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Old 08-31-2006, 03:34 PM   #51
Moses
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Location: Denver, Co
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

FWIW, from the Daoist/TCM perspective as said before, your connecting the Du (center-line along the back) & Ren (center-line along the front) channels, as Mike mentioned, your completing the "microcosmic orbit". Personally I have had unusual experiences w/ this paired relationship. For whatever reason, during Qi Gong practices & sometimes during my forms training I can faintly feel a heat spot or little star of energy rising up my back. I loose it until it hits my brow and then I can feel it drop down to my tongue, where it can be quite ticklish. What ever it is, it is very tangible, in fact if it doesn't fall down my tongue, it will bounce back up into my nose & I will end up sneezing like crazy. Anyway when it does drop, it eventually finds its way back to my lower pelvis, where it mostly feels warm. Oddly enough this flow seems to mimic the natural breathing process, hence upon inhalation the upper back rises and upon exhalation everything seems to relax downward back into the pelvis. Personally I have noticed, Mike correct me where I am wrong, that it seems this pathway is the same for the discharging of power, i.e. by inhaling & lifting the peritoneal sack along w/ bowing the back, seems quite similar to what Mike has previous spoken about. Again I am still putting these pieces together.
Moses
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:15 PM   #52
Mike Sigman
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Michael McCaslin wrote:
I was just looking more closely at the exercise you described in the second post on this thread. When you describe the pulling the stomach in with the breath, are you suggesting that we do "reverse breathing", where the dantian/hara hara expands on exhalation?
I'm unclear on your usage of the word "expands". The stomach-area pulls slightly in so that the lower torso doesn't "expand", but the pressure within it goes up. The "pressure" area is the stomach on the front, the diaphragm, the lower lumbar region, the "kidney" (really the quadratus lumborum area) region, and the perineum area. That area becomes a sort of "container".
Quote:
Would you mind describing how the execise should feel for both types of breathing (for the exercise you described)? Does the pull on the suit change quality or direction with reverse breathing, or is it augmented? Is there a benefit or detriment to regulating the exhale rather than just relaxing, maybe a "push" of the suit rather than a release?
Well, I don't do the "Buddhist" or "natural" breathing anymore. Some people do; I don't as a general rule. Different people have different beliefs (and everyone is sure their way is the best, of course). The "pull" is augmented with reverse breathing.... but it's important that these exercises be done only lightly and for a long period of time (think of a one or two year startup time). Very good comment on the exhale, but for now I just recommend that you relax on exhale. A lot of people get into trouble with the breathing if they overdo it. It's better to do it softly for a long time than to try to rush it, IMO. If someone is older, they need to be even more cautious in starting these things because the fascia and the rest of the body is not as pliable and flexible as it used to be. They need guidance at first.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:17 PM   #53
Mike Sigman
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Moses Jenkins wrote:
Personally I have noticed, Mike correct me where I am wrong, that it seems this pathway is the same for the discharging of power, i.e. by inhaling & lifting the peritoneal sack along w/ bowing the back, seems quite similar to what Mike has previous spoken about.
Good perceptions. You can be pretty sure that the theory of all this developed from the practical observations... so your noting that the functional path for pushing/hitting is the same would be, of course, exactly right.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:26 PM   #54
Moses
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
but it's important that these exercises be done only lightly and for a long period of time (think of a one or two year startup time) Mike
I have to agree

I was working w/ Xing Yi's Pi Quan & it was the first time I truly felt the connection between upper & lower body. I could feel my thighs pushing my elbows, which was generated by my lower back. I got so excited about this connection via the middle I practiced like crazy sucking up the abdomen & pumping it out, that I ended up doing something to my stomach & intestines. It was horrible, I had a general nausea feeling that lasted for several months, I ended up having to completely stop training. Mike is right about going slow. Since then I am taking the "less is more" approach & being in no hurry.
Moses
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:09 AM   #55
Michael McCaslin
Dojo: aikijujitsu, unaffiliated
Location: New Orleans
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I'm unclear on your usage of the word "expands". The stomach-area pulls slightly in so that the lower torso doesn't "expand", but the pressure within it goes up. The "pressure" area is the stomach on the front, the diaphragm, the lower lumbar region, the "kidney" (really the quadratus lumborum area) region, and the perineum area. That area becomes a sort of "container".
I meant expansion of the dantian while breathing out. I have believed that in the "natural" breath, the dantian/hara fills and expands, with a visible movement, while the practitioner inhales. When the practitioner exhales, the dantian/hara "deflates", and can be seen to move as well. Reverse breathing would be, well, the reverse, where movement of the dantian "in" can be seen on the inhale and "out" on the exhale.

