The Importance of Embryonic Breathing When Meditating
In many communities in China, meditation means to sit quietly and achieve a calm state. The goal of this type of meditation is to achieve, quite literally, peace of mind.
When it comes to the martial arts in Chinese society, however, meditation means much more. It goes beyond just calming the mind but also raises the spirit and help practitioners to pursue the meaning of life. This pursuit can help the physical body become more powerful. Yin calmness also can be achieved, as well. It is truly the Ying and Yang balance, allowing a marital artist to achieve a high level of skill in the martial arts while also understanding the need for peace and harmony.
If you are interested in meditation as part of your martial arts training (and you should if you want to continue to grow and thrive in your practice), there are two questions that you need to ask yourself.
What is my purpose for training in meditation? Am I looking to achieve peace of mind? Do I want to become more enlightened? Is it to further my martial arts training?
How can I succeed? How can I meditate in the correct way? How committed am I? Do I have the patience and will to achieve my goals for meditation?
Mediation is a long journey. Mastering it will not be quick and easy. However, the journey will have its own rewards as you progress in your practice. The first step in your journey is to master the art of embryonic breathing.
The concept of embryonic breathing begins with understanding that the body has two polarities, one resides in the brain—the upper Dantian—and the other is in the area of the abdomen region—the lower Dantian. The lower and upper Dantian communicate through the spinal cord. This enables the two brains to act as one. Physically, they are two, but in action, they are one.
Embryonic breathing is sometimes called “stopping the breath.” Some people mistakenly take this to mean that they should hold their breath. This is not the case. Embryonic breathing means that your breath feels like an effortless, internal movement. It becomes so natural that you are unaware that you are breathing, like a child in the womb. This allows you to become present in the moment. It is important, therefore, that you do not concentrate your mind on your breathing but rather let it occur naturally so that your breathing becomes calm and serene.
Again, embryonic breathing takes time to learn and master. When it is mastered, however, it forms a profound step in your journey to master meditation.