Rooting The Breath

Meditation Basics... simple understandings
Rooting The Breath
0
21
May

 

In this article…

1. What is rooting the breath?

2. Why is it important?

3. How do you do it?

Welcome! Thank you for being here.


Rooting…

When I talk about the word rooting, please picture, if you will, the actual roots of a tree. As you visualize the roots of a tree visualize how the roots expand down into the earth, and the strength they have in stabilizing the height, width and weight of the tree. 

Understanding how to root your breath anchors your energy and creates a solid foundation that supports your meditation.

If your breathing is not anchored, your energy will not remain rooted and this can cause your energy to get stuck in the upper areas of your body.

Just like the roots of a tree, proper breathing gives us nourishment, strength and stability.

 

The breath…

In Medical Qìgōng one of the breathing methods we practice is called the "Natural Abdominal Breathing Method."

Proper breathing is an essential key to success in all energetic practices and I believe much more time needs to be spent developing this skill.

The Natural Abdominal Breathing Method is also called "Prenatal Breathing."  As one inhales through the nose, energy is guided down the front of the chest into the abdomen. In this pattern of breathing the energy () fills the lower abdominal area and the Lower Dāntián.

During inhalation the lower abdominal area will stretch and expand in 6 directions: Upper, Lower, Left side, Right side, Front, & Back. (A qualified Qìgōng teacher can give you information and tools to help you practice this breathing correctly).

Each expansion specifically moves different anatomical structures of the body.

Healing benefits are:

Increases peristaltic action (massages internal organs).

Invigorates and roots the movement of energy (Qì) from the Kidney's to the Lower Dāntián. In turn this will assist in strengthening the body's Jīng (the essence of the body) and lower lumbar, as well as reduce stress.


What is a Dāntián?

According to Taoist energetic anatomy and physiology, a Dāntián is an energetic pool, or a reservoir of held energy.

The Chinese characters for Dān translates to "red, vermilion or cinnabar." The character Tián is generally translated as "field," but can also be translated as "farmland." In Medical Qigong terminology Tián is known as field of energy.

Dāntián = "cinnabar field" or "field of elixir."


These 3 energy centers

"…store and emit energy similar to the same way a battery stores and emits energy; and are strategically positioned along the Taiji Pole in order to facilitate maximum energy transference."

Jerry Alan Johnson (Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Vol. 2. Chapt. 17)


Center location of each Dāntián

It is important to note that the Upper, Middle and Lower Dāntián's each have points that form a triangle of extended energy. Below are the center locations ONLY of each Dantian.

Upper Dāntián:  The center is located in the pineal gland.

Middle Dāntián: The center is located in the right atrium of the heart. The "seat of all emotions" is considered to be the center of the heart.

Lower Dāntián: Located below the umbilicus, inside the lower abdomen.


The Lower Dāntián (called the "Sea of Qì") forms a downward pointing triangle.

The center (or middle) of the lower Dāntián is located between the navel and Mingmen. In Medical Qigong and Martial Arts the lower Dāntián is considered the source of stamina and strength.

The lower Dāntián is the first place martial artists and those practicing meditation focus their concentration on. By understanding how to focus your concentration on the lower Dāntián, you begin to train the area to not only root your energy but to receive and hold energy. The energetic areas of the lower Dāntián form a downward triangle, enabling the gathering of earth energy.

The 3 meridian triangle points of the lower Dāntián are:

Huìyín (CV-1) point at the perineum.

"Huìyín" is an area on the body that is responsible for absorbing earth energy.

Location of the perineum:  Woman, between the vagina and the anus. Men, between the scrotum and anus.

"Huìyín" = "Meeting of yin"

Shénquè (CV-8) point located in the center of the umbilicus.

"Shénquè" = "Spirit Gateway"

Mìngmén (GV-4) point on the lower back (below the second lumbar vertebra).

"Mìngmén" = "Gate of life"


Practice tips for engaging front and back.

