Slow and deep Qigong Breathing is a meditation practice that calms you down and revitalizes or “Charges Up Your Internal Battery.” You can do the practice anytime, anywhere…sitting in traffic, standing in line, or before any high stress situation where you need to chill out.
It’s called Embryonic Qigong Breathing and it’s the root of all Qigong and Tai Chi breathing methods.
Even before we were born we received nutrients and life supporting oxygen from our mother’s umbilical tube. This practice retrains a person to breathe like a baby. It’s also called Pre-Birth Breathing.
Here’s an easy step-by-step way to do it:
Step 1 Relax…relax…relax….
Step 2 Gently place your tongue against the roof of your mouth. This is the ancient Chinese secret of connecting to your Internal Energy circuit. It’s like flipping on a light switch.
Step 3 Drop your mind down to your lower Dan Tian, about 3 finger’s width below your navel. Gently place one palm over your Dan Tian. Then place the other palm over it.
Step 4 Relax some more and slow your breathing. On your next inhale gently breathe into your palms. Your low belly should expand outward. Don’t force or push. Keep it natural. Exhale and the belly contracts. Continue this for a few long and even breaths as the palms move in and out as you breathe. Note that this step may take some time as most of us are often caught up in daily stress, leaving our breathing way too high up in the chest. Or perhaps you’ve been so influenced by the “stomach in, chest out” image that your breath gets stifled, adding more stress and tension. Here’s the chance to let it all hang out. Take your time.
Step 5 Continue with the previous step as you visualize breathing sideways into your kidneys. It may help to have a friend or partner stand behind you, gently placing their hands on this area. Try to easily breathe into their hands. No straining or pushing. Keep it natural, free and easy. Try this for 5 or 6 easy cycles. In no time, your partner’s hands (on your kidneys) will move in and out.
Step 6 Continue steps four and five as you gently breathe into the small of the back, the opposite side of the low belly. Your partner can place a palm softly against the lower back. Don’t expect much movement here, but just the visualization will bring your breath and energy to this area. We are now expanding the breath outward from the spine on the inhalation and back toward the spine on the exhalation. Visualize yourself as a tree, the spine being in the middle. Expand your breath and energy on the inhalation. Imagine concentric waves, like the growth rings of a tree, moving out from your spine. Exhale and the concentric waves come back inward toward the spine. Continue this for 4 to 8 breathing cycles.
Congratulations! You’re now doing Embryonic Qigong Breathing. Feel free to practice this meditation exercise multiple times during the day, although practicing it once a day will help immensely. And remember, next time you’re around a baby sleeping, watch them breathe and try to copy that beautiful natural rhythm.
Steven Leigh is a practicing Martial Artist and Yogi. Find out more information at www.kungyo.com.