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Phoenix3

Am I doing reverse abdominal breathing correctly?

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Posted (edited)

Unfortunately, when I do reverse abdominal breathing, I can’t feel significant movement of my perineum or huiyin area. It’s not like a retracting of the diaphragm where there is an obvious muscle movement.

 

Instead, I just ignored the huiyin/perineum movement, and just tried to make everything contract into my lower belly on the inhale, and everything expand out of my lower belly on the exhale (I feel this is a more intuitive way of doing reverse diaphragm breathing, instead of thinking about my diaphragm, huiyin, abdomen, etc), and I can feel a slight sensation on my exhale being released from my lower belly area. Like a slight breeze arising out of that area.

 

Am I doing it ok? Thanks

Edited by Phoenix3

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Posted (edited)

Yes, I think so. The way I was taught was just drawing the navel in toward the spine on the inhale, then letting everything relax on the exhale. So maybe it was less about expanding on the exhale...but I think as long as the inhale has the contraction, it can be considered reverse breathing.

Edit: I forgot that I was also taught to gently contract the anus on the inhale, too. But there are other forms of breathing out there that utilize the navel without the lower aspect, which have the same effect.

Edited by Aetherous
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I'd encourage you to get the perineum movement down. When the navel draws inward, the perineum draws upward.  The good news is they are coordinated like this for normal abdominal and reverse breathing so you could try the other method to see if you feel it any more.

 

Also, you can put your finger on your perineum when doing the breathing to see if it is moving.  In some cases you may even feel it is moving but once you touch it you find out it does not.

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Posted (edited)

The internal parts are the more fundamental parts - but I've always said everyone teaches reverse breathing backwards.  IMHO when beginning, its the diaphragm and huiyin on the inhale that need to have their timing properly before the front is added in to an appreciable extent.  It doesnt actually serve a purpose to suck the abdominal wall in very far.  If one is putting primacy on that above the diaphragm & huiyin, then a lot of the efficiency of the breath is wasted.

Edited by joeblast
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19 minutes ago, joeblast said:

The internal parts are the more fundamental parts - but I've always said everyone teaches reverse breathing backwards.  IMHO when beginning, its the diaphragm and huiyin on the inhale that need to have their timing properly before the front is added in to an appreciable extent.  It doesnt actually serve a purpose to suck the abdominal wall in very far.  If one is putting primacy on that above the diaphragm & huiyin, then a lot of the efficiency of the breath is wasted.

 

very interesting point... I just put down my bowl of rice and beef and started to do some RAB... and yes,  the huiyin engages prior to the stomach.  The stomach seems to just naturally follow it. 

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Posted (edited)

its important to time the most energetically potent 'moment'um  portions of each structure so that the most energetic positions all happen coincidentally :)

'when beginning' = when beginning to learn

Edited by joeblast
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the advice everyone. I just tried it again, while placing my finger at the perineum, and it doesn’t really go ‘up’ as in inwards towards the stomach, but up as in towards the anus. Is this correct?

 

but it’s very slight. Maybe about 1-2cm of movement. Not much.

Edited by Phoenix3

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30 minutes ago, joeblast said:

It doesnt actually serve a purpose to suck the abdominal wall in very far.


It stokes the mingmen fire.

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4 minutes ago, Phoenix3 said:

Thanks for the advice everyone. I just tried it again, while placing my finger at the perineum, and it doesn’t really go ‘up’ as in inwards towards the stomach, but up as in towards the anus. Is this correct?

 

but it’s very slight. Maybe about 1-2cm of movement. Not much.

 

IMO, that is what you want as 'upward'.   It should not feel like a strain like your are overly flexing or pulling it.  It is more like the breath is connected to it and it draws up and then relaxes on exhale. 

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13 minutes ago, Aetherous said:


It stokes the mingmen fire.

the kidneys lie adjacently inferior & anterior to the diaphragm - if one's diaphragm movement is poor, then even if one is sucking in their abdominal wall very far, it will still be less energetic, less stimulating/massaging on the kidneys than when its all properly coherent ;)

 

Fig-436-Diagrammatic-longitudinal-sectio

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So...

 

Inhale:

  1. Huiyin/the perineum contracts and moves towards the anus.
  2. The diaphragm moves down, towards the belly,

Exhale:

  1. Huiyin/the perineum relaxes and moves back to its original place.
  2. The diaphragm relaxes and moves back up to its original position.

 

Is this correct? Thanks

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4 minutes ago, Phoenix3 said:

So...

 

Inhale:

  1. Huiyin/the perineum contracts and moves towards the anus.
  2. The diaphragm moves down, towards the belly,

Exhale:

  1. Huiyin/the perineum relaxes and moves back to its original place.
  2. The diaphragm relaxes and moves back up to its original position.

