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09-28-2005, 02:33 AM
I am trying to do Ki breathing while sitting seza. I am finding it very hard to stay in my one point as I can't breath for more than 10 seconds in and ten seconds out. I find my body wants to go into panic with the lack of air. After about five minutes I find my legs start to shake and I can't hold myself upright, in other words I want to fall forward. When this happens I am sure I loose my one point. Any Suggestions.

Shaun Gamache

09-28-2005, 04:44 AM
err... decrease the time interval to 5 seconds?
Try to breath in like the ocean's wave. In rhythm.

I was taught to start with breathing out and slightly bow forward to empty the air, then gradually straightening out while breathing in. But most important, don't tense up. Later you'll get to the point where 30 secs would be a doodle.

Tim Griffiths
09-28-2005, 06:30 AM
There's no point practicing breathing to a 20 or 30 second cycle until you're relaxed. Try this idea:

1. Don't pay attention to the timing.
2. Sit for 2-3 minutes breathing naturally, to try to understand how your body is breathing at the moment. Keep your throat relaxed and open. Don't try to control the timing, or breath deeper than your body naturally would.
3. Once you're settled into a rhythm, try to make the breaths a little deeper - take a little more air, and expel a little more. Don't breath in faster, just more air at the same rate. Your breaths will naturally become longer, as they take longer and your body gets more O2 and doesn't need to breath so fast. Again, you don't have to force a particular breathing rate, understand what happens naturally.
4. Now you should narrow the throat a little. Its hard to explain this - there's certainly no tension involved, and I don't want to use the word 'constrict'. Try to narrow the throat so that you are making a little sound as you breath (it should be silent up until now). The feeling you want is that you're having to work the diaphram a little more to bring air in and out of your body.
5. The 'meat' of ki breathing is the deliberate expansion and contraction of your ki from your center. Concentrate on expanding as your breath out and contracting as you breath it. If you feel you should be expanding as you breath in, then try to relax more and think of the breath, not the physical movement of your body (as the stomach/chest expands as you inhale).
6. The best guide through this process is your heart rate. It should become slower and slower through out this process. If it starts to speed up, then either your body is not getting enough O2 or you're starting to feel stress. In either case, relax and go back to a stage you feel comfortable at.

This should be able to bring you to a 40 second cycle (20+20) or so quite easily. But you have to build the basics before you can make that sustainable. In anycase, I wouldn't recommend much more than 10 minutes of ki breathing at a time for now. Its not meditation - some effort should be involved, and unless you're really aware of whats happening you'll hyperventilate (the extra oxygen is the way to hear or see all those fancy things, but its not really the point).

All this is for solo practice, of course. In class, the honest suggestion I have is to fake it as best as you can. Don't forget, the sensei probably has a comfortable cycle of 60-80 seconds, and its easy to go too slow when leading the class (esp. if its at the end of a ki class when the students have been working physically harder). I haven't mentioned the basic physical stuff, as I assume you're getting that from your class.

Train well,


09-28-2005, 01:22 PM
I am trying to do Ki breathing while sitting seza. I am finding it very hard to stay in my one point as I can't breath for more than 10 seconds in and ten seconds out. I find my body wants to go into panic with the lack of air. After about five minutes I find my legs start to shake and I can't hold myself upright, in other words I want to fall forward. When this happens I am sure I loose my one point. Any Suggestions.

Shaun GamacheSitting seiza is hard for most people. You can sit cross-legged or even in a chair. The idea is to learn to relax. If you're doing breathing exercises by yourself, don't try and time yourself initially. The purpose is to relax while you're doing this.

If you are doing this in a class, don't try and force your breathing. An instructor does breathing exercise by taking the average of the class, so you'll usually end up too short or too long in breath. Take a small sip of air if you're turning blue or exhale softly even if it is not what everyone else is doing.

In a class situation, remember to bow forward a little after exhaling or coming upright when inhaling. This allows the instructor an idea of your length of breath. It gives them a better feeling for the class average.

Koichi Tohei has written a book on Ki Breathing. Shinichi Tohei is translating it in English on his web log. You can find it by clicking Here! (http://universalmind.way-nifty.com/universalmind_english/specialki_breathing/index.html)

Relax and have fun!

