|Posted on Monday, November 17, 2003 - 16:05: |
I know that there is a debate whether inhalation is considered Yin or Yang, and v.v.
I would like to hear your opinion about this, in the view of Chinese medicine.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 17:47: |
Dear Lonely Priest
In Chinese medicine inhalation is considered Yang. It is active, it fills your system with Qi and it activates the blood flow. Exhalation is Yin. It is releasing, deflating and contracting and relaxing. Hope this answers your question.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 16:25: |
Thank you. Another question if I may.. What is exactly reverse breathing and what is it used for..
(I liked this dancing priest )
|Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 16:58: |
Breathing properly means breathing to the stomach, according to Chinese medicine. This means that while inhaling one should inflate the stomach and while exhaling one should deflate the stomach. This kind of breathing ebables the expansion of the diaphragm thereby allowing a beeter supply of oxygen and a better utilization of the lungs capacity. Reverse breathing is usually performed either as a QiGong breathing excercise, or in meditation. By this method you deflate your stomach while inhaling and inflate it while exhaling - just the opposite to regular breathing. In meditation, this kind of breathing is applied in order to force the Qi to travel from the lower Dantian up the spine to the brain. Breathing like this in meditation establishes the so called "small orbit" Qi circulation. O.K. Lonely Priest?
|Posted on Monday, December 01, 2003 - 22:28: |
Yes, this is quite clear thank you. BTW, do you recommend inhaling through the nose and exhaling out of the mouth, or also from the nose?
|Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - 13:33: |
Depends when... While meditating, breathing solely from the nose is recommended. While on physical exertion, it is better to inhale from the nose and exhale from your mouth, unless you feel that you need more air then use both nose and mouth for inhalation. In Tai Chi, I personally prefer to inhale from the nose and exhale from the mouth. I usually emphasize exhalation while performing Yang movements and vice-versa.
|Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 17:55: |
For martial purposes, an in breath is considered yin and an out breath is considered yang. It all gets down to your perspective however, they are ultimately the same, as it says in one of the old T'ai Chi classics: "yin never leaves yang and yang never leaves yin."
That yin and yang are artificial designations we use for our convenience is represented in the T'ai Chi (yin-yang) symbol by the little dots, the fishes' eyes, in the two halves of the symbol.
In T'ai Chi, I have been taught to breathe in and out through the nose as much as possible, with the tongue kept on the roof of the mouth. It was explained to me that this makes the mouth less vulnerable to impact. There are 2 or 3 martial ch'i kung that we do where we do breathe in the nose and out the mouth, but not in the forms or pushing hands (unless we have a cold).
|Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 19:11: |
Welcome to the club, A.A. . As I see it, inhaling can not be Yin even for martial purposes. Inhaling is active, it expands and it fills your system with Qi. Yet, in Tai Qi (the art of the opposing activities) when you perform Yin-exhalation, you counter it by Yang movement, and when you Yang-inhale you counter it by Yin-defence. Very much like your other movements, stances or hand gestures - one Yin, the opposite Yang.
with the tongue kept on the roof of the mouth. It was explained to me that this makes the mouth less vulnerable to impact.
The reason for the tongue's tip on the roof of the mouth is different. Tai Qi harmonises Yin and Yang as much as meditation does, at another level. The roof of the tongue is considered in Ch.M. the meeting place for the Ren and Du meridians, each of which encompasses the full Yin and Yang Qi respectively. Placing the tongue's tip on this spot was thought to facilitate the free flow of energy between the Ren and Du meridians, both in meditation and Tai Qi.
|Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 19:33: |
The inhaling as described to me is yin in that it is receiving the air (although then the air itself is yang from that perspective!), and exhaling is yang because it is actively directing the outgoing air, which is then yin because it is acted upon. I agree that the yang aspect of the fresh oxygen coming in is balanced by the yin by-products of our metabolism being expelled by the out breath.
Your characterization of how the tongue on the roof of the mouth unites the meridians down the front of the body is quite correct. The position and its use for protecting the mouth area (along with tucking in the chin without projecting the top of the head forward on the spine) is only one practical martial application of the positioning. The seemingly insignificant act of placing the tongue there actually makes a demonstrable difference in the efficiency and stamina of the musculature! It is a good way to show people how their meridian system is something that they have access to themselves.
|Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 15:28: |
Placing labels, such as is it yang or is it yin –isn’t this just an intellectual exercise with little relevance to the actual practice of Qi accumulation? Isn't it sufficient to know that one is the direct opposite of the other? It seems to be very much a part of the human condition to want to label everything and so by definition limit its potential. Anyway, if this is the case A.A. and Shmuel, why don't you talk about degrees of yin and yang when breathing? E.g. when does too much yin become less yang and vice versa - this too might be relevant if one is in the business of labeling. My personal “gut feeling” is “to go with the flow" and observe phenomena of Qi in the relative field from a distant and not get bogged down and involved in details that tie us down to Earth bound conceptions?
|Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 17:50: |
Yes, quite so. As I said, the yin and yang designations are labels of convenience only, and I was pointing out for discussion's sake a usage in traditional T'ai Chi martial training which showed how a single breath can validly be considered both yang and yin.
