Excerpted from the book Power Breathing by Sang H. Kim
Comparison of Power Breathing, Lung Breathing and Diaphragm Breathing
When you expand your lungs, air from outside rushes in to fill the void. This is a natural phenomenon of stabilizing an imbalance of pressure in the chest cavity.
In Power Breathing, you deliberately create this phenomenon by expanding the muscles of the lower abdomen. When you expand your lower abdomen, the diaphragm automatically moves downward creating more space for your lungs and this expansion pulls air into your lungs. When your lungs are fi lled, hold your breath for a moment and condense it downward. Once your lower abdomen is fully expanded, it naturally bounces back. All you need to do is slowly let it go (Gentle Breathing); tighten the muscles and intensify the force (Power Breathing); or move mindfully according to the position of your diaphragm (Healing Breathing).
The more air you pull in, the more power you can generate. The harder you condense the air, the more forceful the release is; thus it is called Power Breathing.
What happens: As you inhale during lung breathing, the lungs enlarge and the belly is tucked in. A flat belly looks good but what happens inside the body is not a good thing. Instead of making the thoracic (chest) cavity larger vertically so that the lungs expand downward, the lungs are forced to expand forward. (The lungs cannot expand to the rear, toward the spine, or upward toward the clavicle.) In lung breathing the lungs and the diaphragm are forced to move unnaturally, resulting in shallow breathing.
- The lungs are forced to expand forward instead of downward.
- The diaphragm is constricted and has nowhere to go to.
- Breathing becomes short and shallow.
- Less than maximum intake of oxygen into the blood stream.
What happens: As you expand the lower belly, the abdominopelvic cavity becomes larger and the diaphragm naturally drops, creating space in the thoracic (chest) cavity which allows the lungs to expand downward. Air then enters through the nostrils and trachea, into the lungs in the enlarged thoracic vacuum. In diaphragm breathing, the diaphragm descends downward further than in lung breathing, bringing more oxygen into the body.
What happens: In Power Breathing, you take diaphragm breathing one step further. At completion of inhalation, when the belly muscles expand and the diaphragm descends, you hold the breath momentarily and tense all of the core muscles. Imagine a ball of energy forming and with active visualization, hold the ball and compress it downward by tensing your inner muscles. This is called the condensing stage, a breathing stage unique to Power Breathing.
POWER BREATHING: HOW IT WORKS
Power Breathing is an organic dynamic purposeful breathing method to generate optimal inner force for maximum circulation in the body. The goals of Power Breathing are to supply abundant oxygen to the cells and remove toxins from the body while strengthening the core muscles and increasing breathing capacity.
Broadly speaking, Power Breathing is a forced gas exchange between two spaces: the external environment and the body. The exchange takes place by diffusion: air moves in from a high concentration space to a lower concentration space. As this happens, our body uptakes fresh oxygen through inhalation and discharges toxic wastes through exhalation. This facilitates a constant circulation and renewal of life energy. Once the oxygen enters the body, it enters into the bloodstream and travels to the cells riding in hemoglobin. Power Breathing plays two significant roles in this process. One, by condensing, Power Breathing increases the inner force which accelerates circulation. Two, through regulation of the exhalation speed, Power Breathing holds air in the lungs longer, allowing the body to absorb more oxygen.
Physiologically, Power Breathing is a holistic strengthening exercise for the inner muscles and organs. It maximizes blood and oxygen flow, raises the body temperature, and restores inner power. Physically, Power Breathing is a transformation of infinite ambient air into a finite controllable energy form to increase the vitality in the body.