Mark Jakabcsin
09-28-2005, 02:00 PM
Lots of interesting and good advice so far. Give it all a try and see what feels right to you. One other interesting thing to try is to coordinate your breathing with your heart rate instead of worrying about time. As you sit (seiza or other whys), become aware of your heart beat, then coordinate your breathing to match your heart beat in some format. Example inhale for 3 beats of your heart, then exhale for 3 beats of your heart. You can increase this as far as you want. Another interesting method is what some folks call square breathing. Example: Inhale for 3 beats, hold your breath for 3 beats (full lung), exhale for 3 beats, hold your breath for 3 beats (empty lung), and start over. A third method is to change things up and inhale for X beats and exhale for Y beats. Finally all of this can also be done while walking to make the training more dynamic. Just coordinate your breathing with your steps. Enjoy.

Mark J.

09-28-2005, 05:36 PM
Thank you all, I will apply all of this. I will simply try to breath natually and eventually slow my breath as I relax. Thank you for all the sugestions.

10-17-2005, 11:55 AM
im new to aikido, and i was wondering if someone could explain to me what exactly is Ki breathing and what is it used for?

10-17-2005, 12:55 PM
i was kind of wondering the same thing, inspite of my few years of aikido training. lol.

10-17-2005, 10:37 PM
"Ki Breathing" is just lower diaphramatic breathing. If you've ever played a wind instrument, it's exactly the same technique. That is, when you breath in, don't raise your rib cage, but instead extend down and into your stomach area. As you breath in, you should feel your stomach area expand, and then as you breath out, contracting the stomach and pushing inwards and upwards.

One exercise that my music teacher did with me many, many years ago when I was learning to play was to get me to lie on the ground. Then, with the hand on my stomach, got me to press against his hand and I breathed in and let it fall as I breathed out. You can achieve a similar effect by yourself by placing a reasonable-sized book on your stomach (ie not a thin paperback - something with some weight) and feeling for the pressure of the weight against you as you breath in and out.

10-18-2005, 01:18 PM
and what is ki breathing used for?

Trish Greene
10-18-2005, 01:23 PM

I couldn't agree with you more. Being a musician I am understanding how much I have been using my Ki in my playing to bend notes or to change the tone of a note.

What do you play?

10-18-2005, 04:22 PM
Ki breathing (http://unofficial.ki-society.org/Breath.html) was developed by Koichi Tohei who took the breathing exercises from Tempukai (http://www.senninfoundation.com/japanese_yoga.html) and used them to develop mind and body coordination. It is presently practiced by members of the Ki Society. There are different breathing techniques in various eastern arts. All of them seem to promote abdominal breathing and large oxygen in-take.

One of the main purposes of ki breathing is oxygenation of the blood. Because of this, ki breathing is suppose to promote self-healing. Does this work? I haven't seen any medical studies on ki breathing one way or the other. However, I can say that it is medical practice to give pure oxygen to patients in a decompression chamber. The oxygenation that occurs promotes wound healing and faster recover for people who are about to undergo surgery.

Another part of ki breathing is that it encourages the student to relax properly. Troubles caused during performance of aikido techniques are reflected in troubled breathing. Learning to breath deeply and correctly leds to correct, relaxed technique. Traditionally timing was taken from the breath. A throw was performed on an exhale, thus the term "kokyu-nage" breath throw.

10-18-2005, 04:56 PM
My sensei describes ki breathing as breathing like a baby. When you watch a baby breathe you dont see their shoulders go up like superman, you see their belly go in and out. This is breathing in its most natural form, and this is actually the correct way to breathe.

There shouldnt be any timing involved, just take deep breaths in and out and go at your own pace.

Alot of people also say breathe in through ur nose and out through your mouth. I dont do this simply because i dont want to, and i dont see the difference... but just do whatever works for you.