 

Is this correct? Thanks

I dont know how you're getting that anything "moves towards the anus"

 

pelvic-floor-pain-coccyx-exercises-after

 

inhale: huiyin lifts as diaphragm is contracted, and the front of the abdomen is pulled in at the qihai.

exhale: relax

 

 

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Here are some further ideas on this subject, of which I certainly don't know the full story...

Some posit that the small intestine is the actual mingmen fire, not the kidneys...it's the true fire (I think it's "true" because it's the "emperor fire" in terms of the five elements, as opposed to minister fire) within water. Think of each kidney as being a broken line (of course they are water element, yin) and between them being a solid line (small intestine is fire element, yang).

Eva Wong's "Tao and Health Longevity and Immorality" is one example of a book that uses terminology like "true fire"...good to look through that.

 

Small intestine and kidney have a relationship due to them being taiyang and shaoyin, in terms of the six divisions. Heart and kidney are paired as shaoyin, and the heart's yin yang pair is taiyang small intestine...all four organs have unique interactions with each other (which Guohui Liu's "Foundations of Theory for Ancient Chinese Medicine" goes into a little bit in chapter 6).

Here's a medical example of taiyang and shaoyin interactions: when a person catches a cold and has certain symptoms like spontaneous sweating and aches, it's thought that the exterior layer of the body, which is called taiyang and is associated mostly with the bladder channel, is affected. The major aspect of the treatment is to give them cinnamon twig...this increases the heart's functioning and warmth, so that it radiates out to the extremities and exterior. This example is heart (shaoyin) fire warming the bladder (taiyang) channel.

Similarly, how kidneys get their warmth/function/yang is from the small intestine fire...aka, the mingmen fire. A medical example of that is the use of aconite.

Or a cultivation example...reverse breathing, or I think really most practices where we work with the dantian.

The idea of the mingmen being associated primarily with the kidneys was from a commentator on the Nan Jing's 8th difficult issue, who said, "to the left is the kidney, to the right is the gate of life" and people thought it meant the right kidney is the mingmen...but that was just additional commentary, and extrapolation on that. The actual text of the Nan Jing says it's between the kidneys. This is why in medicine they chose DU-4 in the center as the point to call "mingmen" and not something off to the side, or even associated with the kidneys.

Not only in medicine, but also in neidan texts, the mingmen isn't the kidneys:
 

Quote

The ☞ Cinnabar Field is the root of the human being. It is the place where essence and spirit are stored, the origin of the five breaths (wuqi), and the Storehouse of the Red Child (chizi zhi fu). Men store in it their semen, and women their menstrual blood. It rules on generating children and is the gate of the joining of Yin and Yang. It is three inches below the navel, attached to the Caudal Funnel (weilü),(1) and is the root of the two kidneys. Within the Cinnabar Field the center is red, the left is green, the right is yellow, above is white, and below is black. It is within a space that measures four inches, square (like Earth) and round (like Heaven).(2) - source


I guess an argument can be made for trying to physically stimulate the kidneys based on this idea that the mingmen is between them...but I personally think it's more important to stimulate the small intestine. Inhaling into the lower abdomen while also contracting the space (drawing the navel toward the spine) creates the most pressure and activity internally. When it's done right, we feel heat in the belly...among other signs.

I wonder about the significance of the navel, not only due to the fact that it's where the small intestine is located, but also because of the umbilical cord previously having been there...

As for the anus being related to the practice, look into the "lower magpie bridge".

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3 hours ago, joeblast said:

I dont know how you're getting that anything "moves towards the anus"

 

Perhaps I was confused and thinking of the wrong muscle. I didn’t know that the perineum was two muscles. Thanks for the clarification.

 

So in practice, would you say that the perineum muscles rise up towards the abdomen? Is the movement significant (an upwards movement by a few centimeters) or slight (an upwards movement by around only a centimeter)?

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3 hours ago, Aetherous said:

As for the anus being related to the practice, look into the "lower magpie bridge".

 

Would you say the lower magpie bridge is definately the perineum? I’ve heard different views regarding this.

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7 minutes ago, Phoenix3 said:

 

Perhaps I was confused and thinking of the wrong muscle. I didn’t know that the perineum was two muscles. Thanks for the clarification.

 

So in practice, would you say that the perineum muscles rise up towards the abdomen? Is the movement significant (an upwards movement by a few centimeters) or slight (an upwards movement by around only a centimeter)?

 

Sorry.. I think I agreed with an earlier comment you had...  I didn't mean towards the anus.  The perineum draw is vertical upwards.  The anus might close and pull up too but that is a focus. 

 

In my experience it is rather slight but noticeable, why I said to touch the area.  You want to know it is moving. 

