An article by Master Tan Soo Kong, D.Sc.(AM), Ph.D. Founder of Wellness Medical Qigong (WMQ).
The contents below are republished with permission from Master Tan Soo Kong.
We breathe to live, and live by breathing. Breathing is regulated by the respiratory control centres located in the two lowest segments of the brain stem. Our minds and will can override the rhythms generated by these control centres.
The autonomic nervous system consists of a vast network of neurons that controls viscera, blood vessels, and glands throughout the body. Interestingly, research shows that breathing can influence the autonomic nervous system. Slow, soft and deep breathing will reduce blood pressure and achieve calmness.
The best breathing method to produce a beneficial effect on the autonomic nervous system is 2:1 breathing; take twice the time to exhale as to inhale. This method allows our lungs to fill to its full total lung capacity. This method of breathing is one of the qigong breathing methods, called Qigong Normal Abdominal Breathing method that is taught in traditional qigong training for health improvement.
Breathing exercises are the best and simplest way to reduce anxiety, agitation and stress, and for promoting relaxation, calm and inner peace.
Too much attention on upsetting thoughts may cause anxiety, guilt and unhappiness. Get in the habit of shifting your awareness to your breath whenever you find yourself stressed.
One breathing exercise I highly recommend is the 3-3-6-3 breath. It is very simple, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the upper palate just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there throughout the entire exercise. You will inhale and exhale using the nose. Keep your breathe slow, gentle and soft:
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of three.
- Hold your breath for a count of three.
- Exhale completely through your nose to a count of six.
- Hold your breath for a count of three.
- This is one breathe. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle five more times for a total of six breathes.
Note: that the tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time.
Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. If you have difficulty holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 2:1 for exhalation and inhalation. With practice you will get used to extending your inhaling and exhaling longer and deeper.
Practice at least twice a day. Without supervision or consultation by a qualified qigong Master, do not do more than six breaths at once for the few weeks of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to twelve breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned. Eventually, you will change your breathing pattern to this way through out the day.
Breathing is one of the basic techniques of qigong practice. Practitioners use different methods to achieve different results. The most popular and commonly use methods are: normal breathing, also called chest breathing; normal abdominal breathing; reverse abdominal breathing; embryonic breathing; skin breathing; and third eye breathing.
Each method has its specific purpose. In medical qigong, normal abdominal breathing is commonly used for healing purposes. In this method of breathing, the abdomen expands when you inhale and withdraws when you exhale.
Qigong normal abdominal breathing is also commonly known as Dan Tian breathing. It consists of five types of breathing methods namely, Fu, Chui, Tu, Pi and Si. Each has its purpose as described below:
- Fu breathing is the basic and most important of the above breathing techniques. It is for circulation (energy and blood); aids relaxation; stimulates the nervous system to maintain cerebral balance; and facilitates meditation and relaxation.
- Chui breathing lowers and balances blood pressure and heart rate and relieves general tension. It also stimulates the heart and lungs.
- Tu breathing is most beneficial for the kidney, liver, spleen and immune systems. Also helps to relieve lower back pain.
- Pi breathing stimulates the cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems.
- Si breathing stimulates the thyroid and thymus gland, improving the immune system.
Each of the above breathing methods also activates one of the five elements, Metal, Wood, Water, Fire or Earth.
Below contents/comments are from yours truly, KK.
I would like to thank Master Tan Soo Kong for permitting me to republish his above article here at The Inner Qi [Life Force] Project where his detail description/steps on the 3+3+6+3 breathing technique will benefit those who practice it.
FYI, in the Essential Qigong class by Master Tan Soo Kong, we were taught several exercises and breathing techniques. Master Tan Soo Kong is a selfless person where he encouraged us to share his Wellness Medical Qigong Lying Down Breathing Techniques (which are so easy to learn) with others. And since then I have been sharing the Wellness Medical Qigong Lying Down 3+3+6+3 Breathing Techniques with Friends and relatives; and those who practiced it have reported that they have benefited from it. Below is a Testimonial (sent to me via WhatsApp) from one of my followers:
Over the years, my Master Tan Soo Kong have published many articles to benefit the general public; and hopefully soon, with permission from Master Tan Soo Kong I will republish more articles by him. You can also google for more articles by simply keying in Master Tan Soo Kong combined with key words such as Self Healing, Breathing, Qigong, etc.
To read my article where I shared how Wellness Medical Qigong Essential Class and Self Healing Class have benefited me and how I came about learning Wellness Medical Qigong, please click here to my Introduction to Medical Qigong.
To learn more about Wellness Medical Qigong and Training Schedule/Classes, please click here to visit Wellness Medical Qigong official website.