View Full Version : Reversed breathing

05-01-2002, 04:08 AM
Why? Why not?
When? When not to?



05-02-2002, 07:35 AM
A few threads ago someone mentioned that he practiced reverse breathing all the time and hurt himself internally. He recommended to practice reverse breathing only when training.


05-06-2002, 12:46 PM
Why? It is the traditional "Taoist Breath". It will allow you to expel power from your dan tien, not just collect it. A great author on the subject of the benefits of Reverse Breathing is Master Jou Tsung-Hwa "The Tao of Taijiquan" which was written to be a manual for taijiquan practice. He was one of the largest advocators of Dantien development in the United States. You can find about a challenge created in his memories that involves reverse breathing of a sort called the "Dantien Challenge" at http://www.magictortoise.com -

It also will open up your meridians in your body and allow the chi to flow freely. However this can only be done if you have cultivated chi to move around in your body to begin with. Otherwise it could be thought of as trying to lubricate an engine with no oil (very dangerous for the engine, or in this case your body).

In a healing situation: If you are doing some form of hands-on-healing and you feel negative energy begin to crawl up your hand from the patient you are working on, you can use reverse breathing to expel it out of your hand. You could expel it back into the person, or into a rock or object in the room. This also goes for being in a room with sick people, perhaps a doctors office and you feel that trickle in the back of your throat perhaps, you can reverse breathe that sickness outside of your body.

Why not? If you are female and are in your menstrual cycle it would be a good time to move your cultivation to the heart center and only do post-birth breathing.

If you are feeling low on energy this will spend even more of it, so spend your time cultivating post-birth breathing as well.

If you are totally new to chi-kung and have done no post-birth dantien cultivation (as mentioned above).

When To/When not to: In the morning when the body is very yang reverse breathing is recommended. Also during mid-day 1-5PM -

At night you should stick to yin activities, such as meditation w/ post-birth breathing unless otherwise instructed by your teacher. This is because the body is in a yin state and reverse breathing will cause it to exercise a yang state which can cause imbalances.

I would highly recommend only learning reverse breathing from a teacher and directing all your comments towards them. They will have the experience and the direct transmission that will allow you to learn it successfully and healthfully.

- Nexus

05-06-2002, 12:57 PM
Thanks everyone for your answers!

Nexus, that was very informative indeed. Could you elaborate more on post-birth breathing, or could you give me some links where I can find more information on the subject?

05-06-2002, 10:06 PM
Post birth breathing is natural breathing. As you inhale, the lower abdomen expands, as you exhale the lower abdoman contracts. This is the natural way to breathe and should be the primary way you breathe throughout the day. It is an unforced breath which causes the lower abdomen to rise or expand.

- Nexus

05-07-2002, 12:02 AM
Post birth breathing is IE "abdominal breathing". OK, I got it! :)

Repulsive Monkey
05-07-2002, 09:30 AM
From a Taoist point of view there is not much value in opening and closing of the connection between Ren 1 (Hui-yin) and Du 1 (on the other side of the anuses opening) as this will continuosly break the Lesser Heavenly circuit everytime you breath. There is the idea of pulling the anal muscles upwards a little so as to create the connection, but it is held there. After sometime one doesn't really have to do this anymore as the connection is strong enough, although when issuing energy upwards from the earth up the spine there can be a slight drawing in of the points when storing just before discharging.

05-07-2002, 05:14 PM
The highest level is underwater breathing. However if you start now, you will master it more quickly.


05-09-2002, 04:51 PM
I do reverse breathing all day, every day, and have for 16 years...

I hardly EVER get ill, and when I do it is VERY brief.

I have never had any problems arise from it, and in fact I feel unbalanced (physically AND mentally), weakened, and uprooted when I try to breathe any other way...

Just my 2 yen

05-16-2002, 11:05 PM
This is true reverse breathing when done correctly will enhance you not hurt you. It should be natural and taught by someone who knows. good points have been given. Excellent fellow members.

05-18-2002, 07:38 AM
I would tend to think that reverse breathing ALL the time would be slightly unnatural and could be unhealthy, but that's just my feeling---I have no specific knowledge on that.

But as far as regular reverse breathing training in MA, I think it's good to demystify it a bit, and not have it presented as some esoteric Chinese exercise. I think if you're just sensitive to the way you naturally expel or project energy, you'll see that your body automatically changes to reverse breathing whenever you laugh, cry, sigh, yell, push or lift something heavy, etc. While the breathing training in CMA can go into a bit more depth, it's really a very natural process that the body uses to project internal energy.