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NekVTAikido 12-15-2012 02:36 PM

reverse breathing
 
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_Q...yer_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 06:12 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 06:53 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 320614)
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 07:42 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 08:09 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 10:18 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Thank you, Hugh and Dave!

Carsten Möllering 12-16-2012 05:06 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 06:09 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 07:35 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 06:22 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 12:16 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 08:14 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Gordon Young wrote: (Post 320713)
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 06:25 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Gordon Young wrote: (Post 320608)
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/...note-this.html ? and this thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21906 ?

Messias 02-07-2013 08:42 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Carsten Möllering wrote: (Post 320627)
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 03:51 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 06:22 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 06:30 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 09:36 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 09:40 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Dan Richards wrote: (Post 323555)
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 05:39 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
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 07:15 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Dan Richards wrote: (Post 323555)
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 02:41 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 323815)
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 08:18 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 323820)
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 08:37 AM

Re: reverse breathing
 
Quote:

Cliff Judge wrote: (Post 323833)
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 01:32 PM

Re: reverse breathing
 
http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/ScienceOfBreath.pdf


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