I get the impression from your post that this movement is not nearly so visible in the reverse breathing, but that the feeling of pressure is what we are after. I can feel the pressure clearly in the areas you described. Should the chest be allowed to expand with reverse breathing? It seems that the pressure goes away if this happens, so maybe I just answered my own question.

Thanks to you and Moses both for the health warnings-- I will take them seriously. In general, I try to pay a lot of attention to what's happening inside when I train, with the feeling of a good stretch rather than any straining or forcing.

Is 35 all that old?! Time to look into arrangements, I suppose.


Michael
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:19 AM   #56
Mike Sigman
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Michael McCaslin wrote:
I get the impression from your post that this movement is not nearly so visible in the reverse breathing, but that the feeling of pressure is what we are after.
Sure. This is what they mean by store/breathe/condense/concentrate the ki at the navel/dantien/tanden/hara . And you feel it beginning to pull at the layers covering the rest of your body.
Quote:
Is 35 all that old?! Time to look into arrangements, I suppose.
You're just a pup. I remember a teacher I once had who mentioned that probably the best age to start a lot of the sophisticated breath/ki/whatever studies was around 40. Anyone younger has not learned to settle down and focus well enough.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:14 PM   #57
Michael McCaslin
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You're just a pup. I remember a teacher I once had who mentioned that probably the best age to start a lot of the sophisticated breath/ki/whatever studies was around 40. Anyone younger has not learned to settle down and focus well enough.
It's probably no coincidence that this is also the about age that most of us realize that we can't count on our youthful physique to stay with us and are more open to exploring alternatives.

Periodically I decide to "get fit" (like when I used to play competitive soccer). The last time the urge struck me I went to a park, stretched for a few minutes, and took off running at a full sprint. I promptly sustained tears to both hamstrings! This was a humbling experience for me, and a turning point in the way I train for anything. The old way was just to beat the body unmercifully until I got compliance! Now I've learned to ask nicely...

At any rate, I'll be happy if I stay in the game long enough to learn something worth teaching and pass it on.
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:26 PM   #58
Mike Sigman
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Michael McCaslin wrote:
The last time the urge struck me I went to a park, stretched for a few minutes, and took off running at a full sprint. I promptly sustained tears to both hamstrings!
One of the interesting things that happens with these deliberate breath/slight-stretch exercises is that it begins to stabilize and strengthen your joints and muscles. The stabilization is part of the process that begins to give you strength, but there's also an aspect that is somewhat related to the intra-abdominal pressure stuff that weight-lifters use, only more widely spread (caution has to be used here and the approach slow). You don't "tear" things so much. My ability to throw a very long baseball throw came back, I don't sprain my ankles or wrist very often if at all. Of course to work the whole body, you need a whole-body regimen, not just the simple start I outlined near the start of the thread. Frankly, my opinion is that pretty much all the variety, etc., that is needed for good Aikido practice/development of these skills is right there in Aikido, when done correctly with the breathing and force manipulation. I don't suggest anyone look elsewhere than Aikido, although to be balanced I'd have to note that all sorts of qigongs, yoga routines, etc., will do the same thing when the breath and force-manipulations are used.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:08 PM   #59
Michael McCaslin
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Location: New Orleans
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Re: Deep Breathing and its meaning

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I don't suggest anyone look elsewhere than Aikido, although to be balanced I'd have to note that all sorts of qigongs, yoga routines, etc., will do the same thing when the breath and force-manipulations are used.
Well, in my case the dojo where I train does some judo, some hard jujitsu, and some softer "aiki" stuff that mainly comes from Hakko ryu as well as my instructor's own realizations. We don't do any internal strength training, and most there focus on balance and technique refinement. My instructor has internal training, but tends to be dismissive of it when we ask about it.

I work on the internal development for "homework" and then test what I learn in the dojo environment. I'm open to all sources, but since virtually all my work outside the dojo is solo I do mostly qigong type solo exercises and the exercises from your DVD's. I work on my breathing and repatterning my movement virtually all day every day.

I haven't been at it long, but I see significant differences in the dojo "test lab." Whether as uke or nage the way I react to and generate force is changing.
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