In Korea and Japan the word Do means “the way” and Ki means ones vital energy such as Kendo the way of the sword, Aikido the way of unifying with life energy or Kido the way of energy. The term breathingdo means the way of breathing. We all know that breathing is the foundation of life; yet most of the individuals that I see at the Harlem Ki Energy Center, breath incorrectly. The first step in learning how to self-heal is the way of breathing correctly or “Breathingdo”.
Breathing incorrectly is partly due to social programing, we learned to breath correctly while in our mother’s womb. The expansion of our stomach allowed for nourishment to enter our body through the Umbilical Cord, we then contracted our stomach to remove waste. If you watch a new born infant’s breathing only the stomach moves. As we grow older social programing creates the bad habit of raising our chest to take in oxygen.
If your chest moves when taking a deep breathe you are breathing incorrectly.
Abdominal breathing or baby breathing is an ancient method used by Taoist and martial artist to detoxify the lungs. I was taught this many years ago by my sensi Great Grand Master Leon “Major” Wallace, while studying Goju Karate under him. His favorite Kata and what became my favorite Kata was Sanchin also known as the breathing Kata. Master Wallace would always say “Sanchin will make you strong and keep you healthy; it took me many years to truly understand his wisdom.
During Autumn Taoist healing strategies focus on the detoxification of the lungs, one of the reasons for this article and the deep breathing exercises that I teach in the Fall during the Wednesday evening Ki training sessions at the Ki Center. Abdominal breathing exercises are natural ways to reduce stress and stress related health issues like high blood pressure and depression.
Stress develops from an imbalance in our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS controls the body’s involuntary actions; it influences the functions of our internal organs. Our breathing, our heart beat, our body temperature, and all of our cellular interactions are regulated by the ANS. The primary control center in our brain that allows the ANS to send the right signal to the right organ at the right time without our conscious knowledge or effort is called the hypothalamus.
Learning the correct way to breathe can bring balance to the ANS, next week we will discuss how this happens and why many of our health problems can be address naturally by relearning how to breathe like a baby.