Temple Blog Reverse Abdominal Breathing
Reverse abdominal Breathing is the progression of normal abdominal Breathing. The best practice is to become proficient in normal abdominal Breathing before practising reverse abdominal Breathing.
The reverse abdominal Breathing, also known as Taoist Breathing, pre-birth, or womb breathing, is used for Qi accumulation and its manifestation inside the body. The Qi is then transferred to the limbs, other body extremities, into the bones (Marrow and Brain) and beyond, such as the Five Gates Breathing. During reverse abdominal Breathing, one can become aware of the Qi and Yin-Yang energy locations in the body and the energy meridians and collaterals.
Reverse abdominal Breathing is experienced at the unconscious level when one cries, laughs, yawns, blows up a balloon, or pushes a heavy object. In Chen Taiji Quan, during explosive power, the exhalation is fast to increase the striking power and sink the Qi to improve balance and grounding. The same effect is applied in Shaolin Quan when stamping the ground.
Reverse Abdominal Breathing
The practice of reverse abdominal Breathing is similar to normal abdominal Breathing, except that when breathing in, the abdomen draws in, and when breathing out, the abdomen expands. During Breathing, more tension is created in the perineum area, lower abdomen, and chest. The Huiyin acupoint (CV1 on the Conception Vessel Meridian) movement must also coordinate, such as breathing in, gently pulling the Huiyin acupoint upward and when breathing out, relaxing and slightly pushing the acupoint outward. The movement up and down of the Huiyin acupoint creates a pumping-like system that helps Qi flow. The movement stimulates the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, the adrenal and sex glands and, therefore, the production of the original essence (hormones), which will be regulated and possibly increased. The movements of the Huiyin acupoint and abdominal muscles must be very gentle. This aspect is essential during Qigong practice.
Breathing requires the intercostal muscles to work in expanding and contracting the chest cavity. The muscles are responsible for bringing in the air, which then travels to the lungs. During normal abdominal Breathing, the air is brought into the lungs by the thoracic diaphragm and the abdominal muscles. On the other hand, in reverse abdominal Breathing, the diaphragm moves downward to bring in the air, the abdomen draws inward, and the Huiyin acupoint moves upward. Several parts are moving, which will create tension. When one feels the tension, change to natural abdominal Breathing. Tension leads to the Fire Qi increasing, which can cause the mind to become scattered. After a more extended practice, the reverse abdominal Breathing becomes natural, and the tension is not felt anymore. If reverse abdominal Breathing is not practised to feel natural, one might tense the neck, face, and chest, leading to issues such as chest pain, diarrhoea, increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. During Qigong practice, one should always look for the right feeling and never be in a hurry or forcing the practice. Impatience and overthinking lead to tension.
- Become proficient in normal abdominal Breathing before starting reverse abdominal Breathing.
- As a beginner, start the reverse abdominal breathing practice while sitting or laying down but still, then while standing. When the practice becomes proficient, apply this Breathing to moving and forms practice.
- Start the practice for a few minutes or until you start to feel tension, then change to normal abdominal Breathing. As the practice progresses, the time can be increased.
- Minimum practice to see progress differs from person to person, but it takes approximately six months. For some, even more.
- Practice means gently, literally. This type of Breathing is more challenging than normal abdominal Breathing.
- Massage to the internal organs;
- Improved blood and Qi flow in the organs and body;
- Grounding effect;
- Increased Water Qi in the body;
- Increased efficiency in leading the Qi to the body parts;
- Qi exchange with the environment;
- Qi flow through secondary energy pathways to the skin (Skin Breathing) and bones (Marrow and Brain Qigong);
- Cultivate the body, mind, soul, wisdom and Qi.