Breathing With the Back

I am a practitioner of abdominal breathing and during one of my sessions, I recalled a memory with an old chen teacher of mine. He was talking to the class about abdominal breathing and the roles of ‘heng and ha’ within the taiji form. He then proceeded to tell us that we should try to “Breathe with the Back”. We all sort of looked at him a but funny.  The instructor then got into a Chen stance, and then did some abdominal breathing. He gestured to each one of us to come and but our hands on his lower back.  To our surprise, his lower back was expanding with his breath!

To this day, I am still unable to do this! I guess it means I need more training or need to relax my core a bit more to allow my diaphragm to expand. I then found the following passage:

When our breathing is full and deep, the belly, lower ribcage, and lower back all expand on inhalation, thus drawing the diaphragm down deeper into the abdomen, and retract on exhalation, allowing the diaphragm to move fully upward toward the heart.

— Source: Deep Breathing Exercises

Come to think of it, I think my abdominal breathing is more focused on breathing with the belly instead of trying to engage my diaphragm!

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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11 Responses to Breathing With the Back

  1. Ken Albin says:

    Fascinating! I need to work on my breathing.

  2. Rick Matz says:

    In my Wu style Taijiquan class, I’ve begun to get directions on how to breath during the qigong exercises – the 24 Forms.

  3. wujimon says:

    Hey Rick. Most of the instruction I’ve received about breathing basically entails to breathe naturally 🙂 Only a handful of times have I gotten detailed instructions to do any sort of reverse breathing, etc. On the other hand, I have gotten some information regarding heng/ha and the opening/closing of the body, but that’s a bit more advanced for me right now 😉

  4. bai yiming says:

    Yes, breathing with the back is also important for pushing hands and applications, in the moment of contact or receiving force.
    My teachers call it baman, filling up the lower back, making it expand, what you can train with breathing.

  5. puredoxyk says:

    I overheard my Sifu instructing a senior student in the importance of movement in the lower back. I can notice it a little when I get a really good breath going, in san zan especially, but it’s amazingly hard to sustain.

  6. wujimon says:

    @PD: What exactly is ‘san zan’? I am not familiar with that term. I’m assuming it’s means ‘three’ something, right? Anyhoo, like you, I can get a tiny bit of movement but then it all goes away once I try to move 😉

  7. wayne hansen says:

    pour your breath to the pit of your stomach like pouring honey.
    the lower back will expand when the chi is ready to assend the spinal coloum.
    this will only happen when the belly is full.
    this is the sacral pump for micro cosmic circulation.
    dont try to force it ,it will come in its own time.

  8. wujimon says:

    Thx, Wayne. I’m still working on this, tho it perhaps I shouldn’t be.. 🙂 I’ll just sit back and let it happen naturally 🙂

  9. Kalyn says:

    Begun, the great internet edtcouian has.

  10. Merci pour cette magnifique ressource, j’ai pas encore testé mais ça m’évitera d’avoir à faire des plans de site manuellement.Encore merci pour l’info, et bonne continuation!

  11. First off Scott is a panzy for letting you two mouthbreathers post. Secondly we are not as fair weather as you think I have missed going to one home game in the three years i’ve had tix. Everyone may rip on Lovie but this is his second NFC championship in his tenure. How many does the guy who kicked Favre out have? Keep hope alive boys you only put up 10 on the Bears in a game that meant nothing to them. Good luck!

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