigms, reverse breathing distorts your partner's sense of where you are and what you are doing by changing subtle queues...someone may be trained to strike as you are inhaling, only to find that you are actually striking them, because you already inhaled.

There are a lot of different types of martial breathing, though, not just reverse breathing. It may not be the solution for all problems.

Cliff Judge
02-20-2013, 10:40 AM
I think reverse breathing is one area that needs a big CAUTION sign over it. Something along the lines of DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY REVERSE BREATHING - BEFORE YOU HAVE ACQUIRED THE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO MOVE AS A UNIFIED WHOLE DIRECTED BY THE CORE.

And you can get that far with just regular abdominal breathing. Even learning to breath abdominally and have it feel natural is a study in and of itself for a lot of people.

The inexperienced playing around with reverse breathing would be like putting a kid who had no driving experience in a car on a highway in heavy traffic. And, yes, it can be that dangerous.

I never write in all caps, I don't swear that much, and I rarely use exclamation points. But in this case:

DON'T FUCKING DO IT!!!!!!

Now what you could have done here, instead of using profanity, is to actually explain why you think inexperienced experimentation with reverse breathing is bad.

sakumeikan
02-20-2013, 06:39 PM
Dear All,

I really do not care one way or another whether I breathe through/in or out of my toes, fingers, navel,anus or whatever.At the age of 74 my main concern is to continue breathing.As long as I keep breathing I know I am still alive.Cheers, Joe. Ps the last part of my anatomy, [my posterior breathing] is particularly difficult.So far I can exhale really well [the vibrations are loud and clear] the inhalations are much harder to master.No doubt in a few decades I may well become proficient.Needless to say when I train this part of my anatomy ,I usually find myself alone in the dojo.I wonder why??
Cheers, Joe.

phitruong
02-20-2013, 08:15 PM
I think reverse breathing is one area that needs a big CAUTION sign over it. Something along the lines of DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY REVERSE BREATHING - BEFORE YOU HAVE ACQUIRED THE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO MOVE AS A UNIFIED WHOLE DIRECTED BY THE CORE.

I never write in all caps, I don't swear that much, and I rarely use exclamation points. But in this case:

DON'T FUCKING DO IT!!!!!!

so what you say here is don't do it, right? :)

what if you have been doing for awhile now, would that be bad? would ki firing out of your rear and eject you to mars? or maybe your chest hair grew a few extra inches and acquiring english accent then usually introducing yourself starting with Bond... just wondering about what could happen?

sakumeikan
02-21-2013, 03:41 AM
so what you say here is don't do it, right? :)

what if you have been doing for awhile now, would that be bad? would ki firing out of your rear and eject you to mars? or maybe your chest hair grew a few extra inches and acquiring english accent then usually introducing yourself starting with Bond... just wondering about what could happen?

Dear Phi,
How this for starters?You might end up with a prolapsed colon, hernia aching ,aching testicles and and if a woman a series of gynaecological ailments? For that matter does reverse breathing done badly harm the prostate?N.B. The above is not clinically proven ,just speculating here.Anyone who knows the downside of incorrect breath please enlighten us.Joe

Cliff Judge
02-21-2013, 09:18 AM
Dear Phi,
How this for starters?You might end up with a prolapsed colon, hernia aching ,aching testicles and and if a woman a series of gynaecological ailments? For that matter does reverse breathing done badly harm the prostate?N.B. The above is not clinically proven ,just speculating here.Anyone who knows the downside of incorrect breath please enlighten us.Joe

I am not a doctor and this is not a knowledge-based opinion, but I worry about hernias and hemorrhoids.

sakumeikan
02-21-2013, 09:37 AM
I am not a doctor and this is not a knowledge-based opinion, but I worry about hernias and hemorrhoids.

DEAR CLIFF,
AS YOU SHOULD BE.HAVING A HERNIA IS NO JOKE NEITHER IS IT FUN HAVING A LOAD OF DUKE OF ARGYLLS.
WHO WANTS TO STRUT AROUND LIKE A LATTER DAY JOHHN WAYNE?? JOE,

Rob Watson
02-21-2013, 02:32 PM
http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/ScienceOfBreath.pdf

Robert Cowham
03-05-2013, 04:15 PM
Ps the last part of my anatomy, [my posterior breathing] is particularly difficult.So far I can exhale really well [the vibrations are loud and clear] the inhalations are much harder to master.No doubt in a few decades I may well become proficient.Needless to say when I train this part of my anatomy ,I usually find myself alone in the dojo.I wonder why??

Hi Joe

Perhaps you have been training in the wrong lineage:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_P%C3%A9tomane

Regards
Robert

Rob Watson
03-05-2013, 08:16 PM
Hi Joe

Perhaps you have been training in the wrong lineage:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_P%C3%A9tomane

Regards
Robert

IHTBF? Pass ... wait, don't.