10-19-2005, 06:29 AM
When I started tarining in Aikido, my first teacher (as he learned from his techer who in turned learned from Koichi Tohei Sensei) regularly made us sit in seiza and do Ki-breathing. At first it was an agonising exercise as my legs gave up 5 minutes after the onset of the exercise. Then I decided to try it at home. At the time I was without a job and pretty depressed so doing it at home really relaxed me and made me feel better. I reached 15minutes easily within a month.
One day I was down to the gym where I occasionally work out with weights when I decided to give it a go at a quiet corner. I just let myself go and get lost my breathing and the thoughts that are generated when one meditates. Then the owner of the gym came and tapped me on the shoulder saying that he had to close for the day. Amazingly enough, almost 1.5hrs had passed without me noticing! And the legs or back did not complain a bit! Actually it begun to hurt when the guy "woke me up" from my ki-breathing concentration. To tell you the truth, 2 years onwards now, I have never felt like I did that evening. Will try, though!

10-21-2005, 09:59 PM
Agree with the the oxygenation of the blood. The other thing that my teacher talks about is that it also helps to massage the internal organs to help promote blood flow. More blood flow is always good (unless it's a cut of course :P ) for health, particularly through places like the kidneys.

Trish: Bassoon, clarinet and the various saxes are my main instruments. Play a few others as well, but not good enough to do any performance work on them.

10-22-2005, 12:35 AM
and what is ki breathing used for?

to relax

to calm and focus

to learn to be mind and body unified and take that feeling in to when moving.

for health


a police officer has told me Ki Breathing helped him keep calm and to calm down other officers in bad situations when fired upon and afterwards. Also to stay alert in stake outs.

just one example among many.

10-22-2005, 05:51 AM
If I may share this with you all...

My experience with Ki Aikido go back about 4 years now and my experience with Schultz's "Autogenes Training" or AT (a sort of self-hypnosis kind of thing) about 9 years but I never put a very high emphasis on correct breathing, despite the fact we do a couple of minutes of ki breathing on virtually every training and the fact that AT demands breathing correctly. There just never came to a "click" in my head that would convince me of how beneficial correct breathing actually is.

That was until I started going to a...uhm...let's say a private emotional-intelligence-human-relationship-spiritual-sort-of-workshop a friend of mine organised at his house. That is where I first came across actual meditation (we did group meditation at the beginning and at the end of our get-togethers). And that is where I realised that the meditation, which was of course seriously connected with a certain breathing technique, had a profound effect on me - it relaxed my body and focused my mind, opened a sort of inner door to my intuitive, emotional, sensitive and even sensual self. It exhillirated me aswell as calmed me down.

We continued with these sessions on weekly basis for about 8-9 months. After that came for me a rather intense and emotionally difficult phase due to certain unresolved issues in which I forgot all about my breathing and experienced a profound decrease in my overall "energy field". The bitter, resentful, angry sides of me came rushing to the front. Until I came to a point where I realised I was in charge of my life and my way of acting/thinking/perceiving results in disorder, not harmony - what's more, the people closest to me were "hit" the hardest by my words and attitude. Hardly what I desire.

I followed my sensei's suggestion: "When you hit a wall, go back to the basics." So I started breathing. And with determination came resolution and liberation of spirit.

What I mean to say is that breathing has a much profounder effect than just relaxing your body and oxygenating your blood. That's just where it starts and if you allow it, the process continues to "open you up", make you softer and stronger at the same time.

So regardless of what you may think, believe or disbelieve about ki breathing, just do it. Make a daily habit out of it. Your body, your mind, your beloved ones will thank you for it.

Mark Jakabcsin
10-22-2005, 06:44 AM
If I may share this with you all...

What I mean to say is that breathing has a much profounder effect than just relaxing your body and oxygenating your blood. That's just where it starts and if you allow it, the process continues to "open you up", make you softer and stronger at the same time.

Yes. Breathing is one of the few physical activities that can be accomplished by either the conscious or the sub-conscious. Breathing can be affected by one's physical state (when tired we breath fast and heavy), mental state (we can mentally control our breath rate) or emotional state (fear often makes us stop breathing). These are just one example for each state, there are many, the point is breathing IS a link between all three states of our being. Hence a change in breathing affects all three states. The power of breathing ultimately lies in understanding this relationship and how to use it to one's advantage and improvement. Enjoy.

Mark J.