It really gets down to your momentary perspective, since everything has aspects of yin and yang depending on how you perceive it at any given time. Something moving away from you can be considered yin because it is receding relative to your position, yet to the person it is moving towards the exact same motion may validly be considered yang because it is approaching them. These momentary perspectives can act as traps, T'ai Chi Ch'uan as a martial art trains the student to see beyond dualistic phenomenal designations to use the ultimate oneness of yin and yang to a decidedly practical end.
|Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 18:20: |
...and most welcome you are too, Sidney. No, I don't think this is a merely labeling issue. The theory of Y/Y plays a very important role in both the understanding and the application of Chinese arts whether they are gardening, Kung Fu, calligraphy or Traditional Chinese Medicine. In Chinese medicine, for instance, Y/Y is the core of diagnosis and thereby the application of proper treatment. If you fail to comprehend the nature of a medical condition, whether it is Yin or Yang, or any of their relative constituents within a given condition, you may aggravate your patient's condition - or cause death (there have been recorded cases of such nature). Also in martial arts, or Tai chi, it is important to internalize the nature of Yin and Yang in order to apply the various techniques to their utmost. Give you an example. There are combat techniques, in Judo or Aikido, that teach you how to exhale (Yin) and soften your body (Yin) and become totally Yin when a specific aggressive Yang exercise is being conducted against you. E.g., in ground wrestling, if you are lying on top of your opponent and he is trying to turn you over. If you exhale and soften your body completely (Yin), he, most likely, won't be able to turn you over. But, the minute you inhale (Yang), your body gets stiffer (Yang), he'll most likely be able to turn you over. This is a fact that every Judoka knows very well. In Tai chi, if applied only for health improvement reasons, breathing in and out is of utmost importance in relation to the Qi circulation. Advanced practitioners are immersed in the rhythm of movement/breathing in a way that a Yang movement is combined with a Yin out-breathing and vice versa. This combination, when done properly, facilitates the flow of Qi in the meridians. If not applied correctly, may cause even irregularities in heart beat. I always advocate the philosophical comprehension of these subtle varieties, if one is on the persuit of perfect performance (and benefit).
|Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 06:54: |
Hi everybody and Shmuel,
I am now a bit puzzled. If you're saying that breathing must be coordinated with movements, breathing in-Yang (defence-retreat movement-Yin)and the opposite, how come my teacher insists that breathing must be natural and not directed or adjusted?
|Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 20:35: |
We teach a similar principle in our school, at least for the T'ai Chi forms and some of the push hands styles. There is a definite breathing pattern for them, but we are taught that it should arise spontaneously from the correctness of the postures, not by conscious effort.
Thet being said, there is also an entire cycle of the push hands and ch'i kung exercises that we train in which the breath is consciously directed for specific purposes.
|Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 22:41: |
In addition to A.A.'s response, I would add that despite the general tendencey to let the correct breathing pattern emerge in due course, it is essential to keep in mind the essentials of proper breathing. Inhale to your abdomen while on a Yin movement (retreat, defence or preparing for an outward movement). Exhale on a Yang movement (stretching out, punch, kick, etc.). Yet, you should not force the breathing pattern onto your movements, rather let them synchronize and follow one another in a natural flow. It is only natural that one should exhale while punching out. Keep this in mind but let your body find it on its own accord. This is my advice.
|Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 14:06: |
I couldn't see a reference here to the fact that it is always - as much as I know - advised to breath to the abdomen and not to the chest. Can any one explain the significance of that?
|Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 12:49: |
Hello Ben. There are two reasons for this kind of breathing, both in meditation practice and in Tai Chi. The first reason, is because this kind of breathing expands the diaphragm thereby allowing a deeper inhalation and a greater quantity of air (Qi). On the other hand, inhalation to the chest rather than the abdomen, contracts the upper respiratory tract and lifts up the shoulders which is contra-indicated in Tai Chi practice.
The second reason, is the concentration and guidance of Qi onto the lower abdomen, the Dantian region. By concentrating the Qi and breathing in this area, we are supposed to strengthen our source energy, our kidneys, and have a better ability to control and guide the energy throughout the whole body.
|Posted on Saturday, July 15, 2006 - 15:25: |
I would like to ask if anyone ever learnt reverse breathing ? Is it conducted always as part of tai chi form ?
Is it only for advanced/explosive forms (chen?)? Can you describe the procedure of reverse breathing ?
|Posted on Saturday, July 15, 2006 - 17:45: |
Welcome to the forum and to this lengthy thread Ophir. I have no idea how and what for it is practiced in Chen style. Reversed breathing is a breathing technique learnt in Qigong and Yoga. Not in Taichi to my best knowledge.
It is the opposite of abdominal breathing, by which one expands the abdomen while inhaling and contracts the abdomen on exhalation. Reversed breathing is performed in the opposite way, i.e., flatenning the abdomen on inhalation and expanding on exhalation.
The former is a very basic technique in martial arts, meditation and proper breathing education for health purposes. The latter, is being performed (in various degrees of complexity) also for specific health disorders, or in meditation, in order to put the Qi into movement in a desired direction.
In Qigong, as well as yoga, there are numerous breathing techniques, some of which are very complex. In fact, it is a part of the numerous healing methods existing in Chinese medicine.
|Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 21:48: |
Back to the breathing yang/yin question.. I can see the logic Shmuel points out for inhalation to be yang while exhalation yin. My own understanding about this is that in martial arts exhalation is done forcefully, usually accompanied by a qiai shout, which makes it a yang action rather than yin. Inhalation, on the other hand, is kinda "getting ready" for an action, gathering your qi if you will, what makes it yin.
Just my worthless thought about it.
great ideas here, I like this forum.
|Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2006 - 11:48: |
Thank you Yang for this contribution, very interesting. Yang for inhalation and Yin for exhalation corresponds only to the physiological aspect of these activities, you are right about that. Of course if you force your exhalation along with a Qiai shout it definitely makes it a Yang phenomenon. In Yang there is the seed of Yin and vice versus. Yang can turn into Yin and so is the opposite. The more you involve Qi in the exhalation process, such as in blowing the air out and shouting Qiai, the more of the Yang characteristics are involved in this action. Yang is movement, while Yin is stillness, Yang is action whilst Yin is no-action...
Thanks again for your comment.