Master Ni: On Breathing

Exhalation and inhalation in Taiji Quan is opening and closing according to a set pattern. Professor Li Yiyu has said, “Inhalation is a natural lifting up, which causes a person to rise. Exhalation is a natural sinking down, which causes a person to expel.” Inhalation is fundamentally the entrance of breath, which results in a rising (of the body). And exhalation is fundamentally an expulsion of breath, which results in a sinking of the body. Now, in the case of Taiji Quan, rising and sinking is actually the fluctuation of pre-natal pneuma. Liu Huayang’s Classic of Wind and Fire says, “When inhalation descends and exhalation rises, this (produces) none other then the Qi of the combined pneumas of the pre-natal and post-natal states. Hence, post-natal pneuma is inhaled and from this arises pre-natal pneuma. Arising (this pre-natal pneuma) ascends to Heaven (i.e. the brain) where it is acquired (i.e. integrated into the body).”

Based on this description of the rising and descending of the pre-natal pneuma, (it can be said that) it is the same as the fluctuations (of pneuma) that occur with Taiji Quan. Thus Taiji Quan is the best way to seek stillness amidst movement, and to assist in acquiring the benefits of stillness. Everyone thinks of Taiji Quan as a martial art for defeating others. How could they know about this dark mystery that is at the center of Taiji?

Cui Zhenren said. “Those who develop the pneumas of the pre and post-natal states are constantly in an inebriated–like state.”

Master Ni Fuyuan
February 2001