Yoga Meditation Daoism
Sundao works through a combination of postures and breathing techniques. Breathing is a fundamental and essential factor for the health of the body, mind, and emotions. The way we breathe reasonably determines the flow of vital Qi energy.
In the human body, Qi energy is transported through lines of energy, energy channels also called meridians. Due to improper breathing, caused by physical damage, poor diet, emotional trauma or stress, energy Qi can flow in a limited way or even be blocked in its flow. When there are blocks, the natural flow of consciousness and emotions is interrupted, and diseases can happen. The breathing methods of Sundao have a considerable influence on the quantity and quality of physical energy, mental, and spiritual.
During the practice of Sundao, postures and stretching, done together with particular breathing methods, activate specific energy channels. This releases energy blockages and allows free flow of Qi throughout the body. The sense of ‘ use your nose to breathe ‘ is to inhale and exhale through the nose in a natural way in the everyday life. Yet at times, especially at the beginning of this practice, the mouth may be used to eject toxins occasionally. From a physiological point of view our life is very interesting.
No matter whom we are, young or old, we all breathe through the lungs using the muscles of the diaphragm and chest. However, babies and children, breathe with a swollen belly. When we begin to desire goods and indulge in deep thought during puberty, our breath begins to rise to the chest. So, we breathe actively through our chest in our youth. But our work environments and sedentary lifestyles, along with the increasing stress of our busy lives, cause us to develop a shallow breathing, and, therefore, in middle age, we breathe using only our upper chest. In old age we breathe with a movement of the shoulders. As we age, our breathing becomes shallow and fast. When the number of breaths is equal to the number of beats of the heart, then we’ll die in less than a day. Therefore, we may say that our life follows the path of breath from the lower abdomen to the shoulders.
There is also an energy track in our body that follows this breathing path. During childhood, the energy is concentrated in the feet. This is why children do not feel the cold, even if they are barefoot in winter.
If you cover your feet with a blanket while they sleep, they will feel a great weight on their feet and kick away the blanket. As they grow, this energy goes up to the knees.
Therefore, they cannot remain still, walking back and forth in a room without being able to stop. In puberty, this energy flows in the lower abdomen above the bladder, and for boys and girls desire begins. When they leave youth and get to middle age, breathing settles completely in the chest, and they start planning their life, work hard, and do their utmost to fulfill their dreams, they eat and drink heavily. As they feel the twilight of their lives getting closer, they try to complete all objectives. If old age falls on them suddenly, the energy decreases and moves itself to the head.
Therefore, to lower the breath from the shoulders to the lower abdomen and the energy from head to toe are our most urgent problems to be solved. Through the practice of cleaning the mind using a slow, deep breath, both problems can be solved and we can enter the path of a pure and more satisfying life. Let’s take a look at the relationship between the breath and the life span of some animals familiar to us. The turtle breathes two or three times per minute, and its average life is of 250 to 300 years. The elephant breathes five or six times per minute, and its average life is of 150 to 200 years. A man breathes 20 or 25 times per minute, and its life expectancy is 70 to 80 years. The dog breathes 80 or 90 times per minute, and its life expectancy is 15 to 20 years. At first, it’s hard to breathe only two or three times a minute as the turtle. In Choong – Ki Danbup , the first program of practice Sundao, inhale and exhale for 5 seconds , respectively , as the elephant , and later on , if we become very good at it , we increase the breathing time to 20 seconds just like the turtle . We are able to breathe more deeply through the great movement of the diaphragm, which is a muscle both involuntary and voluntary.
Now, let’s examine how a deep breath changes the body. For the average adult, the width of the movement of the diaphragm when breathing normally is of about 2 cm and the amount of re-circulated air is 0.5 liters. When breathing from the lower abdomen, instead, the diaphragm moves from 6 to 8 cm, and the amount of inhaled air varies from 1.5 to 2 liters (each further cm on the diaphragm is equivalent to an extra 0.25 liters). This increase in inhaled air carries more oxygen to the brain and all other organs of the body, workers and students, who need mental focus, are able to greatly increase their productivity without feeling fatigue, if practicing lower abdomen breathing. Furthermore, the exceeding fat in the body is burned away by a right supply of oxygen, this helps to cure diseases in adulthood obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and liver disorders. Since the active movement of the diaphragm stimulates very much the stem of the autonomic nervous system, this helps the recovery from all diseases, revitalizing the natural healing power of the diencephalon and midbrain.
Additionally, with the contraction and relaxation of the organs, following a stable and deep breath, sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves are harmonized, and therefore the autonomic nervous system is strengthened and balanced.
Deep breathing requires mental concentration on the Danchun (our power centre in the lower abdomen). Only through mental focus, energy and blood can flow into a focal point, and the Chung (energy) is filled. In fact, if we integrate breathing with mental concentration, the brain, distracted and distorted from everyday life, calms down, the diencephalon and midbrain, which are responsible for the strength of natural healing, are revitalized, and then all diseases can be cured by an increase in strength of natural healing. Thus, our intrinsic superhuman ability can be found.
Furthermore, with the harmony of the autonomic nerve and the strengthening of the abdominal pressure, the digestion-absorption function improves, and the function of discharge becomes faster.
Also, because all the toxins in our body are collected and eliminated by an increase of the blood flow in the liver and kidneys, the energy and blood are always kept clean and the physical body is reinforced in order to be able to maintain a healthy and strong body. Also, if the length of the breath increases, breathing becomes deep and balanced. As a consequence, all the fluctuations of the mind calm down, this allows us to act prudently and safely at all times , without ever exhausting our energy reserves. The wisdom of accomplishment develops and in a natural way we become deep and wise men.