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tedehara 01-22-2005 03:50 PM

Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
The Ki Society has its own breathing exercise and meditation. I was wondering if any other groups/styles have their own forms of breathing exercise and/or meditation? Perhaps you practice a form whose origins are from outside of Aikido, like breathing exercise from Qigong or meditation from Zen. If you can give a short description, it can help satisfy my curiosity.

Or is there any place for this in your training?

Thanks in advance.

Mike Sigman 02-07-2005 01:26 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
I think that if you draw back and look at the "big picture", you'll find that all the breathing exercises and "meditations", when done correctly, are related. The breathing serves to physically strengthen a part of the body makeup and the "meditation" is for getting the subconscious more involved in strengthening the relationship between the mind and the part of the body makeup that you were strengthening with the breathing.

FWIW

Mnemos

Nick P. 02-07-2005 02:24 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
In our dojo, we do no breathing exercises of any type.
Not to hijack the thread, but do those that do do breathing exercises also do weapons?

pezalinski 02-07-2005 03:10 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Nick Pittson wrote:
In our dojo, we do no breathing exercises of any type.
Not to hijack the thread, but do those that do do breathing exercises also do weapons?

YES. :D

Can't cut well without breathing well.

bryce_montgomery 02-07-2005 07:46 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Our dojo doesn't do much breathing exercises or meditation but I personally have dabbled in zazen meditation a time or two...

As I said...a time or two. So I'll let someone that knows more about it tell you how it goes...

Bryce

Charles Hill 02-07-2005 10:16 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Yes, but our shihan only explains it once a year at the yearly koushukai. I seriously doubt people are paying attention. So when we do the exercise during warmups, I have noticed that most aren`t doing it correctly. So maybe the answer to your question is also no.

While sitting seiza, we reach up with both arms, streching up and breathing in. We make fists and bring the arms down to where our fists are about to our ears, holding the breath, and focusing on our lower abdomen. Then we breathe out while lowering our hands.

I`d say our style is pretty conservative Aikikai Honbu.

Charles

MaryKaye 02-08-2005 01:39 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
I'm in a Ki Society dojo; we do breathing exercises a couple of times a month, weapons a couple of times a month (sensei's whim on both of them; sometimes it's more often, sometimes less).

I learned one at Maui Ki Society which looks and sounds way too much like a cat coughing up a hairball; I'm sure it's useful, but I had trouble keeping a straight face!

We also do bell-ringing misogi, which is a form of active meditation. My home dojo only does it a few times a year, mostly around the New Year; pity, because it gets a lot easier with practice.

Mary Kaye

ian 02-08-2005 03:07 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
In aikido we sometimes do short breathing exercises before lessons and a very brief (2 mins) zazen period sometimes, though there isn't too much stress on getting it 'perfect' - more just for stretching/relaxation.

Rarely I mention breathing in relation to timing (although I stress breathing out during throws so you don't get winded!)

I'm sure you know Ted, that Chi Gung is a great source of info on breathing exercises and the many different 'ways' of breathing. Generally I go for in thru nose, push breath down into hara whilst expanding stomach, and as you breath out thru mouth you push stomach forward more (into centre).

What does the ki society do?

PS. yes we do weapons (almost entirely bokken, and specifically to develop unarmed techniques and body response)

SeiserL 02-08-2005 08:34 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
We do a simple breathing exercise as part of every session warm-up.
Breathe in when blending, out when executing.
No formal meditation, but I personally practice Zazen.

Mike Sigman 02-08-2005 12:05 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Charles Hill wrote:
Yes, but our shihan only explains it once a year at the yearly koushukai. I seriously doubt people are paying attention. So when we do the exercise during warmups, I have noticed that most aren`t doing it correctly. So maybe the answer to your question is also no.

While sitting seiza, we reach up with both arms, streching up and breathing in. We make fists and bring the arms down to where our fists are about to our ears, holding the breath, and focusing on our lower abdomen. Then we breathe out while lowering our hands.

I`d say our style is pretty conservative Aikikai Honbu.

I'd say that functionally, that type of qigong is probably the most effective and the most common of the pressure gongs. You have to know how to contain it, though, and how to focus on what is being stretched and pressurized. The only quibble I'd have with that type of gong is that, in my opinion, it would be better to do it standing so that you could add a slight squat and pressurize the legs. Legs are the hardest to develop the ki.

FWIW

Mike ;)

tony cameron 02-08-2005 04:01 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
i practice Pan Gu Shengong Qigong daily which incorporates a very Aiki/ Ki society type of breathing exercise. it is very effective in the areas of health, energy, stamina, and balance, and it is extremely simple to perform. the 1st form (moving form) takes about 20 min. soon i will learn the non-moving form. for more info: http://pangu.org

best regards to all,
tony

tedehara 02-09-2005 05:24 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Ian Dodkins wrote:
...I'm sure you know Ted, that Chi Gung is a great source of info on breathing exercises and the many different 'ways' of breathing. Generally I go for in thru nose, push breath down into hara whilst expanding stomach, and as you breath out thru mouth you push stomach forward more (into centre).

