Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Directed Breathing

[Path to Mastery 4/27/10 – Wk33 D2 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]

Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:

Directed breathing is where you lead the energy with the breath.  Traditionally, this concept is also called Hen Ha. 

You could almost argue that in the end, we learn all this in order to learn how to breathe.  If you know how to breathe, then you accomplish everything with just breathing.  You can accomplish alignment with breathing, you can accomplish movement with breathing, and you can accomplish relaxation with breathing. 

So, here is how you practice Directed Breathing. 

Some ground rules.  When you inhale, you inhale through your nose, and your tongue is on the roof of your mouth.  When you exhale you exhale through your mouth, and your tongue is either relaxed, or on the bottom of your mouth, behind your bottom teeth, but not touching.  (In the beginning the tongue is not as important, but as you get better in your ability to direct your breath the tongue will naturally come into play)

Now relax the center of your palm, and imagine you are exhaling out the finger tips.  You will feel as if your hand is filling up on the inhale and then emptying on the inhale.  When you get comfortable with this, start inhaling up to the forearm where you are filling the breath coming in through your fingertips to the forearm and then out.  Do this while your arms are dangling.  Then breathe in to the rest of your arm.  You will feel as if your arms are filling up and floating.

Now for this practice you may make sound with your breathing, especially when you exhale.  When you exhale, keep your mouth relatively closed and exhale as if you are blowing into a balloon.  When you exhale, imagine that you are exhaling into and out of your limbs instead of out of your mouth.  A good way to imagine it is as if your limbs or wherever you are directing your breath is the balloon and you are blowing into that part of the body.  Make sure you are relaxed, and that you are leading with your breath. 

In the beginning, this breathing will bring warmth and fullness into your body.  Then it will relax deeper, and it will help you heal and get rid of any tension in your body.  Try it.  If you have tension in your shoulders, breathe into that area, fill it up, and exhale that fullness out through your hands. 
Eventually, this will become power.  When you do this breathing, you feel your limbs and your body filling up with air and being supported from within.  Eventually, it starts moving you and pumping you.  For instance, if you practice this breathing during push ups, you will notice that on the exhale, the breath pushes you up, and in the inhale, the breath lets you down.      

As mentioned in the very beginning of this chapter directed breathing leads into Hen Ha breathing.  Hen Ha breathing is explosive energy breathing.  In the western concept, directed breathing is also pressurized breathing.  I will explain this further tomorrow! 

For today, play with breathing into different parts of the body. 

History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:
Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Chi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Chi-Gong); 2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Mediation; 4. 7 Basics; 5. Basic Form; 6. 30 Form; 7. 108 Form
8. 4 Type Pushing Hands

Interactive training after we went public with the blog. 
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11); 2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ 2/19); 4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)

Non-Structured System:
1.Introduction (Covered 2/25); 2. Free moving – conditioning (Covered 2/26); 3.Free hand pushing hand (Covered 3/1); 4.Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/2); 5.Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/3)

Detailed Instructions:
1.Principles (Covered 3/4)
2.Principle of Principles (Covered 3/5)
3.Principles of Upper Body #1~5 (Covered 3/8 – 3/15)
4.Principles Governing Lower Body #1~5 (Covered 3/16 – 3/22)
5. Principle Governing the Whole Body: (Covered 3/23)
6. Principles Governing Movement #1~5 (Covered 3/24 – 3/31)
7. Principles Governing Relaxation – General Concept (Covered 4/1 – 4/14)
8. Principles Governing Breathing
   1. Awareness of Breath (Covered 4/19)
   2. Breathe Naturally (Covered 4/20)
   3. No Sound Breath (Covered 4/21)
   4. Crow Bridge (Covered 4/22)
   5. Dan-Tien Breathing (Covered 4/26)
   6. Directed Breathing (Covered 4/27)
   7. Small Heavenly Circle
   8. Great Heavenly Circle
   9. Reverse Breathing
   10.Whole Body Breathing


  1. OK I'll give this a shot, I like the ideas of the hands floating up and down, I also like the idea of how it leads to perfect breathing.

  2. breathing is such an integral part of living, yet we tend to pay very little attention to it. These exercises make me very aware of where I hold tension in my body and mind