To reach your full potential as a stick-fighting martial arts practitioner, you should start by training your mind. One of the ways to complete this task is by way of sitting meditation. With meditation, your awareness, concentration, calm and will increase. Each of these is all very vital aspects of arnis martial arts.
Without awareness, you won't be able to fight without getting killed or hit. Without focus, you won't be able to get the right opening to defend or strike, which may be disastrous. And without calmness, you won't be able to relax or focus. If you don't relax, you'll burn out fast.
4 Unique Eskrima Workout to Build Arm Muscle Strength
You're just ten minutes away from strong, well-conditioned arms. Begin workout here!
You should learn how to control your energy, referred to as the body's “Qi” so it won't disperse unused. You can also activate more of your energy when it's necessary. All of these benefits can be acquired through “embryonic breathing,” which is a meditation type we will focus on this article.
The Embryonic Breathing Theory
To know about the embryonic breathing concept, you need to understand the body's fundamental energy system.
The human body has two polarities- one is located in the brain, the other one resides in the abdominal region. The latter is known as the real “lower Dantian,” whereas the former is called the “upper Dantian.” There's another one located in the celiac plexus area, however, not discussed in this article.
The lower Dantian is the whole body's battery. It is located in the abdominal region. The abdomen's structure permits Qi to be kept to a huge level, and from there, it will supply the entire body.
The upper Dantian resides in the limbic system found between the ears. A few Qi Gong practitioners think that this is where the spirit and one's true self lives.
The upper and lower Dantian are linked through the spinal cord. The communication happens here since the spinal cord has material that's greatly conducive to Qi. This permits both brains to function as one. They are two physically, but one in action.
Yin and Yang
The Donations' energy consists of two polarities: the lower one is the Yang side while the upper one is the Yin side. Both polarities control the entire energy system of the human body.
The Yang side contributes to the quantity, and the Yin side contributes to the quality. The energy's quality will enhance as the practitioner knows how to concentrate better. On the other hand, it isn't a job that can be done because there are infinite levels of concentration.
Through practice only can you try to get a level of concentration where outside diversions won't register. To increase the quantity, you need to prime the lower Dantian. For more details, please check the book “Qigong, The Secret of Youth—Da Mo's Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Classics,” by the author Yang, Jwing-Ming.
The entire abdomen area is known as the “false Dantian” and can save energy to some level, but once it's full, this energy stored will be spread and consumed. The stored energy there is attributable to fat conversion, which occurs as our abdomens move, in reverse or normal abdominal breathing (discussed later).
About 1.5 inches below the belly button, there's a cavity called Qihai or false Dantian. Through this cavity, one may lead Qi out and into of the real lower Dantian.
The Mind and Semi-sleeping State
The Chinese rely on their belief that humans have two types of minds.
The first one is called Yi while the other is known as Xin. Yi is steady as a horse and represents wisdom. And Xin is like the monkey, symbolizing the emotional mind. To soothe the emotional mind, one should concentrate on one's breathing.
The semi-sleeping state is a vital aspect of meditation. Once we arrive at such state, the subconscious mind begins to awaken. The conscious mind control will get thinner and thinner. As soon as you meditate a moment or two, you could experience the emergence of feelings like sorrow or anger.
Those emotions are almost certainly trapped feelings from the past, which you must be released.
In spite of this, a semi-sleeping state is a form in which one can best focus. When an individual is in the state of consciousness, our mind registers numerous things and gets sidetracked by the outside world. When we get to the semi-sleeping state, the distractions from the world outside will fade away.
It certainly isn't easy to maintain the semi-sleeping state and not to fall into the actual sleeping state. With regular practice, you'll know how to do so.
As one inhales, the belly pushes out, and the diaphragm drops down. The Huiyin found between the testicles and the anus (basically the perineum), pushes out as well. As one exhales, the belly withdraws while the diaphragm moves back up so as to breathe out. The Huiyin lightly pulls in as well.
Normal Abdominal Breathing
This breathing method is mostly utilized for the purpose of relaxation and is an extremely familiar and natural way to respire. Instinctively, babies utilize abdominal breathing. On the other hand, most individuals develop the practice of breathing with their ribcage as they mature.
Reverse Abdominal Breathing
This type breathing is opposite to the normal abdominal breathing. As you breathe in, the abdomen and Huiyin draw in. As you breathe out, the abdomen and Huiyin push out. This breathing technique helps to build and lead Qi more proficiently and must be utilized during meditation.
Reverse abdominal breathing usually happens naturally, like when crying or laughing. Moreover, reverse abdominal breathing aids to energize your muscles to a much higher level. Thus, it also happens without thought when strength or power is required, for instance, when you're pushing heavy stuff.
