Taoist Breathing

Why Learn Breathing?

Western and Eastern medical practitioners consider good breathing habits to be essential components of health. Unfortunately, the most people have poor breathing habits. They take shallow breaths, only use a portion of their lungs, even when they believe they are taking deep breaths, and hold their breath--especially when they become nervous or tense.

Breathing well is vitally important to your health. No other health practice is capable of producing such dramatic and life-changing results, for the amount of effort put in, as the conscious practice of learning to breathe with your entire body in a relaxed, circular manner, without holding your breath. Breathing with the whole body has been used for millennia to enhance the ability to dissolve and release energy blockages in the mind/body, enhancing well-being and spiritual awareness.

Breathing Techniques: Taoist vs. Pranayama Systems

Eastern medical systems have brought two major breathing systems to the West: one is pranayama or yogic breathing and the other is Taoist breathing. These systems have many similarities, including:

  • Breathing techniques to make conscious contact with your chi or prana
  • The aim of lengthening inhales/exhales
  • Proper body alignments while breathing
  • Breathing for longevity and to counter aging
  • Breathing to create physical, energteic, emotional, mental and psychic power.

However, they also have fundamental differences. Unlike pranayama, Taoist breathing emphasizes kidney breathing and lower/upper back breathing. The breath is alway done with both nostrils and there is no breathing into the front of the chest.

The major difference is that many core pranayama breathing techniques involve holding the breath. In Taoist breathing, you never hold or restrict the breath since it can create tension and thereby negatively pattern the nervous system--the exact opposite of Taoist breathing goals.

Taoist Longevity Breathing Program

Energy Arts teaches a Taoist breathing system based on ancient, time-tested techniques used for centuries to improve the quality of your breath, help you feel more alive and build your chi.

When I returned from my studies in China, India and Japan, I sat down and distilled all that I had learned about Taoist breathing into a program that makes these practices accessible to Westerners. These methods may be quite different from those that other teachers use to teach Taoist breathing.

I call my program Longevity Breathing™ because it's a step-by-step method for helping you learn Taoist breathing. Taoist Longevity Breathing can be practiced alone, although it's especially useful for practitioners of martial arts, tai chi, yoga or meditation. The purpose of Taoist Longevity Breathing is to create relaxed, circular, whole-body
breathing. This means Taoist Longevity Breathing can be done 24 hours a day, throughout the day, recharging your system and helping you feel more alive in every moment.
--Bruce Frantzis

Benefits of Taoist Breathing

Bruce Frantzis Practices in MauiBruce Frantzis Practices in MauiThe basic techniques of Taoist Longevity Breathing get everything inside your body moving and in synch with the rhythm of your breathing. It wakes up the inside of your body and makes it incredibly healthy. The methodology cultivates your ability to relax at any time and concentrate for long periods.

Taoist Longevity Breathing:

  • Facilatates oxygen intake and the balances the oxygen-carbon dioxide exhange in the body
  • Fully expells carbon dioxide
  • Retrains your nervous system to relax
  • Improves the functioning of your internal organs
  • Increases chi reserves in the body.  

Taoist Longevity Breathing Increases Oxygen Levels

The oxygen in your blood powers your metabolism, circulation and your ability to heal. Decreasing levels of oxygen make you prone to illness, morbid emotions and weak physical and mental performance. Most Western doctors recommend aerobic exercise as the best way to increase the volume of oxygen in your body.

Taoist Longevity Breathing does the same. When qigong is practiced along with Taoist Longevity Breathing, the flow of oxygen will become smooth and balanced throughout your body.

Taoist Longevity Breathing Gets Rid of Carbon Dioxide

Taoist Longevity Breathing gets rid of carbon dioxide and increases the usable oxygen that you inhale. Even if you can inhale sufficiently to pull in enough oxygen to your system, you might not exhale deeply or long enough to get rid of all the carbon dioxide in your body. For most people, a quarter or so reserve at the bottom of the lungs is always filled with carbon dioxide.

This leaves only three quarters of the lungs free for oxygen intake on the next inhale. This causes the exhale to become even weaker, diminishing the body's ability to procure oxygen from the air. Exhaling insufficiently:

  • Diminishes oxygen intake
  • Causes toxic waste products build up in the blood, which often results in yawning
  • Reduces mental capacities and clarity  and increases stress in the body
  • Increases accumulated carbon dioxide.

Taoist Longevity Breathing Helps You Relax

Taoist Longevity Breathing helps you create and stabilize a strong, steady breathing pattern that will mitigate excessive emotional swings. It retrains your nervous system to relax and make your thoughts smoother and more comfortable. Studying your breathing patterns can make you aware of the ways your moods and emotions change.

For example, fear tends to produce erratic, strained or weak breathing patterns. Holding the breath is often a preceded by violent, angry explosions. Likewise, holding the breath without realizing it is part of a reaction to stress and tends to increase its severity. Shallow breathing makes people prone to lung weaknesses in the face of environmental problems, such as polluted air, and can also lead to depression.

Taoist Longevity Breathing Improves the Functioning of Internal Organs

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the ability of your breathing to improve the functioning of your internal organs--liver, kidneys, heart, spleen and lungs--is as valuable as increasing oxygen intake. Taoist Longevity Breathing methods transfer the pressure from air coming into the lungs to the internal organs, especially the heart. This provides a gentle yet firm massage for the organs while increasing blood and chi flow that helps to optimize their natural range of movement.

When the range of motion of your internal organs diminish, blood flow to your internal organs also diminishes, blocking the smooth flow of energy. Other effects include the gradual shortening of your ligaments and restricted movement of your organs. Bodily functions will gradually weaken and disease will eventually strike

Breathing well throughout your day is the best prevention!

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I recently returned from a three week instructor training in a chi gung practice called “Gods Playing in the Clouds”. This intensive was held at Menlo College near San Francisco and I’d like to share some details about my experience.

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Frank Iborra