Abdominal Breathing (Tanden Breathing)
In a sense, most of us breathe incorrectly. Even when someone tells you to take a deep breath, you probably only inhale into the upper part of your lungs. This does not allow your body to get the maximum amount of oxygen into your lungs. The basic breathing technique comes from abdominal breathing. Abdominal breathing is called “Tanden breathing” in Zen Yoga. The Tanden is a psychic center of the body and central to the secret techniques for all Oriental martial arts. When you develop your Tanden, you tap into a source of great power.
Remember that your mind and your breathing are always directly related to each other. Usually when you are calm and relaxed, your breathing is very deep and slow. When you are confused, “freaked out”, or upset, your breath is shallow and fast.
Everyone actually breathes properly at certain times:
In deep sleep you are unconsciously doing deep abdominal breathing
In meditation and yoga we learn to breathe properly
Directions for Tanden breathing:
When you inhale, your stomach/abdomen goes out
When you exhale, your stomach/abdomen goes in
Always try to make the exhale longer than the inhale for best results. Abdominal breathing is easy to master and is the fundamental technique for all forms of meditation, yoga, martial arts, and spiritual practices. So everyone should make an effort to master this type of breathing. By correcting your breath (making it deep and slow), you can make your mind steady and relaxed. You can practice this wherever you are, at any time except right after eating or in heavily polluted air. Just as blood removes impurities from the body, proper deep breathing removes impurities from the blood, mind and spirit. Regulating our breath balances our entire lives.