Qigong Breathing: Open Close Method

Qigong Breathing Open Close Method is an ancient system of chi (vital energy) cultivation. It combines a highly evolved, exact method of breathing with pure relaxation and the use of your intention to systematically heal many forms of chronic illness, injuries, and pain.

Intention is the key!

This ancient method of breathing intends to focus your mind fully to open (expand) and close (contract) (ie- Kai He) the whole body in general, and specifically the skeletal joints, vertebral column, soft tissues, blood vessels, organs, and glands.

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This will affect the circulation of qi (chi – vital energy) and blood to the focused part of the body, as well as open and close (ie – “pulse”) the area.

Although there is no outside physical movement or muscular contraction during this method (you are in a relaxed sitting position absolutely still), you will open and close the tissues with your mind/intention through visualization.

Benefits of the qigong breathing method

This method offers many benefits for both health and healing, and building power for martial arts. It is especially beneficial for people with joint injuries and arthritis, but not limited to the skeletal structure.

Once learned properly and practiced regularly, it can be used to relieve/reverse/heal many types of chronic pain or degenerative conditions.

This increases the Qi and blood circulation and acts to pump fresh synovial fluid back into the joint spaces, hence reversing/healing degenerative joints and the “normal” aging process!

Part 1: Breathing method

Below I will explain the complete breathing method step by step. During the learning process, take your time and focus on one step at a time, until you can execute it smoothly and easily before going on to the next step.

Each step explained below is done with Yi (intention) not Li (external brute force).

  1. Stand in shoulder width parallel stance, body straight but relaxed.
  2. Cross the center of your palms (Laogong points) directly over a point approximately 2 inches below your navel (Qihai). Men place your left hand first and the right hand on top. Women place your right hand first and the left hand on top of it. (This is because the left hand is Yang and the right hand is Yin – it is an energetic connection, so place the dominant hand first).
  3. Relax!
  4. Inhale and contract your belly towards your spine gently. At the same time, very gently contract the anal sphincter muscles and lift up.
  5. Exhale and expand your belly away from your spine gently. At the same time, relax the anal sphincter muscle and sink down.
  6. Practice this for a while until it is smooth and comfortable without any strain.
  7. Next, imagine your entire waist (front, back, and sides) as an inner tube (all the way around). Inhale and contract your belly, low back, and sides all together, towards your spine gently. (This is an extension of # 3 above – you want the entire waist area to contract towards your spine).
  8. When you exhale, expand your belly, low back, and sides all together, away from your spine. (Extension of #4 above).
  9. Next, when you inhale, imagine every pore on your skin absorbing Qi and taking it into the Dantian (area approximately 2 inches below your navel in the center of your body).
  10. When you exhale, imagine expelling/emitting Qi from the Dantian out every pore on your skin and out of your body.
  11. Next, when you inhale, imagine every pore on your skin absorbing Qi into the center of your bones.
    When you exhale, imagine the Qi from the center of your bones emitted out every pore on your skin.

This is the complete Breathing Method. Practice this for a while until it is smooth and comfortable, and without strain. Make sure not to puff up your chest at anytime, but rather keep it relaxed.

When you feel comfortable with this breathing method, then go on to Part 2, the Open Close Method.

Part 2: Open close method

Below I will explain the complete open close method step by step.  Again I want to remind you to take one step at a time until it is smooth and easy before going on to the next step.

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair (sits bones on the edge), feet shoulder width and parallel.  Back straight but relaxed – Bai Hui (uppermost point on the top of your head) feels as if it is suspended from above.  Rest your palms on your knees and let your elbows feel heavy (fangsong). Relax.
  2. Inhale (use the same breathing method as in Part 1 above) and imagine/visualize your entire body “shrinking” /getting smaller towards your Dantian.
  3. Exhale and imagine/visualize your entire body expanding out /getting bigger in all directions from your Dantian.  All of this is done with intention, not force. There is no outside movement and no physical tension while practicing this.
    Practice this for a while until it is smooth and comfortable and without strain…
  4. Next, focus your full intention (Yi) on your right wrist.
    Inhale and imagine/visualize your right wrist joint “shrinking”/getting smaller (the bones in your wrist contracting towards each other).
  5. Exhale and imagine/visualize your right wrist joint getting bigger (the bones in your wrist expanding away from each other). Remember: No tension or muscle contraction. Your body remains completely relaxed.
  6. Practice this for a while until it is smooth and comfortable and without strain…
  7. Once you can feel your right wrist “pulsing” open and close, then do the same with your left wrist.
  8. Once you can feel your left wrist “pulsing”, then practice with each joint in your body individually until you feel the same “pulsing” action – the joint will literally feel as if it is opening and closing!

This is the complete method of Kai He Qigong breathing method.  Practice for a while until you can “pulse” – open and close any joint in your body just by focusing your Yi.

Next, expand this to any part of your body. If you strain a muscle, open and close it.  If you stub your toe, pulse it!  Its really that easy!  It just requires some time and effort to practice using the Yi!

Try this for a while, a little each day.  A few minutes is enough at first.  When your mind can no longer focus, take a break, and come back to it later.

Important: If you do not feel this pulsing right away, don’t worry or give up.  Continue to practice – it will come with regular practice and time.

If you have any questions or find some difficulty, please feel free to contact me at chenti@mac.com.

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