Walter Martindale
03-05-2013, 08:42 PM
Careful... the beer might be speaking...

Reverse breathing? Wednesday, Thursday, Friday!!! Is that like flail chest?

To inhale, one MUST decrease the pressure within the lungs so that it is below the air pressure outside. this is done by expanding the rib cage via the intercostal muscles and by contracting the diaphragm, reducing the pressure between the layers of the pleura, which in turn pulls on the lungs, causing them to expand, reducing the air pressure in the pleura, causing air to flow in. At least - that's a quick summary of what I remember from DeVries and Guyton (physiology textbooks).

Reverse breathing sounds like something someone who didn't know squat about anatomy and physiology made up to explain something that he or she was doing, and then it got misinterpreted somewhere in the downstream lineage, and now people are trying to do things that go against breathing mechanisms that have been worked out over millions of years of evolution in all species that have lungs.

That other stuff - breathing out the reverse end.. well.. Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit... The more you eat the more you toot... The more you toot the better you feel, so eat Beans with every meal!!!:yuck:

hughrbeyer
03-05-2013, 09:39 PM
You know, if you spend too much time studying anatomy you'll never figure out how your body works.

sakumeikan
03-06-2013, 07:28 AM
IHTBF? Pass ... wait, don't.

Dear Robert,
Nice one here.At the moment I can only parp three octaves.Must increase my fibre content. Top C in particular makes me [and others]squirm.I find it hard to do a parp with a straight face , especially in a packed lift.Cheers, Joe.

Walter Martindale
03-06-2013, 09:06 PM
You know, if you spend too much time studying anatomy you'll never figure out how your body works.

Seriously? Being ironic?

Janet Rosen
03-06-2013, 10:47 PM
To inhale, one MUST decrease the pressure within the lungs so that it is below the air pressure outside. this is done by expanding the rib cage via the intercostal muscles and by contracting the diaphragm, reducing the pressure between the layers of the pleura, which in turn pulls on the lungs, causing them to expand, reducing the air pressure in the pleura, causing air to flow in. At least - that's a quick summary of what I remember from DeVries and Guyton (physiology textbooks).

The nurse says, "yes, but..."
In order to ACCOMPLISH the air pressure one actually has a choice of using some accessory muscles more than others. One can direct the expansion up into the anterior chest, creating a big expansion there with minimal lateral and posterior thorax movement and minimal abdominal expansion - the way most people breathe when their doctor tells them to take a deep breath. Or, one can do the "abdominal breathing" I was taught in the dojo, being told "it's how babies naturelaly breathe": relaxing the chest and letting the abdomen expand with the inhale, deflate with the exhale. Or, one can focus on lateral and posterior expansion of the thorax, feeling very full and expansive while the chest is relatively quiet and the abdomen still.
(I actually had to show this to a nurse friend recently, with her hands on me, who thought I was nuts when I talked about different ways of breathing - because, indeed, reading texts will NOT teach you what you can actually feel and do as a living breathing being)
So reverse breathing, as I understand it, has to do with abdominal use - essentially contracting on inhale, expanding on exhale, yes? I may be wrong but that's what I think it is- somebody else will jump in and say if that's right or not....

hughrbeyer
03-06-2013, 11:24 PM
Martin: Srsly.

In that our best understanding of anatomy is still pretty crude compared to the complexity of the body. You can do a lot with your body that's real hard to explain anatomically. It's often better just to get your head out of the way and let your body do its thing.

Janet: Right. All the squishy stuff between diaphragm and pelvic floor contracts into a tight little ball--making more space for the lungs and allowing an inhale without expanding the chest hugely.

And as long as I'm posting in this thread allow me to say that I find all these warnings about reverse breathing a bit whacked. Reminds me of how people talk about weightlifting--OMG! Blood pressure! Hypertension! Your head's gonna explodz!

Yeah, you can screw yourself up in fairly minor and temporary ways. BFD. You can screw yourself up doing anything worthwhile physically. Talk to my doctor friend about how many people injure themselves doing yoga, often in ways that are not minor or temporary (downward dog, anybody?).

More important is to know what you're doing and why you're doing it.

Janet Rosen
03-06-2013, 11:59 PM
Yeah, you can screw yourself up in fairly minor and temporary ways. BFD. You can screw yourself up doing anything worthwhile physically. Talk to my doctor friend about how many people injure themselves doing yoga, often in ways that are not minor or temporary (downward dog, anybody?).


