Generalmente, las técnicas especiales de respiración Shaolin eran transmitidas únicamente a los discípulos avanzados de cámara interna, pues forman parte de los secretos del cultivo de la fuerza interna. Su práctica genera un estado libre de ansiedad, de profunda tranquilidad y de plenitud total, que muchas veces se describe como “volver a asombrarse como un niño”. Son excelentes ejercicios para desarrollar la capacidad intellectual, la vitalidad general y el pleno disfrute de los sentidos.
Acerca de la respiración, Sifu dice lo siguiente:
"When an ordinary person breathes in, both good chi and bad chi flow in, but the amount of good chi is more. When he breathes out, both good chi and bad chi flow out, but the amount of bad chi is more.
This is a natural process. It is because the space around him has more good chi than bad chi. If the chi around him is bad, he would feel suffocated, and would move to another place where the surrounding chi is more pleasant.
On the other hand, due to his metabolic processes, toxic waste, which is referred to as bad chi, is produced inside his body and has to be disposed of. This is done when he breathes out.
A chi kung practitioner enhances this natural breathing process by using appropriate breathing techniques and methods, such as Abdominal Breathing and Reversed Breathing. In other words, the proportion of good chi to bad chi while breathing in, and the proportion of bad chi to good chi while breathing out are greater. Hence he is more efficient than ordinary people in this respiratory process as well as in other physiological processes.
One common and effective way to enhance these proportions is to use the mind. When you breathe in, gently think that you breathe in good chi, and when you breathe out, gently think you breathe out bad chi.
It is very important — I repeat, it is very important that this must be done gently, and that you must not intellectualize. You need not do this every time you breathe. In ten breathes, it is sufficient to think of the process gently about two or three times.
But if you do not feel confident or comfortable doing this, it is better to leave out this gentle thinking or visualizing. Just breathe in gently through your nose, and breathe out gently through your mouth.
In Abdominal Breathing, chi gently sinks into the dan tian when breathing in. In Reverse Breathing, chi gently sinks into the dan tian when breathing out. The breathing method you use in your Taijiquan training is Reverse Breathing.
This does not necessarily mean that only Reserve Breathing is used in Taijiquan. Most schools use spontaneous breathing, many schools use Reversed Breathing, some use Abdominal Breathing, and a few, like ours, use whatever mode of breathing is best for the occasion.
For example, in Wahnam Taijiquan as well as Shaolin Kungfu, when we first learn some forms, we do not worry about our breathing, we just breathe spontaneously. If we wish to conserve our energy for a long series of many movements, we use Abdominal Breathing. When we wish to strike with internal force, we use Reverse Breathing.
At advanced stage, we go back to spontaneous breathing, but this spontaneous breathing is very different from the spontaneous breathing at the beginners' stage. In the spontaneous breathing of the advanced stage, our breathing regulates itself in its best manner for the occasion."
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La mayoría de las "técnicas" de respiración, aunque se denominen "técnicas", son destrezas. Una destreza, como "Sonreír del Corazón" o "Generar Flujo de Qi" no tiene receta, procedimiento o protocolo externo, replicable a través de una explicación escrita, de un manual o de un video. Las destrezas deben ser "transmitidas" por un instructor calificado o por un maestro, de manera que al practicante le "queden grabadas". Esto se llama “Transmisión de Corazón a Corazón” (Heart-to-Heart Transmission).
Sifu escribe lo siguiente acerca de este tema:
"This story is a good illustration of heart to heart transmission, and my explanation here will be very useful to perceptive students, especially those in our school. Bodhidharma was an excellent teacher, and Hui Ke an excellent student. Bodhidharma, after having trained Hui Ke in the preliminaries, grasped just the right moment to ask Hui Ke bring out his mind. Had Hui Ke attempted to be intellectual, as many modern Western students do, and asked his teacher or himself such questions like “What is mind?” or “Why must I bring out my mind?”, he would have missed the golden opportunity. Instead, as an excellent student he was, he just did what his teacher said, and attained enlightenment.
Such occasions happened quite frequently in our training, albeit at a much lower level. At the right moment in chi kung training, for example, I might ask a student to relax. A foolish student might retort, “But I am relaxed” or ask “How do you relax?”, and missed the opportunity. A good student would just do what I said and attained an energy break-through. In Standing Meditation, I might ask a student to just let go. A foolish student might ask me or himelf how to let go and missed the opportunity. A good student would just do what I said and attained a sense of immense peace and spiritual expansion..."