The Art of Breathing
Tadao Ogura, M.D.
The Power of Ki
Many of the ancients believed in the existence of an essential vital force or life energy. The Japanese have called this force "Ki," the Chinese "Chi" and the Indian Yogi have called it "Prana." Even Hebrew writings have referred to a force called "Ruach" and Western scientists used to believe in an essential life force called "Ether." But despite all the writings, "Ki" remains a mysterious force.
Nevertheless, Ki is a force that can be felt, although it might not be seen. Ki can energize all mental, emotional and physical processes. It has also been known to penetrate into the "psychic" dimension of human processes and exert great healing power.
There have been amazing demonstrations by experts in Tai Chi or Nishino's Biospark method in which they were able to knock down their opponents without even touching them, solely with the directed power of their Ki energy. The demonstration is quite amazing and almost unbelievable unless you have been witness to them. Although this level of Ki power is rare, it emphasizes the fact that Ki does exist as an invisible, but tangible force.
The type of Ki described above is called "external Ki." In Japan and China, some adepts have been known to exert their external Ki to "shoot" a bird in flight down or to extend their Ki to heal others. There is also an "internal Ki" — Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Shiatsu techniques evolved to manipulate the body at designated points to "adjust the flow of Ki" that had become "obstructed" or "weakened" or "excessive." When the internal Ki is balanced and flows smoothly, the body is healthy; when the Ki is obstructed or weak, the body becomes ill.
Another popular technique that has been practiced both in the East and in the West is "Hand Healing" or "Reiki." Many ancient as well as modern people believe and even experience that human hands have a certain healing power. It seems that our hands projects an energy, similar to Ki, that stimulates or accelerates healing processes. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are many "hand healers" who practice this techniques. Obviously, these individuals have much stronger healing power or healing Ki than average people.
Whatever Ki is, it seems to have something to do with life itself. Scientists have been able to isolate and measure some aspects of Ki, but have yet to find ways to harness it. Controlled Breathing was used by the ancients to develop internal Ki, to generate it, and to harness it. You do not have to believe that Ki can shoot down a bird in mid-flight, but you should recognize that there is a life force within you that can be used to enhance your physical, mental and emotional health, and that Controlled Breathing, because of its many effects as described above, is an ideal way to generate this force, which we will call Ki.
The development of Ki, however, is an advanced aspect of Controlled Breathing, and will be discussed later.