 

You can actually practice it without doing the RAB at all, or moving the stomach... that is when you know you have control over it.  But the main point is, they work together and why best to do as a complete set. 

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Just now, Phoenix3 said:

Would you say the lower magpie bridge is definately the perineum? I’ve heard different views regarding this.

 

I've seen it referred to as the anus. The way I personally was taught was to very gently close or tighten the anus, not the perineum, so I go with that.

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2 minutes ago, Aetherous said:

 

I've seen it referred to as the anus. The way I personally was taught was to very gently close or tighten the anus, not the perineum, so I go with that.

 

But a magpie bridge is defined as something which connects the renmai to the dumai. So wouldn’t the perineum make more sense than the anus? 

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3 minutes ago, dawei said:

 

Sorry.. I think I agreed with an earlier comment you had...  I didn't mean towards the anus.  The perineum draw is vertical upwards.  The anus might close and pull up too but that is a focus. 

 

In my experience it is rather slight but noticeable, why I said to touch the area.  You want to know it is moving. 

 

You can actually practice it without doing the RAB at all, or moving the stomach... that is when you know you have control over it.  But the main point is, they work together and why best to do as a complete set. 

 

Thank you for all your help. I have tried to locate it, but I just can’t find it! There are various muscles around there which are obviously contracting, but none that I can feel that actually ‘rise up’ towards the interior of the body.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Phoenix3 said:

But a magpie bridge is defined as something which connects the renmai to the dumai. So wouldn’t the perineum make more sense than the anus? 

 

This is my own thinking:

If the upper bridge has to do with the mouth, which is basically an abyss that must be crossed over somehow, wouldn't it make sense for the lower to be similar? Why would you need a bridge at the perineum?

Some descriptions of the ren and du mai say that they first emerge at the perineum, so it does make sense to me that people would think that's an important spot...however, ren and du are already together there, so what are we doing trying to bring together what's already linked?

Regardless, I just go off of the method I was taught and try not to add too much of my own ideas to it, and if a certain translation or interpretation matches it, then it makes enough sense to me.

I think it doesn't really matter anyway, since contracting the anus naturally stimulates the perineum. And since if you're drawing the navel in, it naturally causes a little clench below. I personally don't think any of this is in need of such precision.

I also question if it matters at all, considering that the entirety of Daoist neidan is basically a lost art as far as I know.

Edited by Aetherous

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5 hours ago, Phoenix3 said:

Thanks for the advice everyone. I just tried it again, while placing my finger at the perineum, and it doesn’t really go ‘up’ as in inwards towards the stomach, but up as in towards the anus. Is this correct?

 

but it’s very slight. Maybe about 1-2cm of movement. Not much.

 

I would not over think this.  If you feel movement then focus and practice a bit.

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17 hours ago, Aetherous said:


The idea of the mingmen being associated primarily with the kidneys was from a commentator on the Nan Jing's 8th difficult issue, who said, "to the left is the kidney, to the right is the gate of life" and people thought it meant the right kidney is the mingmen...but that was just additional commentary, and extrapolation on that. The actual text of the Nan Jing says it's between the kidneys. This is why in medicine they chose DU-4 in the center as the point to call "mingmen" and not something off to the side, or even associated with the kidneys.
 

 

Quote

But back to mingmen, the Life Gate; this is (likely) this structure between the kidneys, the crus of the diaphragm (and ligament of Treitz) - the gateway in the diaphragm and the gateway in the energy fields.

http://perceivebelieve.tumblr.com/post/159904989496/the-idiots-guide-to-taoist-alchemy-qigong

Quote

Arising from the crus is a very interesting structure, the ligament of Treitz. This starts as a slip of striated (voluntary) muscle from the diaphragm, becomes ligamentus, and then continues as smooth (involunatary) muscle to join (and suspend) the small intestine at the juncture of the duodenum and the jejunum (the second section of the small intestine). This suspensory ligament is the structure we feel relax when our “stomach” falls with fear, for instance.

tumblr_inline_oov951Laie1tuek78_540.jpg

 

Dr.

Norman Bethune Allan:

Quote

one old old source says that it is also the “greasy membrane between the kidneys.” And what could that be? Surely it’s the crus of the diaphragm!…Where the oesophagus passes through the diaphragm (the diaphragmatic hiatus), the diaphragm loops a bit of muscle round the left that then crosses over, below, to the right (to the right of the abdominal aorta)… The pieces of the diaphragm either side of the oesophagus, and then below, either side of the aorta, are called the crus of the diaphragm - the cross of the diaphragm.

 

scientifically explained by the

Wim Hof Method

, pdf link:

Quote

The researchers also concluded that this experiment confirmed that a clear voluntary activation of the autonomic nervous system triggers an increase in the production of the stress hormone adrenaline. In turn, this resulted in a suppression of the activation of the immune system.

