Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.
Qigong, which is also spelled as Ch'i Kung and is pronounced as Chee-gung, is one of the most powerful healing and medicinal practices from China. By combining the form of art and science together along with mixing gentle movements, Qigong is a kind of meditation that cleanses, circulates, and strengthens the life's energy (qi) around you. Majority of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe and recommend it as a way to stay healthy and lead a better life.
How Does the Breathing Work
Apart from Qigong, there are other types of breathing exercises as well―Tai Chi; it is also a style of Qigong. All these different styles focus on providing various goals; let that be for martial arts, spiritual, or medicinal for providing a healthier mind, body, and soul.
Below is a step-by-step demonstration on how to go about it.
- Touch your tongue on the palate (roof of the mouth) and hold it at a 12 o'clock position. In between, you can press the tongue against your inner gums, slightly above your front teeth.
- Hold the tongue at this position till the end and swallow the saliva. You will breathe from your nose as gently and slowly as possible. If you can, you should inhale from the nose and exhale from the mouth.
- Breathe completely, but keep it as gentle and silent as possible. We need to make sure that you don't put any strain on yourself. As you breathe, your abdomen muscles need to expand to let the diaphragm open.
- When you reach at the end of your breath, as in if you can't breathe in anymore, your abdomen, rib cage, and diaphragm will work in unison.
- Now we exhale. Just as we inhaled, silently and gently, you need to exhale in the same way. Empty your lungs completely so that your stomach goes as close to your spine as possible.
- You need to breathe completely, and deeply. Only then will the toxins leave your body and you can master the art of Qigong.
Some Breathing Exercises
Now that we understood how the breathing is controlled in any exercises that you may do, you can quickly learn the different types of exercises.
Squeezing Your Stomach
- You can either sit on an exercise mat or do it while you're walking.
- You need to inhale as gently, slowly, and deeply as you can.
- Hold your breath and count till 5. If you can't hold the breath for 5 counts, you can exhale earlier as well.
- After the 5 counts are over, slowly breathe out.
- Once you exhale, you will feel the abdomen muscles becoming slightly tight.
- Relax after you exhale completely, and repeat the steps for 3 to 6 times in the entire day.
Breathing from the Nostrils
- Sit on an exercise mat or stand in a relaxed position.
- You will breathe as you did before, but won't hold your breath this time.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb and breathe from the left nostril.
- Hold for a moment and then exhale completely.
- Take a small break (2―3 seconds) and then place your left thumb on your left nostril.
- Again breathe in and breathe out in the same manner. Repeat this exercise as many times as you like throughout the day.
There are various health benefits from doing this type of breathing. But no matter how beneficial they may be, it is advised that you shouldn't perform any of these exercises by yourself. Many times, with improper breathing techniques, people have experienced dizziness and/or have fainted. Which is why, doing these breathing techniques under a professional instructor is ideal.