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February 20, 2006

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (24)

This article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei's book, "Ki breathing (Ki no Kokyuho)". We will upload new article every Monday.

Shinichi Tohei


Put Ki breathing into practice

Let’s check your sitting posture. It is better if you have a partner to perform Ki testing on you.
You need to practice Ki tests because it is difficult to realize your own tension by yourself. You may not have a partner to check.
In this case, please test yourself.

1. Check posture with oneness of mind and body
To correct your posture, first, move your shoulders up and down. Find the position that allows you to move your shoulders up and down the easiest. It is the natural position of the shoulder. Your upper body should also be relaxed. Do not move your shoulders in a circle but move your shoulders up and down.
Put your hands on your lap lightly.
Then, check your posture by practicing the Ki test.
Is your posture comfortable and stable? Do you have any tension in your body? Do you feel your body to be light, stable and calm?
If you can practice correct posture, you will most likely perform breathing exercise correctly.

Correct posture while sitting on a chair
Correct posture
99upr 99upl   
First, move your shoulders up and down. Find the position that allows you to move your shoulders up and down the easiest. Put your hands on your lap lightly. You feel your body to be right and stable.

Chest out posture (wrong example)
99midr 99midl   
She has tension in her chest, back and hands.

Hunched posture (wrong example)
99dowr 99dowl   
This is dead relaxation and hunched posture. Limp posture.

2. Exhale calmly
Next, let’s practice how to exhale.
This is called “Koki” in Japanese. This means exhale carbon dioxide.
Beginners exhale only six or seven seconds because they are conscious of their chest and lungs. They tense their body unintentionally.
When you get off the bus, the bus driver says, “Please get off the bus from people near the exit first.” When you get into a bus, the bus driver says, “Please be seated from the back of the bus.”
Breathing is similar to this. When you exhale, if you imagine that your breath in the head goes first, then chest, back, leg, tiptoe in order, it is easy for you to exhale.
However, you should not think of this except when you are beginning. Once you understand that breathing is not just your chest or lungs but the whole body breathing, you can exhale comfortably.
Open your mouth naturally in a position that you can say “a”. Exhale so that you can visualize your breath going straight forward making the sound “Ha”. The sound should not be loud but very calm and relaxed. It is important to exhale naturally.
You should not be thinking about how long your exhale or inhale is. If you think about these things your body will become tense.
Some people become obsessed with the idea that they should exhale and inhale strongly.
When people try to exhale, they tense their body.
When you do Ki breathing, please exhale calmly and practice natural breathing.
If you exhale with dead relaxation, the exhale will be very weak.
It is important to do Ki breathing with oneness of mind and body. If you repeat exhaling several times, you will be able to exhale 15 or 20 seconds comfortably.
First, please practice until you can exhale comfortably before working on inhaling. If you extend Ki, new Ki comes into you. In the same way, if you exhale completely, new air comes into your lungs naturally.

3. Exhale naturally
If you can exhale comfortably, let’s go on to the next step.
As you exhale, the amount of air in your lungs decreases, and many people stop their exhale intentionally.
This is wrong. We naturally breathe when we are alive. If you hold your breath, your body becomes tense.
If your body is tense, blood vessels contract creating poor blood circulation.
If you exhale and let it continue, your breath becomes infinitely calm, leave your mouth open. When you think your exhale is naturally at an end, move your upper body slightly forward and let out one last breath. You should not hold your breath intentionally, but it is important to have your breath stop naturally.
Count, “one, two, three” as you end your breath. Your body should remain slightly forward as you close your mouth, begin your inhale naturally, thinking “from the tip of your nose.”
If you can do this, let's go on to the next step.

Exhale
103r
Exhale straight forward with sound of "HA"and calmly as much as possible.
103l
When you think your exhale is naturally at an end, move your upper body slightly forward and let out one last breath naturally.

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