This type of breathing is the basis for many types of Qigong and meditation exercises. Please bear in mind that it's very vital to establish an excellent foundation before moving onto any new exercises. If you like to become proficient in embryonic breathing, you need to practice the reverse and normal abdominal breathing methods.
Embryonic breathing itself is essentially an exercise in the reverse abdominal breathing with the mind put into the lower Dantian. Discussed below is a step-by-step approach. Once the mind is put into the center, the energy is stored there, because the Qi and mind are linked.
How does Meditation Work?
To acquire a better understanding of meditation, one needs time to practice. To succeed, you have to be persistent and have patience.
If you'd like to begin meditating, think about your schedule. It's best to meditate at the same hour every day. This will create a routine, making it easier to settle the mind faster.
Embryonic breathing may be practiced in nearly any position. At many centers, they want to be seated on a cushion, with legs crossed. This is useful in this position; we'll do more exercises. You could choose to lay down or sit on a chair. In embryonic breathing, the initial step is to relax the emotional mind.
To do this, focus on breathing as well as relaxing the body. In the start, one could get distracted, thinking about other matters instead of concentrating on breathing. If distracted, just bring the mind back to breathing. It may take time until one feels comfortable with focusing inward and forcing outside thoughts away.
Finding the Center
The following step is to locate the body's center. To do this task, picture the area you'd like to find. First, I'll talk about how you can locate the upper Dantian. Extend the inhale and reduce the exhale. This will result in the energy condensing into the center, allowing you feel your center easily.
To aid yourself locate the center, cover your ears with your hands which will ensure that the energy does not disperse.
Once you've located the upper center, attempt to locate the lower center. To locate your lower Dantian, you should be comfortable with reverse or normal abdominal breathing. Focus on how the frontal portion of your abdomen is expanding, as well as how it contracts back.
Now focus on the front and the back all at once. After some time, you will locate the center with no further problems.
Once you've found the two centers, you need to synchronize them, which means that they will shrink and expand all at once. It may take some months to achieve this. However, when you can achieve this state, put the energy down, that's from upper to the lower Dantian. As you breathe in, you put the energy down.
And as you breathe out, you go on with your mind. Repeat numerous times until you're able to remain your mind entirely in the lower Dantian. In embryonic breathing, you have to remain with the mind within the lower Dantian while doing a reverse abdominal breathing. Consequently, fat will be transformed into energy deposited in the lower Dantian.
Through proper embryonic breathing, you will know how to control the energy in your body. As you breathe out, the energy will be used. As you breathe in, the energy is pulled inwards to the center. It's recommended to breathe in longer than breath out in the summer and spring seasons since these are the times when the energy of the body is strong.
This is the “Yin” version. A longer breathe out than breath in is the “Yang” version, and it needs to be done in the winter and autumn to aid the body in fighting against sickness.
Benefits Gained Thru Meditation
As you advance, you'll naturally begin to breathe into the abdomen. This will have a massive effect on your overall health. As you breathe in, the diaphragm drops down, which slightly massages the organs below it, particularly the spleen, liver, and kidneys.
The kidneys secrete hormones, and with the massage, the secretion will go up. These hormones produced are a biocatalyst which aids the chemical processes within the body; ensuring that they operate more smoothly. As people age, the hormone secretion reduces; therefore, it's vital to keep the production of hormone at a precise level.
Through smooth, relaxed, and proper breathing, you will inhale lots of oxygen. This will guarantee that the trainee has a faster metabolism. Only with oxygen are we able to convert food into energy. Thus, it is very crucial to build up the correct breathing habits.
Additionally, you'll learn how to control your energy. Through the correct breathing technique, you can manifest energy or keep it in the center as well as within the bone marrow. That is why energy is stored when there's an abundance of it, and manifest it when it's necessary.
With meditation, the mind relaxes and becomes focused. This is important because the focus is required for every task we encounter each day. It aids in solving them thoroughly and efficiently. You'll find an answer to a problem sooner when you're calm and focused, instead of when you're agitated and distracted.
We frequently read that our lives will get easier through meditation. This is partially true. Meditation requires diligence, and it needs a great amount of self-control. It will carry you to where you encounter your real self, and this isn't an easy task.
I think that one of the reasons we have a lot of things that keep us busy is because we do not want to look into our internal selves. Nobody wants to look in front of a mirror and look at all the imperfections you have. However, this is one way we could evolve.
As one meditates, emotions are felt coming up for no apparent reason. Those feelings are the ones we hold back. The one way to handle them is to release them. Mediation can be an incredibly powerful instrument in one's life for the improvement of one's mental wellbeing and physical health.