In Medical Qigong, certain ailments might require a particular style of breathing, some of which might compel an audible exhalation, more complete physical movements (e.g. walking) and other practices that target the illness and let the healer within address our illness.
It’s About the Qi’s simple purpose of a stress-reducing, unassertive standing meditation only requires soft and rhythmical breathing. From time to time we will be changing up these Qigong breathing exercises. In any case, though, do not be concerned about your breathing; don’t worry about whether you’re breathing in or out correctly.
You cannot NOT breathe. We are beginners; relaxed and gentle is the key.
There is of course, the “but.”
Unlike Yoga, where one breathes in through the nose and exhales through the mouth, Qigong’s inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose.
Here is the theory: As we breathe in through the nose, the breath follows down the front of the body to the perineum along what is called the Functional Channel. The return path of the breath (exhalation) from the perineum to the palate, is called the Governing Channel.
The Blue line is for the Functional Channel
The Red line is for the Governing Channel
The positioning of the tongue is an important detail. Placing the tip of your tongue gently against the back of your front teeth allows for an uninterrupted breathing cycle through which the Functional and Governing Channels are now joined. It is the tongue’s placement, creating a connection between the throat and the soft palate, that achieves the continuous breathing rotation.
If you have been a Yoga practitioner, this might take a bit of getting used to. However with time and of course, practice, this tongue placement will become second nature.
There are of course deeper and much more detailed explanations to be found and considered, but we like to keep things simple around here. And sometimes simplicity is the hardest thing to do.
I have searched to find out who said this, but since I cannot come up with the exact original quote please bear with me as I am forced to paraphrase a bit. In effect it says, “In Qigong, as in life, when we are born, breathing is hard. As we continue life, breathing becomes easy. And at the end of our life, breathing is everything.”