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New Year, New Breath

Breathing techniques from the ancient Chinese system of Qigong can boost your oxygen and sense of peace.

by Martha Everett

 

 

Qigong is an ancient Chinese system that uses movement, breath and mindfulness to gather intrinsic life force energy, or Qi, for healing, meditation and exercise. Qigong is said to be over 4,000 years old. Over those thousands of years, many varieties of Qigong were formed, using Chinese medicine for curing and preventing disease, using philosophy for reaching enlightenment, developing longevity and meditative practices.

qigong
World T’ai Chi Qigong Day event in Silver City in 2012.

Contemporary Qigong blends these principles together, using physical training in either static postures or dynamic movement. It engages mental training, using visualization and focusing on the movement of Qi and practicing slow, rhythmic breathing or other Qigong breath exercises. Qigong is also supported by the ingestion of medicinal herbs, foods with high Qi content or those that interact with the elemental forces.

Qi travels within the blood, true to the adage, "Where the blood flows, the Qi goes." Qi does not flow as well through areas of tension, tightness, injury and restriction, as the blood is not able to penetrate these areas as deeply. This creates an area of stagnation, which Chinese medicine believes is the root of disease.

Qigong can be a great way for people of all ages to increase blood flow and circulation, because the practitioner is using breath, movement and visualization to increase the flow of Qi. Breath work can be especially beneficial to bring more Qi and oxygen to the blood, as well as aiding in the shifting of the emotional composition in the areas of tension or tightness.

 

The Breath Empowerment breathing exercise is the first part of the Supreme Science Qigong Foundation system. This technique is also known as Pranayama in the Indian Vedic system. It uses a Warrior's Breath, initiated by the contraction of the diaphragm, which draws in a full breath to the chest. The breath is performed in and out through the nose, with a strong focus on the inhale, filling the lungs deeply.

qigong 2
Blood analysis shows the changes after just
one cycle of the 9 Breath Method
.

For a moment, hold in your mind the image of a warrior or an athlete in their preparation for battle or sparring. Where is their breath? It is not the deep, relaxed breath to the belly, but rather a full chest breath. It has a strong inhale, with sound through the nasal passages. It is not a hyperventilation breath, but controlled and deliberate.

This type of breath brings a lot more oxygen into the lungs than normal respiration. This oxygen is for both the respiration process of breathing and for fueling all metabolic processes of the body. The oxygen is shared through the process of diffusion from the lungs to the blood. Transfer to the blood allows the hemoglobin protein in the blood to distribute the oxygen throughout the body.

The repetition of this Warrior's Breath to create a 30-40 minute Breath Empowerment will greatly amplify the amount of oxygen coming into the body, thereby oxygenating every cell.

With this breath, as it increases more blood flow in the body, Qi is simultaneously increased. The Qi can be felt in the body as heat, pulsing, or a sense of inflation to the limbs. The Qi and breath can help move through emotional blocks, as the emotions and the breath are so closely related.

The Breath Empowerment ends with returning to slow, deep breathing, to relax and feel the increased Qi, blood flow and a new sense of peace. Most people who have done this breath have reported feeling more energy (Qi) in their body than they have ever had and a great deal of peace and love, as they have let go of old traumas and emotional pain.

 

The oxygenation of the cells that occurs in the Breath Empowerment is very important for the health and wellbeing of the physical body. There have been many studies about the relationship to oxygen and diseases, especially cancer. Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for his work on respiration, also theorized that there is a close link between oxygen and cancer. He sought to show that the primary cause of cancer is directly related to a deprivation of oxygen in the cells. Dr. Warburg found that cancer cells are anaerobic, that the cells go through their metabolic processes with no oxygen. This meant cancer cells actually thrive in an oxygen-deprived environment. Performing breath exercises like the Breath Empowerment will flood the body with oxygen, creating an environment in your body that cancer cells cannot live in.

There are many forms of breath work to bring more oxygen to the body. Another method used in the Supreme Science Qigong system is the 9 Breath Method, which brings a rush of Qi and oxygen to the body in just 45 seconds, as opposed to the 30-40 minute process of Breath Empowerment. This technique helps increase the circulation of the blood, as you can see from the live blood analysis photo taken in 2009 at a Supreme Science Qigong Foundation event. This was after one cycle of the 9 Breath Method. You can see the roundness of the blood cells after the 9 Breath Method, allowing them to hold more oxygen and function properly. Completing a series of 9 Breath Method breaths can bring the same amount of Qi, oxygen and peace as felt in the Breath Empowerment.

One of the most unique and powerful pieces of the 9 Breath Method is creating the 9 Breath Prayer Circle, where the participants are breathing together for the same concept, idea or location. For example, we begin the circle focusing and sending Qi around the circle to the participants to build the connection, expanding out as we breathe for the town, the country, to every man, women and child on the planet. In this prayer circle, where two or more are gathered together in minds and hearts, the units of Qi are amplified up to 10-fold. Healing can happen in this group field, as the energy vibration is raised high enough to push through the blocks in the nervous and circulatory system of each person in the circle.

 

 

Supreme Science Qigong Foundation has certified hundreds of facilitators in sharing this system in a three-hour workshop. The foundation's website is www.qirevolution.com.

Martha K. Everett, certified Qigong facilitator, will be holding a three- hour breath workshop Saturday, Jan. 19, from 1-4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 3845 N. Swan in Silver City. The price is $35, $25 if you've attended a previous Breath Empowerment with Martha, and advanced registration is required. For information, call (575) 388-2098 or (575) 574-7268 or email martha@abundancetherapeutics.com.

Body, Mind & Spirit is a forum for sharing ideas and experiences on all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health and on how these intersect. Readers, especially those with expertise in one or more of these disciplines, are invited to contribute and to respond. Write PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email editor@desertexposure.com.

 

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Desert Exposure or its advertisers, and are not intended to offer specific or prescriptive medical advice. You should always consult your own health professional before adopting any treatment or beginning any new regimen.

 

 

 



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