In this article we’re going to talk about a subtler active aspect of qigong breathing. This is the part of your practice that makes qigong different from the other physical exercises. Mindfulness. There’s a saying in Chinese, “Yo yi yo qi” translated it suggests, “Where the mind goes the qi goes.” This is an extraordinarily important point later in practice. For now, suffice it to assert that the mind directs the qi. Remember that qi and air are the same character in written Chinese.
Air, although it is a gas still has substance, as we know it. Air goes into the body through the nose and into the lungs where it is transformed. Oxygen is removed where it can be employed in other body processes and the “used” or “impure” air is expelled in the form of carbon-dioxide.
Though qi has no substance, it does have function. It is going thru a similar process. Also, impure qi is expelled. Since qi, unlike air, has not got substance it isn’t so limited as to exactly how and where it can enter into the body. Just like your lungs hold air, your lower stomach holds qi. This place in your lower abdomen is named the “Dan Tien” or the Elixer Field.
One system in qigong respiring is to imagine that with each in breath qi comes in thru the top of your head then descends to the lower stomach where it is stored for further alteration and use. With each out breath any impure qi is breathed out thru your mouth or your nose. This technique might be used at the beginning of a practice session or throughout the whole session. As you breathe in, imagine that your pores open when the breath starts to come in and that air flows thru your pores into your body. When you breathe out, exactly the opposite happens. The breath flows out of the pores from your body.
You’ll feel the sensation on your skin straight away or might choose to visualize the air moving out and in of your body through your skin.
This article is written by Steve Larsen a long time Qigong practitioner who lives in Vancouver BC.