Breathing again, and directions

Home Forums Archive Energy Arts Training Circle Breathing again, and directions

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #129871


    Following the videos instruction as we start to push and pull chi to and from the Lr Dantien I can sometimes still get stuck on relationship between breathing and direction of Chi movement, sometimes it feels natural that as I inhale the expansion of the belly area extends chi outwards with rotation of arms and whatever else to the extremities of hands and feet (heels) but at other times the inhale feels equally natural to be pulling energy in along inside channels and upwards from bubbling well toward Lr Dantien and downwards from crown. Both seem to be valid?

    I think that this must be OK as occasionally Bruce throws in during an instruction…”if you are asking me if this can be done the other way, then yes it can” (approx). For example with Month 6, intermediate part B, In search of clarity, I often return to the 2nd part video to try and follow directly Bruce’s instruction directly, but I usually end up losing the literal breathing direction- push -pull instructions by the end of practice, but hopefully still following the core focus of the posture variation. I seem to have a better sense of the cause-effect of rotating arms/legs/body inwards and outwards rather than breath.

    I am getting that there is probably no ‘right or wrong’ in these directional intentions, and that ultimately if you are feeling some chi movement set up by the posture, a lot depends on the subtleties of what you are exploring of that posture on any given day; and that the bits broken down in the video learning are just that…bits or elements for learning about the multiple aspects of a particular posture….this gets clearer again when I remind myself during a ‘good’ session that whatever I am doing I should be simultaneously sinking from top to bottom and some whole integration sometimes occurs which includes many directions down up and around.

    The many intentional directional simultaneous movements of chi, breathing etc is certainly what makes this lifelong learning. I don’t think this is a question, more observation, and which may have been raised before, every month raises subtle variations of similar issues which are hard to articulate ( and I suspect many don’t like to articulate it at all)

    Always open for others observations, if anyone’s experience can help illuminate the journey.

    Best regards



    Hello- just as a suggestion (beyond following what Bruce is actually instructing to do- often it is “redefined/interpreted”), two other options one might try and work with:
    one- on occasion- have a long slow breath, and during one part (say a long inhale) have the Energy go- up (a bit) and then down (a bit). then up and then down.. all while inhaling, transitions to exhale- and during that exhale the same, up- down- up…

    Second- on occasion- have the energy go downward, and as it continues to go down-steadily- breath in, and out, and in, and out (ie have the multiple breaths as continue to flow E on way.. but then -smoothly- transition from E flowing down, to E flowing up, etc. with the Breath in the same steady rhythm as before.

    Having done one (either), or both, of the above (not just once, but to build- stabilize the sense of a steady-smooth changeover pt in breath, and have Energy moving either up or down- distinct from breath.. and work either- or both ways to differentiate.. then when do together it is two things each cooperating vs just blurred/stuck-together..
    “First separate, and then combine” as he’s said before.

    In terms of up or down- as inhale.. trying “holding your breath” and getting energy to flow either way (ie not inhaling if holding-breath).. so then when you do you know what is what, and not just confuse what the breathing does..

    [even try hold-breath and go up and then down- clarify the up, clarify the down (at first E won’t move, or will stutter and stop.. vs start-when start and then stably-flow)- then clarify the turnover pt.. ABC..
    just being able to do what is intended is one thing (not regarding what breath is doing, let it breathe however will learn the skill) — once have the skill and can hold the breath- start e flowing up, then smoothly change to e flowing down.. and then smoothly change again…. and perhaps even start or stop breath during while doing that…

    (mad scientist chem-set.. just like golfer’s might work on their “swing” and their “putting game” only two main parts- but not just a got-it and done.. even the pros claim they keep going back and checking, wait how do the components work? and what am I “actually” doing as I do them? – just a thought(s) cheers



    Hi Nick,
    You’re right to study the relationship between Chi and breathing.
    Bruce presents much on the subject.
    (He even had a 2-week course in Greece a couple of years ago, just on breathing.)

    (I dropped out of the Energy Arts Training Circle a couple of months ago, but still study the Bagua Mastery courses daily–there’s a lot to learn about breathing in bagua.)

    In “Opening the Energy Gates of your Body, ” Bruce in the first Neigong says that
    “Breathing is an excellent tool…”

    An axe is also a tool. Woodsmen are skilled in its use. And they keep it sharpened. But a lot depends on the purpose for which they are using it.

    Using your breath to lead Chi, likewise, depends on your purpose–and circumstances.

    The Tai Chi classics aren’t very helpful,
    being sung hundreds of years ago before modern science:

    “Be alert and seek meaning in the purpose of taijiquan.
    Bent and stretched, open and closed…
    Let nature take its course.”
    The Song of the Thirteen Postures

    Pretty ambiguous–not even clear that they’re singing about breathing.

    Most of what Bruce teaches is rooted in modern science.
    (Not only is he a Lineage holder, but holds a PhD in some kind of health science–I think).

    Modern yoga has recently applied science to the relationship between breathing and asana postures.

    See Leslie Kaminoff’s “Yoga Anatomy” for a good discussion of the dynamics of breathing.

