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Should you want a longer practice, continue with a second breathing routine, learned from Qigong Master Kenneth Cohen, called the Accordion Breath. This practice enhances the energy within the lower dan tian, building the energy in that area.
Dan tian breathing is the method of breath for the practice of qigong. In common language, dan tian breathing is abdominal breathing. This, however, is not to be interpreted to mean that one only works with the rise and fall of the abdomen, to have the breath come in and leave the body. If you use only the belly in your breathing, the chest and ribcage seem to freeze up, and the end result is increased tension. Abdominal breathing that is healthy includes the use of the entire structure we have for breathing, for it is natural for the chest to expand and release with the breath. I have seen healthy breathing defined in the yogic works as being breath which utilizes the front and back of the abdomen and the front, back, and sides of the chest; each of these parts of us moves in inhalation and exhalation.
So many of us do not breathe properly and focusing on how to breathe seems to make the process even more strained, more difficult. Make breathing easy for yourself. First get the knowledge. Understand technique. Then relax about it, letting go of telling yourself how. Relaxing your mindset changes your focus to one of allowing, opening you to receive the knowing through the movement of your body.
Healthy breathing is deep in the body, uses the abdomen as a result of the movement in the diaphragm, yet it extends from the lower areas up into the chest. After all, this is where our lungs are. Keep the muscles of the throat and neck out of it. This is another area where we get into trouble in breathing. Tension in the throat and jaw continues on down as tension in the neck, with shallow incomplete breath. When you think of breath, think deep, think total torso. This term, which is yogic, is a good one. Dr. Yang, qigong, informs us that the optimum intake in breathing is to a level of less than our maximum capacity. Let’s combine the yoga and the qigong and free ourselves for healthy breathing.
A Second Routine for Healthy Breathing
The Accordion Breath: Dan Tian Breathing
Synopsis: The Accordion Breath: Dan Tian Breathing
Establish Qigong Stance, Focus
Hands in Front of Navel, Knees Bent – Image
Hands to Side, Torso Lifting – Image
The Accordion Breath: Dan Tian Breathing: Detailed Instruction:
All the principles of Qigong Stance learned in the first routine apply here.
The Focus is in the navel area of the body, the Lower Dan Tian, connecting the physical body within the mother earth.
Begin with the knees slightly bent and the hands held out from the navel area of the body, palms facing one another. Connect within your body into the energy center there. Feel, sense, and visualize the qi flowing between the palms, building within the body.
Float your hands apart, up and out to the side while you come to a normal qigong stance, standing erect with knees released.
Float your hands back to the original position in front of the navel while you again bend your knees.
The hand movements look as though you are playing an accordion and thus the name.
Tips for Mind Body Power: What is happening energetically is that you are increasing and strengthening the qi within the Lower Dan Tian center through your movement, breath, and focus.
If it helps you to sense this, think/feel / expand/gather/increase when the hands go out to the side and you raise your body up, nurture/fill/strengthen when you bring your hands back to the Lower Dan Tian, knees slightly bent.
Close with the hands on the navel, one palm over the other, normal qigong stance, eyes closed, sensing how you feel in your body/mind.