A few years back, I began reading a book on a Master Koeppel’s suggestion list. It was a biography of Koichi Tohei, an Akido Master and the founder of the Ki Society which like you, I had never heard of. I had read and reread sections of the biography as well as Tohei’s book over the past few years. Recently, I began to use breathing excercise and I’ve found a huge benefit to it, so much that I wanted to share a few lessons gained by Ki Breathing:
Ki Breathing is done by
1) inhaling slowly, consciously over 20-30 seconds. Feel your whole body slowly fill with oxygen from your feet to your skull.
2)Then slowly exhale while making a low sound to keep conscious of the air passing from you lungs.
The point is to maximize the time that gas exchange can happen in the lungs and thus maximize the amount of waste your body is able to expel by respiration. By doing Ki Breathing for 15 to 20 minutes, the entire volume of circulating blood is refreshed.
I tried doing this at least once a day after I had knee surgery. I kept up that practice for about a month. Now I do it when trying to rest or when I find a few minutes with nothing to do. I feel the effects of this exercise quickly. Your brain is more aware, your body feels energized but not jittery, the lungs are stronger and more compliant.
The challenges are in the expiration. I feel panic toward the middle of the first few expirations. Followed by a strong urge to gulp the air in next inspiration. Panic comes from the fear tht the air will not come fast enough. Air painc comes like the feeling that you cannot get to the surface of the water fast enough. After several of these breaths, the painc calms and your body understands that the air will come and regulate to the slow patient respirations.
The lessons are many:
I have learned that the calm, still feeling that comes after several breaths is really always present. The breath becomes a trigger, like a bookmark or a milestone. It is a way to remember how you can really feel when yuor awareness can shift by intention. I would like for the real world to be the feeling of peace after several breaths rather that the other way around.
If I can breathe, I can wait a very long time. When you are forced to wait, in traffic, for an appointment, for anything, before feeling frustrated or angry, Ki breathing brings peace and calm. Before too many breaths, the wait is usually over.
There are a lot of technical aspect to this exercise….what position to keep, to sit sieza or train to breath in any position….to practice for a goal or for personal ability. To focus on the One Point as Tohei teaches…..or as I find the One Point moves, a thing that cannot be reduced anymore exists in a dymanic and fluid plain.
Air has memory and form. Our body needs the air, our mind needs respiration, our Spirit needs peace.