Reverse breathing means below the bellow button the stomach goes in on the in breath and above the belly button on the in breath the stomach goes out and the diaphragm is flexed down. This is also called “pressure breathing.” The quick fire breathing (fast deep reverse breathing) doubles the adrenaline levels by physically stimulating the adrenal medullae or “yang jing” on top of the kidneys.

Again the Wim Hof tummo method was tested:

Quote

Epinephrine [adrenaline] levels in trained [for 4 days] individuals were even higher than those reported in a recent study in which acute stress elicited by a bungee jump was found to suppress cytokine production by leukocytes ex vivo stimulated with LPS (13). As norepinephrine, dopamine, and cortisol levels were not increased in the training group, it appears that the techniques predominantly result in stimulation of the sympathetic input to the adrenal medulla, because this is the most abundant source of epinephrine [adrenaline] in the body and epinephrine-producing chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla

 

 

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45 minutes ago, voidisyinyang said:

structure between the kidneys

 

At least in the Nan Jing, it's the "moving qi", not a structure.

Very interesting about the Wim Hof methods stimulating epinephrine.

 

48 minutes ago, voidisyinyang said:

“yang jing”

 

This is odd terminology...where does calling it this come from, and what is this?

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13 hours ago, Phoenix3 said:

 

Thank you for all your help. I have tried to locate it, but I just can’t find it! There are various muscles around there which are obviously contracting, but none that I can feel that actually ‘rise up’ towards the interior of the body.

That's because they dont rise up.  Imagine a weight suspended by 4 strings - how does that weight 'rise up?'  "All 4 strings pull away from the weight."

 

13 hours ago, Aetherous said:

 

This is my own thinking:

If the upper bridge has to do with the mouth, which is basically an abyss that must be crossed over somehow, wouldn't it make sense for the lower to be similar? Why would you need a bridge at the perineum?

Some descriptions of the ren and du mai say that they first emerge at the perineum, so it does make sense to me that people would think that's an important spot...however, ren and du are already together there, so what are we doing trying to bring together what's already linked?

Regardless, I just go off of the method I was taught and try not to add too much of my own ideas to it, and if a certain translation or interpretation matches it, then it makes enough sense to me.

I think it doesn't really matter anyway, since contracting the anus naturally stimulates the perineum. And since if you're drawing the navel in, it naturally causes a little clench below. I personally don't think any of this is in need of such precision.

I also question if it matters at all, considering that the entirety of Daoist neidan is basically a lost art as far as I know.

2D5FF57B00000578-0-image-a-60_1444750245

Similar and analogous arent quite the same word :)  The lower bridge in some regards is similar, but its also very much different.  The intention comes at the huiyin - but if you wanted to lift this bridge above, it would be done by pulling its points of attachment.  

 

Regarding the anus...it is not one monolithic structure...

 

Anatomy_of_the_anus_0309.jpg

 

By moving "the perineum," one is naturally, slightly, engaging the internal anal sphincter.  Can you tell the difference between actuating your external anal sphincter vs the internal one?  I can.  Engaging the anus "too much" engages the external anal sphincter, which is analogous to clenching....that last line of defense as you carefully but quickly make your way to the toilet.  The internal sphincter is more subtle.  The lifting of the perineum can travel "plenty far" and still only engage the internal gently and not the external sphincter.  You can see that the external sphincter flows into the levator ani, which is one of those structures I always said to keep relaxed.  This gives some logical and differentiable separation between interior and exterior sphincters.

 

pelvic-floor-pain-coccyx-exercises-after

 

Ren and Du emanate from there, yes....now what happens when you move a magnet past a coil....that's a part of it...

 

Regarding precision, when I was in the 1:20-1:30 average breath duration range for sessions...I'll just say that past a minute of breath duration, it became absolutely imperative that I hunt down and find every single last possible efficiency to be gained.  If there isnt a reason to engage and move a given structure, then let it be as lax as possible.  Only the structures that need to move should move, and their movement should be proper.  My breathwork came from YMAA embryonic breathing, many anatomy sources, and I knew nothing else for the first 3 years while I trained it, troubleshot my body past many a glass floor/ceiling - ultimately, your body will be able to tell you things that no book or master can really teach you - even if only because "to see, to bleed, cannot be taught."

 

 

(the real gems in the ymaa book are dr yang's translation sections, where he has a bunch of the ancient text, and beneath, his translation.  I'm still a bit ticked that my copy I lent out never found its way back to me and accidentally got donated....all dog eared, highlighted, noted in the sides...well, I think the good thing about that is, its in some Library now, where many people may come across all of that for years to come.)

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