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February 13, 2006

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (23)

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

Shinichi Tohei


Chapter 4 Ki breathing is an elixir of life

Whole body breathing with internal respiration

I have explained correct posture and oneness of mind and body in order to do Ki breathing.
“Extend Ki” means to maintain our mind plus.
However, when we are sick or have something on our mind, it is difficult to have a plus mind, even if we try to.
Mind moves body. However, sometimes mind is affected by body.
If you practice Ki Principles well, even in bad health, you will be able to keep a plus mind. Most people become minus when their body becomes sick.

There is an elixir that will help you maintain a plus and healthy mind and body. That elixir is Ki breathing.
Humans can manage to live for a time without eating, but if breathing stops for even five minutes, you cannot survive.
Though we breathe unconsciously, whether our breathing is correct or not has a profound effect both on the spirit and on the welfare of our body.
A healthy person breathes in long strong breaths; a sickly person breathes in short weak ones.
A spiritually stable person breathes quietly and evenly, whereas a nervous person breathes at random and with short breaths.
We can always promote spiritual stability and preserve health by controlling our breathing.

Let’s think of the meaning and role of breathing.
Humans eat food and burn it to transform it into energy.
Oxygen is needed in this process, therefore, we breathe in oxygen from the atmosphere.
As by products of this process, waste matters like carbon dioxide are produced. These waste matters must be eliminated immediately. We need this process to maintain our lives.

There are two types of Breathing. External breathing or breathing with lungs describes the process where air from the external environment is inhaled into the lungs, and the carbon dioxide gas in the lungs is exhaled. Internal breathing describes the process where oxygen is taken from the lungs by capillary vessels convering the air cells of the lungs into the larger blood vessels, and into the capillary vessels supplying the cells of the body with oxygen. Conversely, carbon dioxide produced in the cells is absorbed by capillary vessels which flow into larger blood vessels then into the capillary vessels of the lungs where it is exhaled.

Many breathing methods are taught by many people. Most of those breathing methods are preoccupied with only external breathing.
It is said that the content of air in the lungs is about 3,000cc- 4,000cc.
We can exchange one fifth of the air in lungs by one normal breathing.
This means that we always retain dirty, old air in our lungs.
It is natural to do deep breathing and exchange air in our lungs.
To exchange air in the lungs, we do not need any breathing methods or technique.
When we air out a room with filthy air, we just open two windows and wait about 5 minutes. In the same way, if we do deep breathing five or six times, we can air out our lungs naturally.

Not only external breathing but internal breathing is important.
If oxygen goes only to the lungs and out, you do not get many benefits. When oxygen is carried to your whole body through your blood stream, you can benefit by sending fresh oxygen throughout your body.

Ki breathing does external and internal breathing at the same time. This is called “Whole body breathing”.
Some people teach to inhale and exhale for a specific time. In some cases, the number of breaths is predetermined.
However, it is not so important to inhale and exhale on a set time frame or for predetermined breaths.
The more you do ki breathing, the more you will become vigorous.

Breathing with oneness of mind and body

Let’s talk about how to do Ki breathing.
The most important thing is to practice oneness of mind and body. The correct posture is a natural posture when you do Ki brathing.
Natural posture means our mind and body are one with the Universe. It is a more comfortable and stable posture. The problem arises when you have difficulty understanding what is oneness of mind and body.
I have taught you in previous chapters how to do this. Anyone can check the state of oneness of mind and body through Ki test.
Before starting Ki breathing, let’s do a simple exercise.
First, please tense your body from the top of your head to the tiptoe.
Furrow your brow, stare hard, clamp your teeth shut, tense your shoulder and chest, tense your arm, put strength in your lower abdomen, and tense your legs. How is your breathing at this moment?
Many of you might hold your breath without being aware. If you do Ki test at this moment, you will know that if you tense your body, your posture is unstable.
Let’s do another exercise. This time, let’s try dead relaxation. Drop your shoulders like when you are disappointed and let your back bend.
How is your breathing at this moment? Yes, it is difficult to breathe because internal organs are pressed. Therefore, you can feel your breath becomes shallow. When you do Ki test, you will understand that dead relaxation is an unstable posture.
Many people know that relaxation is important to their health. Not many people know that there is a difference between correct relaxation and dead relaxation.
When you do Ki breathing, it is important to do Ki breathing with oneness of mind and body rather than just physically.

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