What does the ki society do?...

The Ki Society uses abdominal breathing with the inhalation from the nose and the exhalation from the mouth. Breaths are slow with periods of interchange. In general I've noticed the Ki Society tries to simplify the execution of techniques/exercises. Breathing, like everything else, is subject to ki tests. You might be breathing or meditating and an instructor will give you a ki test to see if you're doing it correctly.

The ki meditation comes from zazen, although it's not as physical. The main purpose is to relax while meditating. There are two forms of ki meditation, expansion and contraction. These forms mirror the breathing process of inhalation and exhalation. Like Mike noted, these are really two sides of the same coin, if done correctly.

I usually practice breathing exercise first. It's a physical way to relax the body. I can then follow-up with meditation to relax the mind. The Ki Society recommended times has changed over the years. There are also different ways to do this. Standing and sitting seiza are some ways William Reed recommended in Ki : A Practical Guide for Westerners.

Led by Suzuki Sensei, the Maui Ki Society advocates one hour of breathing daily. I've also read of Japan doing a quieter form of breathing and that K. Tohei was emphasizing the periods between the breath. I think it was to insure people extend ki and don't "collapse" between breaths.

kironin 02-09-2005 07:03 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Ted Ehara wrote:
I usually practice breathing exercise first. It's a physical way to relax the body. I can then follow-up with meditation to relax the mind. The Ki Society recommended times has changed over the years. There are also different ways to do this. Standing and sitting seiza are some ways William Reed recommended in Ki : A Practical Guide for Westerners.

Led by Suzuki Sensei, the Maui Ki Society advocates one hour of breathing daily. I've also read of Japan doing a quieter form of breathing and that K. Tohei was emphasizing the periods between the breath. I think it was to insure people extend ki and don't "collapse" between breaths.


Actually at the Instructor's intensives I have been to, it's the opposite. which I prefer. You begin with Ki meditation and natural breathing. basically getting your mind calm/relaxed and eventually transition into Ki breathing. With the mind calm, the body relaxes right away and I find Ki breathing more natural and longer.
Usually sitting at least 30 minutes.

I think the periods between breaths also prevent you from going into a trance state which would be counterproductive to opening your awareness.
Keeps you at a conscious level.

The nice thing about this practice is it is training you can do everyday.
Hard to be at the dojo everyday for most of us.

Mike Sigman 02-09-2005 10:12 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Craig Hocker wrote:
Actually at the Instructor's intensives I have been to, it's the opposite. which I prefer. You begin with Ki meditation and natural breathing. basically getting your mind calm/relaxed and eventually transition into Ki breathing. With the mind calm, the body relaxes right away and I find Ki breathing more natural and longer.

The general rule for most "meditation" (I hate to call it that because sometimes it's meditation but sometimes it's actually focused intent) practices that include breathing and other things is that first there is a quietness and relaxation, shutting out thoughts, etc., in order to gain a rapport with the subconscious. Sort of like the access you gain using a pendulum, oui-ja board, or similar things, if you've ever done it. Once the rapport is established and allowed to strengthen itself, then usually the breathing and/or kokyu practices (which you can do even seated with your eyes closed) begin. The rapport is one of the key elements so I'd agree that's the usual start. However, if you're having trouble settling your mind down, I'd also agree that doing some slow, focused breathing is a good way to settle the mind and then begin the rapport. ;)

FWIW

Mike

kironin 02-09-2005 11:39 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
actually the best, is to get up early, go do river misogi in a cold mountain stream, get out walk back to the dojo and sit down in seiza and do Ki meditation flowing into Ki breathing.

fond memories of steam rising off my head


then of course a full day of Aikido practice follows
:D

Mike Sigman 02-09-2005 03:08 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Craig Hocker wrote:
actually the best, is to get up early, go do river misogi in a cold mountain stream, get out walk back to the dojo and sit down in seiza and do Ki meditation flowing into Ki breathing.

fond memories of steam rising off my head


then of course a full day of Aikido practice follows
:D

Somehow, Buffalo Bayou doesn't strike me as the equivalent of a colde mountain stream, though. ;)

Mike

kironin 02-09-2005 04:47 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Somehow, Buffalo Bayou doesn't strike me as the equivalent of a colde mountain stream, though. ;)

Mike


no, in Texas and Hawaii you have to put ice cubes in the bath tub.
:p

Mike Sigman 02-09-2005 06:04 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Speaking of Misogi techniques and cold mountain streams and ki and kokyu, I went to look at Craig's home dojo website and the page on Ki had the following:

"Extending Ki is a natural state that we knew intuitively as babies, but as we have grown up in the hectic modern society of today we have forgotten how to let the Ki of the Universe flow through us."

