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    Excellent programme, excellently taught. Thanks Paul. The discussion of breathing in lesson 8 indicates a need to focus movement and abdominal pressure primarily between the diaphragm and circa navel level (hosts key vital organs). If some movement occurs lower down (NB not as low as the pelvic floor and associated structures), is there a need to use concious muscular control to limit movement in the lower abdominal area? Also, you mention that whole body breathing is not about feeling internal pressure throughout the whole body. I can clearly feel my whole body (and even my etheric field?) ‘respond’ to longevity breathing, although physically it seems like I’m feeling movement in tha facia, rather than an interstitial fluid pressure wave. Can I assume it’s OK to sense such a response?



    I have the same question as Colin has. I’m a bit confused with the instructions on not to forward pressure to the bottom pelvic floor and genitals area.

    I understand the pressure we are talking about as resulting from the muscles relaxation: when I inhale, I relax muscles in the abdomen, lower back, sides – and all this gives impression of increased pressure in the abdomen area, all around front, back, and sides.

    Now, when I relax my muscles in inhale, I can go down to my pelvic floor and around genitals; and get those muscles relaxed too. I used to think this would be a good thing. But now I have Paul’s instruction to not go down. So I’m confused.



    Hi Colin, hope you’re doing well.

    To answer your question:

    There is a difference between sending a physical pressure
    wave vertically down the body on the in-breath (via the descending diaphragm)
    that goes all the way down to the pelvic floor and one that only descends down
    to the lower tantien (a few centimetres below the navel). However, when the
    pressure wave drops to the lower tantien, the rest of your in-breath is used to
    spread out horizontally filling the belly, sides and lower back. During this
    process, all muscles in the whole body remain relaxed. When this happens, what
    is below the lower tantien will also move, but there is no need to use any
    muscular effort to prevent the pressure from going beyond the lower tantien.
    Just make sure you don’t push it directly down to the pelvic floor.

    Also, when you gently yet firmly pressurise what is between
    the diaphragm and the lower tantien, blood goes out to the extremities. Blood
    and qi are inextricably linked, so qi comes along for the ride–hence, the
    feeling you’re getting in the etheric field. Normally, you feel the resistance
    in that which is tight within the body, not that which is open and free. So you
    tend to feel whatever resistance exists throughout your whole body with breathing
    via the circulation of blood and subsidiary fluids, such as interstitial and
    lymph. So the fact that you feel it in your fascia probably indicates it is
    tighter than your other body tissues.



    Igor, The pressure comes from the diaphragm descending–not from
    the muscles relaxing. You say, “I can go down to my pelvic floor and
    around genitals.” Yes, you can, but you don’t want to. See my response to
    Colin’s question above for more info.



    Many thanks Paul. I’m doing well and intend to attend some of your London sitting/bagua sessions this Autumn. Your answer is spot on with my experience. I’ve found that if I focus on a more completely relaxed longevity breath the movement is naturally confined largely between diaphragm and lower tantien (back of chest too). Also, having focused awareness on facia movement, I think you’re right. I was doing an unusual amount of physical activity last weekend, and there is a distinct level of ‘stiffness’ in a lot of my connective tissue. Thanks again.



    You must have mentionned it but I haven’t heard you speak about it. Correct me if I’m wrong. I suppose that during the kwa squat with circling hands we breath in as we go downwards and our hands comes circling back towards us and exhale as we rise up and circle forward ?

    The whole subject of breathing is so vast and I’m confused because in tai chi classes I’ve taken sometime we did the opposite. Any help to go far with breathing is welcomed.

    I tend to want to take GREAT inhales to develop my capacity to have better intake of oxygen and V02max during the day. I love to feel good and can’t get enough of it. Is this conter productive for tai chi and energy arts ? My desire to move energy with the breath may be based to much on intent.

    I’m also obsessing about the topic of pineal gland and third eye activation. Does this have any relationship to breath in tai chi and taoist arts ?

    Thank you, I love what I’m learning.



    Thank you for the positive feedback. As for your first question, yes, you can do it that way. You
    can also do the opposite. It depends more on what your body chooses to do in the moment and
    the specific nei gong you wish to activate and focus on during the circling exercise.

    In all qi practices you seek to create and maintain a relaxed breathing pattern. You
    do not push your breathing, but rather use a soft, full breath to release the
    nerves. When the nerves release, your breathing will naturally increase in
    volume. If you push your breath, you will generate the opposite.So take your time and take it easy.

    Good luck!



    Hi Simon,
    Thanks for posting your query re breathing. I also find it difficult to understand sometimes. You asked his question long ago, before I began EC and Five Keys. I have been wanting to ask it for a long time, for the same reasons.
    I began EAC this year and Paul’s 5 Keys only a few weeks ago. I like the detail given (thank you Paul)which I hope I can interpret properly. My problem is, I think, that all my studies have been with books or DVD’s. Absolutely essential to have Hands on experience and guidance from a knowledgeable teacher which I hope to find when I attend a Zhan Zhuang seminar next month.
    All the best and thanks
    David Castle

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