The use of breathing techniques to mobilize and intensify Qi flow is a very old tradition. The general public's breathe quite shallowly, using only the top third portion of their lungs and never reach their full capacity. This way of breathing restricts the amount of oxygen the bloodstream can receive. The breath is linked very closely with Qi. In Traditional Chinese Medical theory, the lungs function to govern the Qi and respiration. They disperse or move the Qi throughout the entire body via the channels and their collaterals. The lungs cause the Qi to descend to the lower part of the body, activating and fueling vital physiological functions associated with digestion and formation of blood. They also rule the surface of the body and the “Wei Qi’ or protective Qi, that moves just below the surface of the skin. Wei Qi forms a protective barrier to the invasion of the body by external pathogenic agents.
The breath is associated with the spiritual link between the physical and spiritual worlds. All the major ancient spiritual traditions in both the East and the West utilized breathing methods to facilitate their development of a greater awareness and more intense experience of spirit and energy.
The breath is the method that the body uses to draw oxygen into the blood for transportation to the cells where it provides the biochemical spark for cellular metabolism. Breathing provides a rhythmic contraction of the diaphragm promotes peristalsis and helps to massage the internal organs in the lower abdomen. This increases intestinal function and promotes healthy bowel movements. There are various types of breathing that affect the body in different ways. The most common are diaphragmatic breathing, active breathing, “pre and post natal breathing”, and alternating cycles of longer-shorter, inhale-exhale movements.