The Chinese version of this comment refers to "Early Heaven" versus "Later Heaven" powers. So you have a lot of people naming their schools "Early Heaven Such and Such" and so on. However, the literal translation is not what the idiom actually refers to. What they mean is that we all have instinctive strengths and reactions when we're born and we all learn to move and act differently with "normal" strength and reactions. If we want to regain the instinctive strengths of man, we have to practice correctly to train them back and we have to do it enough so that they again become instinctive.

But on another level, there's more to it. Misogi breathing and other Ki exercises, along with Kokyu practice are methods for regaining the innate powers that we've lost as humans. I.e., the saying is that animals have strong Ki powers (animals are unusually strong for their sizes while man is weak for his size), but man has lost them through evolution (this is what the sentence I quoted was referring to, really). The breathing and stretching (as animals do, to keep themselves toned) and subconscious-strengthening of Ki exercises has this re-acquisition in mind.

Just a thought along the lines of the thread.

Mike

Mike Sigman 02-15-2005 04:34 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Craig Hocker wrote:
no, in Texas and Hawaii you have to put ice cubes in the bath tub.
:p

I used to live in Houston in the 70's and 80's and I competed in the first Houston Triathlon. We used Buffalo Bayou as a kayak course (it was run, bike, kayak) through the park (Memorial Park??). Turns out that even as stagnant as Buffalo Bayou looks, there's some sort of Gar fish in it and those suckers are BIG.

Mike

James Lavin 02-17-2005 03:53 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Charles Hill wrote:
Yes, but our shihan only explains it once a year at the yearly koushukai. I seriously doubt people are paying attention. So when we do the exercise during warmups, I have noticed that most aren`t doing it correctly. So maybe the answer to your question is also no.

While sitting seiza, we reach up with both arms, streching up and breathing in. We make fists and bring the arms down to where our fists are about to our ears, holding the breath, and focusing on our lower abdomen. Then we breathe out while lowering our hands.

I`d say our style is pretty conservative Aikikai Honbu.

Charles



some people know but cannot teach this

some people do not believe this is inportain

there are various ways to do the breathing

as you get older you will understand the value of this breathing

i do 15/20 minutes a day

jim :ki: :grr:

bogglefreak20 02-18-2005 04:49 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Nick Pittson wrote:
In our dojo, we do no breathing exercises of any type.
Not to hijack the thread, but do those that do do breathing exercises also do weapons?


We have both breathing excercises and weapon practice at our dojo.

During the summer vacations (end of June through end of August) we have only breathing excercises once a week for 2 hours in the nature. We also do some Ki tests there. The reason for that is that schools are closed during the summer and our dojo is located in a gym at a certain elementary school.

Qatana 02-18-2005 11:50 AM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
In the dojo we do the exercise Charles described, but we have not in my two years of training ever had it taught or explained to us.

I have been practicing Vipassana meditation for 17 years. We focus on the breath, wherever we feel it in the body. I personally do kinda of a hum, vibrating my hara on the exhale, or if I need to center almost a sigh.

Ted, what exactly about zazen is physical? The practice is almost exactly like Vipassana-Sit.Breathe. Breathe again. Breathe again. Pay attention to the breath. Sometimes in zen they count ten breaths and start over.

tedehara 02-19-2005 11:47 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Jo Adell wrote:
...Ted, what exactly about zazen is physical? The practice is almost exactly like Vipassana-Sit.Breathe. Breathe again. Breathe again. Pay attention to the breath. Sometimes in zen they count ten breaths and start over.

Sometimes when they teach zazen, they become physical in that they are very precise in the posture. Nostrils line up over the navel, chin tucked in and a ram-rod straight back. The Ki Society goes for a natural sitting form with the chin out and a straight back. The main purpose is to allow the person to relax.

Mike Sigman 02-21-2005 12:55 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Ted Ehara wrote:
The Ki Society goes for a natural sitting form with the chin out and a straight back. The main purpose is to allow the person to relax.

Hmmmm. There is a physical reason for Ki development why the head should be held up and the chin slightly in. Do you know who started this "chin out" protocol, Ted?

Mike

tedehara 02-21-2005 01:47 PM

Re: Breathing Exercise and Meditation
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Hmmmm. There is a physical reason for Ki development why the head should be held up and the chin slightly in. Do you know who started this "chin out" protocol, Ted?

Mike

I would have to assume it is K. Tohei.


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