    And Dr. Coulter’s (MD) “Anatomy of Hatha Yoga.”
    ( a 72 page chapter on breathing by this Medical Doctor) describes virtually every muscle associated with breathing.

    But I also note that even the 2 standard treatises on acupuncture,
    Deadman’s “Acupunture” and
    Maciocia’s “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine”
    do not agree on exactly how Chi flows.

    So there is a grain of truth to your observation that there is no right or wrong way.

    My thought (not my feel of Qi) is that Qi runs like a modern InterState freeway–multiple lanes running in both directions, traffic merging and exiting.

    But the flow depends on your purpose and the circumstances.

    The fundamental anatomical principle is that the diaphragm is the primarily muscle of respiration.

    I keep track of the contracting of the diaphragm on Inhalation and its relationship with other muscle groups–
    abdominal, thoracic, and every other muscle in the body as well as its relationship to yin and yang theory, substantial and insubstantial, empty and full, inner and outer body, center and peripheral and etheric field, physical and psychological and spiritual levels, the Central Nervous System (sympathetic, para-sympathetic, enteric), meditation and every thing else under the sun.

    So for just one example:
    Moving into the forward Bow stance.

    Front leg is moving towards fullness.
    It is becoming substantial, weight-bearing.
    It is bending.
    Joints are closing.
    Muscles contracting (and antagonists relaxing).

    Inhaling. (natural breathing)
    Diaphragm is contracting.
    Lower back’s curve is increasing.
    Psoas muscles selectively pull pelvis forward.
    Sacrum is nutating.
    Neck is stretching–cervical curve is decreasing.
    Head is lifting.
    Back of occiput tends backwards.
    Lower abs taut.
    Upper abs press out-forward.
    Kidneys are squished.
    Lower ribs press out.
    External intercostals contract and pull lower ribs upward.
    Lung volume increases.
    Lung pressure decreases.
    Higher atmospheric pressure allows air to flow in to lungs.

    “Bubbling Spring” sucks Qi from the Earth into the foot.
    Qi spirals up, larger and larger circles (towards Heaven).
    Qi rises along the inside of the leg–yin surfaces.
    Qi travels along the Kidney/Liver/Spleen meridians.
    Venous blood flows to return to lungs.
    Sympathetic nervous system activated–alert flight or fight or freeze mode.
    Eyes dilate.
    Kidney Qi to coccyx, to sacrum, to lumbar spine, to lower dantian, to Mingmen, up the central channel to shoulders to elbows to wrists to Laogong palm-points to fingers to where intent leads to target.

    Who know if any of this is precisely correct?

    I do know that I can apply this process to every move in the Yang Style Long Form (108).

    I, however, am not a martial artist.
    (No reverse breathing for me.)

    I claim that I can see Qi
    between the index finger and thumb gap.
    It just sort of pulsates like radiation on a hot road.

    But my personal experience–what I have actually felt–is that Qi doesn’t move at all–
    (go figure)
    it “feels” more like an electro-magnetic field that influences movement but is not itself moving.
    This is not consistent with standard Tai Chi theory–
    but for me it is what it is.

    It’s a strange journey.

    Good luck.



    Hi Taokua and Robert,

    Thank you for both your comments they are appreciated as always.

    There is much to practice, exploring the differentiation between energy, breath and fluids etc in movement as you often point out (Taokua). I think bit by bit I am sensing different qualities of internal movement/awareness, often momentary flashes of connection. It is always a balance while following this course between attempting to learn from instruction, as new posture variations are introduced, realising also that the instruction itself was just a particular version given on the day it was filmed ( and there could be endless other variations of how to teach it which could also contradict the filmed one) but also just trying to pay attention to what is actually happening in my own body system, which may also vary from the instruction, working out what to try and correct and what to accept as my own learning. I think in the remote learning process, as trying to absorb the new, and as soon as I start to settle with that, the next month is released, so I the best is to accept whatever I can understand in a month and there will be much to return to when that schedule ends….as I type this , I notice the next month is released :)

    Robert, thanks for the references to follow up on breathing, something I will do bit by bit. I was particularly interested in your experience of chi as something like an electro- magnetic field that enables movement rather than moves itself. It conforms how much of this is about a kind of non-linear learning that spirals around knowledge passed on from others (teachers, books, videos etc) and the evidentiary experience of learning & doing it ourselves which is really only clear in the moment of doing and is often very illusive when we try to put language on it….maybe that in part is why the text and teachings are not always specific. My interest is not Martial either, but I guess that progress and understand in standing the internal movements of QiGong/NeiGong can be applied pretty much universally after that, whatever form/movement or meditation practice that is done in the Taoist tradition.

    The quality of Bruce’s teaching (and I have only experienced this video course – not live) is in really grounding the fundamentals and many specifics which I really find useful, even if they are not written is stone as gospel- and am slowly starting to embed those fundamentals, always aware that one is only scratching at the tip of the iceberg, and from there who knows.

    It is all quantum leaping !

    Thanks for your help




    Just another thought:

    For emphasis italicize a sentence.

    Although there is no movement on the page,
    it looks like there is a flow of movement to the right.

    But nothing actually moves.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

This is an archived forum (read only). Go to our active forum where you can post and discuss in real time.

Pin It on Pinterest