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.