Ikiai - Breathing · Image Training · Kyudo

Max Belly Breathing

So here’s some new revelations for breathing methods in kyudo.

Perhaps there are various types and timings of breathing. This is one I was recently told about and am trying.

As I inhale while turning my head to the target I inhale big, then inhale further sticking out my belly as much as possible while raising the bow above me in the uchiokoshi posture. At that point I have completely exhaled and my belly is fully expanded.

Until now I’ve usually inhaled while contracting my belly moving into the daisan posture, but now I’m trying to maintain my expanded belly if not expand even more with the inhale. I reach daisan and exhale again releasing all my breath, expanding my belly further again.

I then move into the draw where I would again usually inhale while contracting my belly, but instead, this time I expand my belly even further with the inhale while lowering my arms into the draw.

At about eye level I begin to exhale, again further expanding my belly, where I continue to do so throughout the release only until my arrow has reached something solid and my right arm is out to the side. Then afterwards I will finally forget about any expanding, inhale naturally, and exhale while lowering the bow in yudaoshi.

What’s so special about this?

We’re always expanding our bellies, never retreating, regardless of inhale our exhale.

-It feels like and seems like we would run out of room, but from my small experience so far such does not seem the case. The expansion becomes smaller as the space in my belly fills up, but it does not stop expanding. I can feel a strange tension in my belly, which makes me feel like a giant bell.

-Amid this breathing, I feel a great stability in my lower body, and forget about putting unnecessary tension in my hands and upper body.

-I also feel a great patience, infinitely expanding from my belly, forgetting anything else while my full draw magically comes to its full eight second count until the release.

-The release feels balanced and effortless with my arms extending out to the sides.

-I don’t blink at the release and can feel my energy only extending like it should, instead of yurumu-ing (letting up the pressure at the last critical moment).

-The clarity I find with this breathing has also allowed me to improve my recent problems with my tenouchi.

It’s almost as if I finally realize the analogy of the balloon expanding expanding expanding until it finally bursts, one of the most important images in kyudo.

This is all speaking ideally though of course. I have felt all of these things at different times while putting it to practice, but does not happen every time all the time. I’m not sure how it will work out, but I am going to keep trying this method. It feels completely different from anything I’ve done before, like a small revolution in my practice.

More time.

More arrows.

All inside the great fiery foundry within.

I wonder what kind of weapon will be drawn forth.

 

 

 

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