Spinal Cord Breathing

Spinal cord breathing is a Qigong technique that can be used as a warm up or any time you feel you need to release some stress and tension from your mind.

Benefits of spinal cord breathing.

  • Brings more awareness and flexibility to the spine
  • Brings energy out of your head and into your body resulting clearer thinking
  • Releases stress
  • Inproves the lungs
  • Opens up the heart centre and circulates energy through the nervous system
  • Great for relaxation immediately before bed to aid better sleep.
  • Allows the body to recharge and rebalance.

Spinal Cord BreathingHow to do it.

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Bring your arms up by your sides with your fists lightly clenched and facing towards the sky as if you are about to take a stretch first thing in the morning after getting out of bed.
  2. Breath in through your nose and open your arms wider (elbows still bent) allowing your heart centre to face up to the sky. Arch your back like you are taking a deeper stretch as your tail bone sticks out like a ducks back.
  3. Reverse the movement and bring your elbows together in front of your face as you exhale through your mouth. Tuck your tail bone under and round your upper back.
  4. Go back to opening up the arms and arching the back as you breath in through the nose, then reverse the movement as you breath out and round the back and neck.
  5. Repeat this for a few minutes and notice how it calms your mind and brings more flexibility to your spine and expands your lungs.

Key Points.

  • Keep your knees slightly bent through the entire exercise so you can better focus your attention on the movement of the spine.
  • Be conscious of the joints in the spine and notice the sensations of them moving together and apart from the front to the back of the spine.
  • As you open up your arms and breath in deeply you are expanding your lung capacity each time you practice this exercise. Scientists who have studied Qigong practitioners have concluded that people who practice Qigong regularly are taking in twice as much oxygen throughout the day than people who don’t practice. This leads to enhanced immune system, more physical energy, more mental alertness.

Breath Relates To Your Emotional Wellbeing.

The more you practice Qigong the more you become aware of your emotional state because your breath is one of the key feedback mecahnisms to let you know how you are feeling. When the breath is shallow and choppy, we are in a state of stress. When it is easy and deep, we are more likely to be happy and flowing with life. Most of us have actually forgotten how to breath effectively, and as a result are putting our bodies and minds under more stress than they need to be.

Activates the cerebal spinal fluid.

This exercise also helps to move spinal fluid right up into the base of the cranial area due to the activation of the cranial and sacral pump. This allows the cranial and sacral centres to find balance and have more free flowing energy up and down the spine resulting in better communication between the spinal nerves and muslces and organs in the body.

Follow along with the below video demonstration:


  • ABOUT LIZ HENNESSY

    ABOUT LIZ HENNESSY

    Yoga Instructor, Fitness Coach
    and Qigong Teacher
    In Training

  • ABOUT LIZ'S TEACHER

    ABOUT LIZ'S TEACHER

    Lee Holden
    Is A Qigong Master
    Based In The US.

    LEARN MORE

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Comments (10)

  • Avatar

    Mikael

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    have for a while been thinking about starting Qi gong or Tai Chi. Can you tell a bit about what the difference between the two are?

    This could be a great start with a few exercises at home. Will give it a try, but in the long run, I would prefer having a face to face teacher. But great with the video instruction which makes it easier to get started.

    Thanks,
    Mikael

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi Mikael, yes I think in the long run face to face instruction is ideal. But online videos will take you a long way and get you started. The problem with face to face teachers is that there are not that many of them! Qigong actually has a world wide shortage of instructors so I am diving in to become one and taking on the years of study because it fascinates me. But I began my Qigong journey because of Lee Holden’s Online Videos so I think the internet will be a very useful tool going forward for people who want to learn some Qigong but don’t have access to a local teacher.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Rick

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    Your Qigong article is superb. I like the photos that you have included plus the video so people can actually see what you are doing. This is very good for muscle relaxation and also stress relief. I will like tutorials like this where I can learn how to breathe and exercise properly. Again very long and detailed article about Qigong. Thank you for sharing

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Thanks Rick! Glad you liked it. 🙂

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Israel

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    Hi Liz!

    It’s curious how I’ve been doing this exercise without even noticing for a long time, just because it felt good after being too much time in the same position or when I was very tired.

    It looks my body energy needed breathing and circulating.

    Now I know how it’s done properly, I will practice it more often, but now on purpose and knowing what I’m doing 😉

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      HI again Israel. Good job! The body has innate wisdom in terms of what it needs and you listened to it! Most of us have stopped listening to our body.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    valval

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    This is awesome! I’ve never heard of this technique until now…and I couldn’t have found this at a better time. I’m looking for ways to relax and relieve stress (without the use of medication etc.). Maybe I can try this once in the morning and right before bed.

    I’m curious. Where does this technique originate from?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi valval, the technique is from China and is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many people have heard of acupuncture and Chinese massage, but they don’t know that Chinese medicine has an exercise component to it called Qigong (pronounced Chee Gong). I would try this technique in conjunction with Lee’s evening routine which you can check out here. 

      Reply

  • Avatar

    JReese

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    Wow!

    Such a great idea and practice! I have never heard of Oigong and am intrigued! As someone with anxiety I am always looking for ways to control and focus on my breathing. Yoga is very helpful but hard to make time for sometimes. Is this something that you would recommend to do everyday? Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi Reese, yes one of the reasons I actually prefer Qigong over yoga these days is because if the practicality of it. You can do it anywhere-you don’t need special clothing, or much space. I would recommend you do it everyday until you feel it has made a difference. Then you will just naturally want to keep doing it every day because you will keep feeling better and better. 🙂

      Reply

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