The orthopod who did my ACL graft/meniscectomy told me he worked on a guy who totally blew his medial meniscus going into lotus position and either on aikiweb or aikido-l yrs ago somebody posted they blew a knee out getting up from the mat.
Life is dangerous but beats the alternative :)

Walter Martindale
03-07-2013, 06:02 AM
The nurse says, "yes, but..."
In order to ACCOMPLISH the air pressure one actually has a choice of using some accessory muscles more than others. One can direct the expansion up into the anterior chest, creating a big expansion there with minimal lateral and posterior thorax movement and minimal abdominal expansion - the way most people breathe when their doctor tells them to take a deep breath. Or, one can do the "abdominal breathing" I was taught in the dojo, being told "it's how babies naturelaly breathe": relaxing the chest and letting the abdomen expand with the inhale, deflate with the exhale. Or, one can focus on lateral and posterior expansion of the thorax, feeling very full and expansive while the chest is relatively quiet and the abdomen still.
(I actually had to show this to a nurse friend recently, with her hands on me, who thought I was nuts when I talked about different ways of breathing - because, indeed, reading texts will NOT teach you what you can actually feel and do as a living breathing being)
So reverse breathing, as I understand it, has to do with abdominal use - essentially contracting on inhale, expanding on exhale, yes? I may be wrong but that's what I think it is- somebody else will jump in and say if that's right or not....

Hi Janet,
I'm aware of abdominal breathing. I understand it to be primarily the diaphragm descending to draw the bottom (inferior aspects) of the lungs "downwards" (if you're standing), creating the necessary negative air pressure. Also aware of the different control of breathing by expanding the rib cage in various ways, and getting the "fullest" (not really a word) lungful by expanding the chest AND drawing the diaphragm down (abdominal breathing).

"Reverse Breathing" simply makes no sense to me. Do I "know" how the body works? That's hard to say - I've been "doing" aikido for about 17 years, raced competitive rowing for 3 years, judo for 8 years, and a professional rowing coach for nearly 30 years. I've trained rowing coaches, too, and some of the folks I've trained as coaches have (like me) developed young people so that they've gone on and won at world and Olympic championships. But I don't know anything about how the body works. I know that I don't know everything about how the body works. Reverse Breathing - if someone can show me what it is, perhaps, but what I've read here makes no sense.

Breathing in humans has mechanical, chemical, and neurological 'drivers' (you know that) and they've evolved pretty well - what we need to do is breathe without interfering with nature. Or perhaps learn to breathe taking advantage of some bits of knowledge - for example, does a brief Valsalva maneuver on exertion contribute to increased ppO2 in the lungs and better extraction of oxygen or not? Has such research been done either in CPR studies or sports lit? (I don't know).

phitruong
03-07-2013, 07:12 AM
"Reverse Breathing" simply makes no sense to me.

Walter, i don't know if you have read through this thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21906&highlight=reverse+breathing or not. that thread discussed the reverse breathing stuffs. there were other threads sprinkling around aikiweb discussed about reverse breathing too. reverse breathing related to chinese arts for some times now. it's not new. it usually associates with internal power IP/IS practices. most folks aren't interested in it so it wouldn't matter much to most aikido folks. i'd say just ignore it.

Alex Megann
03-07-2013, 07:22 AM
The orthopod who did my ACL graft/meniscectomy told me he worked on a guy who totally blew his medial meniscus going into lotus position and either on aikiweb or aikido-l yrs ago somebody posted they blew a knee out getting up from the mat.
Life is dangerous but beats the alternative :)

I can beat that...

A few years ago I had just returned from an intensive weekend aikido course, and was lying on the sofa watching TV. My calves were feeling quite tight, so I thought I'd try to massage them as I lay there. I pressed my right heel into the top of the left calf, and all of a sudden there was a "crack" and I felt something give inside my knee. It subsequently swelled up and it was several weeks before I could walk without any discomfort. You certainly don't need strenuous exercise to injure yourself...

Alex

mathewjgano
03-07-2013, 12:14 PM
I don't know if this pertinent or not, but I used to like to lay on my stomach and breathe "into" my kidneys and lower back. I can see how this probably wouldn't be quite the same thing as being able to control the expansion of the abdomen directly, but it was an interesting way of seeing where the expansion can go. I use this as a way to help me put ki into those areas so I can be a little more aware of them in general, so for me right now it's a way of mapping the body.
p.s. the first time I threw my back out was sitting down; it's the same place I usually feel any lower back pain today. All it takes is for one critical piece to get strained or otherwise get out of whack for the house of cards to start falling down.

Walter Martindale
03-07-2013, 01:22 PM
I don't know if this pertinent or not, but I used to like to lay on my stomach and breathe "into" my kidneys and lower back. I can see how this probably wouldn't be quite the same thing as being able to control the expansion of the abdomen directly, but it was an interesting way of seeing where the expansion can go. I use this as a way to help me put ki into those areas so I can be a little more aware of them in general, so for me right now it's a way of mapping the body.
p.s. the first time I threw my back out was sitting down; it's the same place I usually feel any lower back pain today. All it takes is for one critical piece to get strained or otherwise get out of whack for the house of cards to start falling down.

www.backfitpro.com
Stuart McGill knows his way around backs and core stabilisation better than just about anyone. disclaimer - I don't get any royalties from his book sales, I do coach at the rowing club where his wife and daughter row.