Ancient Taoists had several major areas of interest that include developing higher states of consciousness, seeking the greatest human potential, and a partnership with nature to reach incredible lengths of longevity in both happiness and good health.
Combining the (expanded) mind with the (spirit – inspiration) breath and (potentiated) body, practices such as Taoist Bone Breathing were born. On the surface they appear too simple to garner much attention, but to those who understood their hidden secrets, they were valued more than 1000 pieces of gold.
The Taoists understood that the human skeleton has special properties that last beyond death as the rest of the body decays. What is so special about our bones?
Bones have a crystalline microstructure and the Taoists saw that this both absorbed and transmitted energies like a communication tool, both with the Earth and the Cosmos.
Because of our skeleton, we are like a walking antenna that receives and broadcasts information with energy frequencies that travel through our Qi pathways, our internal organs, and every cell inside of us. We communicate with everything, constantly, while we are alive.
Even our science today is studying the natural piezoelectric activity of bones and the relevance to regenerating bones such as those damaged from osteoporosis. We know that this piezoelectric charge activates so many cellular responses that it is still beyond our comprehension:
“ Bone has piezoelectric properties because of the highly oriented and patterned structure of collagen, and collagen’s ability to respond to mechanical loads. When a shearing force is applied to collagen fibers and they slip past each other, a piezoelectric charge is generated.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8742263)
Our bones are filled with marrow, a substance called Jing (our essence), which is energetically involved with the rate of our aging process. As our bones decline we age faster. Yet what if we could keep our bones strong, filled with marrow/Jing, and extend the rate of aging? And beyond aging, how strong of an antenna can we become? How much more beyond our normal circumstances could we perceive and experience?
Hence the practice of Taoist Bone Breathing was formed. Bone breathing starts as a general connection to Source, and with more experience is refined as a means of absorbing the subtle energies of trees and other plants, bodies of water, sun, moon and stars.
Bone Breathing is used to help regenerate the gradual loss of bone marrow and bone density over time, to rejuvenate the blood, immune system, and reduce stress. It increases the production of red and white blood cells, enhances sexual energy, and improves both Qi and blood flow to areas that need healing.
When done correctly and consistently, it is said that this technique leaves the practitioner nearly invulnerable to disease.
We use what is called the “Subtle Breath” which is different from normal breathing. Imagine that you can breathe through all the pores of your skin as your very slow, soft breath absorbs Universal Qi from every direction, and your focused mind guides the Qi where you want it to go – in this case, the bones.
“This simple action activates a very powerful law of energy that states that any place in our bodies we focus our attention a flow of energy is generated in that direction. For example, by moving our attention from the tip of the index finger to the wrist over and over again, warmth, tingling, heaviness or a subtle vibration of the finger may be experienced.”
Taoists also believe that focus infused with “feeling” is crucial. If there is no feeling, the practice easily becomes nothing more than a mental exercise. It’s important to really imagine that you “feel” where you are guiding your breath. There are many ways to sense this, and with intention you will find one that works for you.
STEP BY STEP
- Find a comfortable position with your hands soft, fingers stretched open yet still relaxed.
- Take a few deep cleansing breaths, then soften your breath and imagine all of the Universal Qi that surrounds you.
- Bring your attention to your fingertips on your left hand. Use your Subtle Breath. Imagine your inhale begins to draw energy into your fingertips, then into all the bones of your fingers. Exhale the energy back to your fingertips. Play with this image/breath flowing back and forth along your finger bones several times until you begin to “feel” it, then focus on that feeling.
- Next, continue the breath from your finger bones into the bones of your hand and up into your wrists. Play with the Qi, going back and forth until the feeling stabilizes.
- Continue this pattern up along the bones in your forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder. Visualize that your bones are like a sponge soaking in as much Universal Qi as you comfortably can.
- Repeat with the right hand. When you can do both hands and arms together, add in across the collar bones and infuse the ribs and sternum.
- Now begin the same process with your toes, feet, ankles, legs, hips, pelvic bones. Then breathe Qi up and down your spine until it tingles. At this point guide it up your neck to your head and infuse your entire skull and teeth with Qi.
- Lastly, breath Qi into your whole body for 9 subtle breaths. Then end by focusing on your Dan Tian with 3 breaths to lock in the Qi you have absorbed.
PRACTICE TIP: When you first start doing this QiGong, only do as much as you can focus on and feel. When your mind begins to wander, stop. Then go a little farther tomorrow. It usually takes some time (if you still believe in time) to build up to the entire sequence. That’s ok.