When I teach or work with private clients, breathing is key.

In the beginning it is beneficial to focus on 2 points. The below exercises are great to begin to build a foundation of rooting your energy into your lower Dāntián.

*As a side note for womanThe below exercises can also help bring relief to menstrual cramps.


DISCLAIMER & CAUTION: 

Please check with your Primary Care Physician before engaging in any of the below practices.

Using heat can raise blood pressure and can cause dizzy or light headedness.

NEVER put heat directly on uncovered skin.

Set an alarm for 10 min. So you do not fall asleep with heat on.


(A) Items needed:  Pillow & warm water bottle, or heating pad.

1. Lay on your back, on the floor with a pillow under your knees. (This will reduce lower back pressure).

2. Place the heating pad (temperature on LOW) or warm water bottle over you cloths  (NEVER put heat directly on skin.) on your lower belly.

3. Close your eyes and focus on the warmth you feel on your lower belly.

4. As you relax, Inhale slowly while gently guiding the energy of your breath to the warmth on your lower belly. Each time inhaling and exhaling a little more slowly.

5. Practice for 10 min. each day.

WARNING:  Set an alarm for yourself. Please be advised that you may fall asleep due to the warmth and soothing nature of this exercise. With practice and focus you will be able to stay awake, but just in case I would not want you to miss an important meeting or other event.

 

(B) Items needed:  Heating pad and pillow.

1. Lay on your back, on the floor with a pillow under your knees. (This will reduce lower back pressure).

2. Place the heating pad (temperature on LOW) over you cloths on your lower back. (NEVER put heat directly on uncovered skin.)

3. Close your eyes and focus on the warmth you feel on your lower back.

4. As you relax, Inhale slowly while gently guiding the energy of your breath to the warmth on your lower back. Each time inhaling and exhaling a little more slowly.

5. Practice for 10 min. each day.

WARNING:  Set an alarm for yourself. Please be advised that you may fall asleep due to the warmth and soothing nature of this exercise. With practice and focus you will be able to stay awake; but I want you to be on time for any activities you may have.

 

(C) Items needed:  Chair, warm water bottle, or heating pad.

1. As you get more and more comfortable, practice in a seated position. With your bare-feet flat on the floor.

2. Place a warm water bottle, or heating pad (temperature on LOW), behind your lower back. Keeping your spine elongated and aligned in the chair. (NEVER put heat directly on uncovered skin.)

3. As you relax, Inhale slowly while gently guiding the energy of your breath to the warmth on your lower back. Each time inhaling and exhaling a little more slowly.

4. Practice until you are able to fill and expand equally front and back.

3. Practice for 10 min. each day. Set an alarm for yourself.

 

(D) Items needed:  Cushion or mat.

1. Then, if you like, you can move to a crossed leg position. Make sure your spine is elongated and aligned.

2. As you relax, Inhale slowly while gently guiding the energy of your breath into your lower belly, expanding front and back equally.

3. Practice for 10 min. each day. Set an alarm for yourself.


Longer does not equal better.

The most important thing you will always hear me say is QUALITY over quantity.

There are energetic reasons for this. In the west we often think pushing ourselves makes us stronger. So if you practice longer you will be better. But this is not always the case, especially when you are working with "Restorative Medicine." If you push yourself too much, you will simply use up more energy than you have and deplete yourself. If you try to flood your body with energy it will simply disperse the energy that it has not been cultivated to hold. 

Learning how to build and utilize energy efficiently can create tremendous health. I hope these tools will help your meditation practice and overall well-being. Let me know how it goes! smiley


References

Johnson, Jerry Alan. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Volume 1:  Energetic Anatomy and Physiology. California:  The International Institute of Medical Qigong, 2002.

Johnson, Jerry Alan. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy Volume 2:  Energetic Alchemy, Dao Yin Therapy and Qi Deviations. Chapt. 17. California:  The International Institute of Medical Qigong, 2002.


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