An emphasis on breathing.

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Sekaralas, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Sekaralas

    Sekaralas New Member

    I find that sharing the science/art of breathing is a difficult thing to convey in language, so I'm going to use this forum as an opportunity to practice :) .
    Please note that I am aware that each person here already has their particular routine and method inherent within the styles you practice. I do not presume to 'lecture' you nor do I take the point of view that my method is the only method for attaining skill.
    In my system the pesilat must understand that correct breathing is the foundation upon which everything else is built.
    We hold that without the solid body knowledge of how to breathe, one will not have the first requirement for expressing power through the body. Without the physical skill, one does not have the platform from which to understand the spiritual self.
    It's a stepping process where each step relies on a previous one. To build that foundation through training, one must practice how to integrate breath, mind and body so that the process becomes a natural component of ones self.
    There are two components to instruction and they are describing how correct breathing feels in terms of bodily sensations, and explaining the mental and physical process by which one trains to achieve integrated breath.
    The bodily sensations are thus:
    Breathing feels effortless and one feels that the entire torso is absorbing the breath. It feels like the lungs are breathing up and out, sticking to the back and expanding the area of the floating ribs. Sometimes, your front hairline feels like a current is going through it and your hackles rise, like when you're very scared (except you're not). Sometimes there is a sensation in the third eye area, and as you develop there is a feeling that ones abdomen is like a pliant leathery ball.
    There is a feeling of weight in the arms accompanied by tingling in the centre of the palms and a surging in the soles of the feet. You feel very compact and confident, as if you could jump 20 meters into the air or batter down a granite wall without warming up :).
    It feels very good.
    The technique to achieve that first experience is thus:
    Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart (like you're on skis), knees slightly bent, feet gripping the earth, back balanced on the hips without swaying, neck straight with chin slightly tucked in and arms hanging down palm in, resting on where the seams of trousers are. Touch the roof of the mouth with the tip of the tongue, mouth closed and teeth closed as well, and slightly tighten the anus/perineum area, as if trying to stop going to the toilet.
    Breathe slowly and regularly, brace your abdomen, it slightly tightens. Imagine your breath being pulled down into your abdomen. Do not puff out your chest. Relax your torso, do not tighten or struggle with the breathing, but try to feel where the lungs need to expand given that you're not expanding the belly nor expanding the chest. (the lungs should expand naturally to the sides sticking to the back so that the back slightly hunches, and you should feel that your floating ribs expand to accommodate).
    In this position, still the mind to try not to think of anything. If thoughts arise, just let it go.
    When you're perfectly still and calm, start to become aware of your bodily sensations in detail, almost on a molecular level. Slowly become aware that there is a natural flow in your body without apparent influence from your mind. This flow is your natural energy flow through your body. (If you are over-weight or sick, you will feel this energy in a scattered non integrated way).
    Maintain that awareness, investigate that awareness and let the awareness guide where your mind is to follow, observing.
    Once you can positively feel and identify the flow of energy in you body raise your arms in a fashion as if you are hugging a big beach ball or tree until your arms are shoulder height, parallel to the ground, palms facing your face. Then on an in breath turn the palms to face outward (in unison) and maintain this stance while breathing naturally as prescribed previously.
    The eureka moment comes when one can recognise through ones own body knowledge the sensations as described.
    When one has the body knowledge of how to breathe, then the next step is to integrate that skill into everyday life. Eventually you begin to realise this breathing in movement.
    Thank you for letting me share this. Does anyone else have an emphasis on breathing to share?

  2. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned



    Dear Pendekars,

    Thank you for shareing, Mas Sekaralas. Breathing is a difficult thing to discuss in writting and best taught on a one to one situation but your description was instructive enough to follow if one were inclined to.

    Things about breathing in my knowledge:

    1.There are three movements in breath, the breath inhaled, held, and exhaled.

    2.The base of human breathing is 'baby breath' which is trained by relaxation through static meditation and observing the breath of babies espescially when the baby is asleep.

    3.Silat cultures plays with the three movements of breath and create energy. The right time, the right place, and the right thoughts are important when training the breath, as are the right posture and movements depending of the silat and the purpose of the breath training.

    4.Traditionally breathing exercises are very secret and many senior teachers if asked say they breathe through their ears or eyes and give you a piercing gaze of a big cat. I suspect they are just politely asking the questioner to shut-up but sometimes I just wonder is it possible? I have been seriously told that it is possible to breathe through every surface of the body.

    5. Breath is the essential movement of our life and I don't know much about it.

    Warm salaams to all,

    Kiai Carita.
  3. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

    salaams all , What a vast & important topic -we were taught that breath is amal / action - you must be responsible for each one - is it heedless or full of the love of our creator ?
    On a more subtle but overawing level we try and reach the consciousnes that we are actually the ones BEING BREATHED ...

  4. bela diri

    bela diri Valued Member

    this is what forums are for


    Thanks for information on breathing this is what the forums can be like sharing information about different aspects of our training to others. Thanks for the breathing tips guys just helps if i know that i am on the right track etc... or if we get given a different perspective.

  5. Sekaralas

    Sekaralas New Member

    Thank you for participating in this discussion :).
    The art of breathing has many methodologies and they all are intended to achieve a level of enlightenment IMO.
    This shows to me that the physical is entwined and inseparable form an individuals spiritual nature.
    Mas Sulaiman's description of higher attainment, of being breathed, is a very apt description.
    Dik Kiai, there are breathing exercises I am aware of in the Buddhist forest monk tradition of awarenes meditation, where the breath is 'drawn' from different parts of the body. While one is still using the lungs (the organ for breathing), one's consciousness is focused on a point on the body, and the awareness moves to different points as per the meditation requirements.
    I think though that it is too esoteric for me in terms of its application in the physical aspect of silat ... but who knows, maybe my understanding will open a bit more with time :).
    Bang BelaDiri, I am honoured to make your aquaintance! I agree with you that sharing this kind of information helps us as a foil to focus on our own studies. Thank you :).

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