For over 5000 years, the Chinese practice of Qigong has been benefiting millions of people.
70 million people in China alone practice this ancient system of physical exercises and breathing controls.
It has gone global too with over 600,000 people in the United States practicing it regularly.
One reason why Qigong has stood the test of time so well is because of its significant benefits, especially when doing Qigong breathing exercises.
These techniques are both mental and physical and the advantages to your health are extraordinary.
Some of Qigong’s breathing exercises combine knowledge of modern science and medicine with traditional Chinese medicine.
They help to initiate fitness and self-healing and act as an advanced meditation practice.
If you devote yourself to these exercises, you can activate energy, maintain your good health, restore health to those who are ill, and increase longevity.
Today, we are going to show you a couple of the most beneficial Qigong breathing exercises which could have a profound impact on your wellbeing.
The following breathing exercises activate your body’s microcirculatory system and allow energy to center around your respiratory, digestive, circulatory, immune, and urinary systems.
Try these exercises to awaken as well as conserve important energy in your body’s energy banks.
Think of it as fuel for everyday life.
Qigong Breathing Exercises
There are many different kinds of breathing exercises in Qigong that focus on rebalancing the Qi or Chi in your mind and body.
Qi is otherwise known as “life force energy”.
Before you practice these breathing exercises, you need to get into the right frame of mind.
Preparing for Qigong Breathing Exercises
Settle yourself in a quiet place with no distractions around you.
This can be done inside or outside.
Some prefer to practice these exercises in nature but wherever you choose to do so, ensure you feel comfortable so you can focus on your breathing.
You can stand or sit, depending on what you prefer or your personal requirements.
Make sure you have a stable, supportive chair or a cushion if you are sitting.
The best thing about these exercises is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time on them.
Just try and set aside some time in the day.
Don’t feel like you have to rush through each exercise.
Use this time to relax and unwind completely.
Wear loose-fitting clothes as tight or restrictive clothing can limit your breathing ability.
Comfort is of top priority.
Now, take some time to think about certain areas of your body as some of the breathing techniques isolate different organs or muscles.
If this feels strange, that’s normal.
Take a moment to get in touch with different parts of your body.
If you’re ready, let’s begin the breathing exercises.
The Original Breath
This exercise should help you center yourself and make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
It will feel more natural the more you do it.
You can either sit or stand for this but make sure you sit on a chair or a cushion rather than on the ground.
If you’re standing, check that your feet are shoulder-width apart and your knees are soft.
Try and balance your spine so that it feels lengthened but not strained in any way.
A relaxed spine is essential for Qi.
Place both of our hands over your navel to help you feel your breath in your body.
Relax and focus on your breaths.
Once focused, begin to take deeper, longer breaths.
This should be felt in your abdomen as you breathe in and out.
Watch the breath fill your abdomen before extending into your chest.
As you breathe in, feel your stomach expand outwards and then allow it to relax back in as you breathe out.
You will feel your breaths get longer with more time because your body starts to get used to the motions.
Continue doing this breathing exercise for as long as you desire.
You should feel your lungs massaging your stomach as you breathe in and out.
This physical feeling creates movement and stimulation in your belly.
In Qigong, every organ has an important role in terms of physiology and energy.
Energy-wise, the lungs collect the Qi from the air while the kidney pulls that energy deeper into the body.
The kidneys gradually lose energy as we age so through this breathing exercise, we can recharge these energy batteries while strengthening the diaphragm and massaging the kidneys.
This exercise is best if you’re standing after the Original Breath.
Check that your feet are parallel and shoulder's width apart.
Your knees would be slightly bent but not forward of your toes.
Bring your hands to the lower part of your back with your palms just above the hips.
Your fingers should point down and in toward your sacrum and spine.
Tuck your tailbone underneath your body (like a monkey reaching forward for its tail between its legs).
This straightens the natural curve of your lower spine.
As you breathe, look for movement in your lower back.
This is usually more subtle than your belly’s movement.
As you inhale, try to encourage your lower back to expand.
Then, as you exhale, let your lower back relax again.
Tilt your hips slightly as you breathe.
Tuck your tailbone under your body as you inhale to round your lower back slightly.
Untuck your tailbone as you exhale.
If you have had previous spinal disc issues, be very careful.
Your lungs and diaphragm are pushed down and back with this exercise and your kidney and adrenal glands are fully massaged.
This improves your blood filtration and hormonal activity.
These are just a couple of Qigong breathing exercises but there are many more you can perform.
Starting with the Original Breath and Kidney Breathing will help you settle into the rhythm of these techniques.
As you continue to practice, you will find it far easier to focus on your breathing and gentle movements.
As time goes on, you can try Daoist Reverse Breathing which is a more complicated technique but helps to purify your body and intensify your meridian flow.