Saturday, 28 April 2012

The 6 Healing Breaths - #2

The red rooster is the animal associated with the haah breath


his is the second in a series of posts about the 6 Healing Breaths Chi Kung. The 6 Healing Breaths contain at their core some of the most important principles of Chinese traditional medicine, martial arts, feng shui, philosophy, etc.

To traditional martial artists, life is all about movement and balance. Poor health, in part, comes from stagnation. Just like a river, if any of the body’s systems are disrupted or blocked, stagnation results. If the blockage is severe, the river runs dry…and dies. That’s why such disciplines as acupuncture, acupressure, massage, stretching, herbs, proper diet, breathing techniques, meditation, martial arts and chi kung are employed in an effort to maintain proper circulation of the body’s systems.

The second feature of the aforementioned disciplines is balance. Bones must be both flexible and strong; the pulse must not be too strong or too weak; organs must work with one another as a unified field…

All traditional Chi Kung exercises strive for both a balanced union of all the body’s systems within a constant state of flow. That’s why I particularly recommend the 6 Healing Breaths.

Let’s take a look then at the second breath, the haah breath -

1.  Face into the direction of South. Feet should be comfortably positioned about shoulder width apart. (You can also perform this breath while sitting in a chair). Your back should be straight but relaxed. Allow your tailbone to sink ever so slightly and then curve slightly forward. The shoulders should be relaxed and the chin pointed slightly downward in order to align the back of the neck with the rest of the spine. The top of your head should feel as though its suspended from the ceiling by a string. The hips should feel open, so that they can act as a conduit between your torso and your legs.

2.  Place your hands together in front of you forming a circle with your arms as though you were holding a big beach ball. The palms face inward.

3. Inhale very slowly as you raise this circle up in front of you to just above your head.

Exhale very slowly, spreading your hands
 4. Very slowly, begin to spread your hands to either side (palms face outward) while making the sound haah. Breath and sound should merge into one. Please don’t force the breath out; relax the breath out as if it were flowing out from the entire body. The breath should feel very warm

5.  Circle your hands and join them together again just below the abdomen. At this point, begin the next breath cycle by inhaling very slowly and raising your hands once again up in front of you. 

6.  Remain in your spot facing South. Repeat this breath cycle either in groups of 3, 6, 12, 18, 36…and so on, even up to 108 times if you wish! (Most people perform about 6 to 12 repetitions)

I still find the complexity in the 6 Healing Breaths incredible! Here’s a sampling of what this particular breath actual means (and does) –

DIRECTION – faces South; the middle of youth, the middle of the day, etc.

ELEMENT – the Chinese 5 Element Theory, the interaction of the elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water which is central to all types of traditional medicine such as acupuncture as well as feng shui, philosophy, military strategy, martial arts, etc. The element of the haah breath is fire. Fire comes from the first breath in the series which is the wood breath.

YIN ORGAN – the heart. The heart is associated with the fire element. The sound haah massages the heart.

YANG ORGAN – the small instestine. Also associated with fire.  The sound haah massages the small intestine.

POSITIVE EMOTION – joy and happiness

NEGATIVE EMOTION – hatred. You begin to see the emotional cycle: the anger of spring time has hardened into hatred.  Inhale joy and happiness; exhale all hatred. I teach my students to use this breath to rid themselves of the toxin hatred.

COLOUR – red. Imagine the heart and the small intestine in a warm red colour.

TIME – afternoon, the summer of life …everything is expanding and in bloom.

ENERGY – expanding energy, radiating like the sun.

ANIMAL – the red rooster.

The haah breath also strengthens the blood, hormones, endocrine system, assists in circulation of the blood and maintains an active small intestine.

The next post in the series will bring us to the huu breath and the middle of the cycle!

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