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Yoga Question

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Dairyland diver
Apr 7, 2001
I froze my butt off spearfishing all day Friday and it snowed last night. I guess that means the freedive season is drawing to a close in Wisconsin.:waterwork
During the coming winter a was thinking about geting into yoga on a more serious level. I have done basic classes with the ymca in the past, but I am looking to do a bit more with it now.
For those of you that practice yoga to improve your freediving capabilities, what style do you practice? There are a bunch of different yoga centers in town and they offer many different styles from which to choose. Instead of trying all of them out on my own, I figured that I would let someone else do the research for me.:D
So, what is your favorite style??

I think that the Yoga I practice is Hatha Yoga... I do it twice a week with a Yoga Master, and I learn Asanas, Pranayama (Very important for the freediver) and relaxation techniques... The most important thing is that you can learn Pranayama in any Yoga form.
Hello to all,

When I first began to take seriously freediving training in 2000 I started with yoga. After one year of practice Hata Yoga, I tried Qi Gong and since then.

To me, Qi Gong is the real thing. It is the respiratory basis of all the martial arts you may know and the santa sanctorum of the Qi Gong it is the shaoling temple in China. It is not only breathing techniques but also, respiratory control and respiratory muscles exercise, besides mental control.

I really encourages the people to try Qi Gong since it really works and to me, was even easier to get the feeling of its techniques than the yoga ones.

Take care and good dives,

Juan Llantada "Joantxo"

Do you have any good links or books on Qi Gong?
I tried doing a search on it in my area and came up with a little bit of information.
Does anyone esle practice this?
I thought that I read one of Eric F.'s posts where he stated that he practiced it- or I could be scrambeling posts together in my head.:confused:

Qi gong (or Chi Gong, ot however you know it) means "working with Qi", Qi is energy, as I understood, almost any form of spiritual working might be considered as Qi gong. I read about it after I read that the Falon gong/Falon dafa (The spiritual movment that is Being persecuted in Chaina) are practicing Qi gong.

I also discovered latly that there is a thing called 'Watsu' (water Shiatsu), it was invented by some american a few decades ago. But I'm not sure if it's only for Therapy or also for practicing. Maybe some1 else here knows more about it.

I have found chi-gong to be very helpful for diving. The only problems are
1) It takes so bloody long (2-3 hours at least)
2) If I do it before bed, I sleep extremely poorly (too much energy, can't lie still)

The best books are:
1. QiGong Empowerment (by Grand Master Shou Yu Liang -- for advanced chi-gong practitioners)
2. The Empty Force (Paul Dong -- this book describes [among other things] how to knock people down from a distance, but you need to practice for at least 5 years)
3. The Way of Energy (can't remember author -- this is the best books for beginners)

The core of all chi-gong is zhan zhuang (standing meditation). In its purest form, you stand with arms extended, legs slightly bent, for 1-2 hours, motionless, preferably outside, near a large old tree, or by a waterfall. The idea is to accumulate 'chi' into the dan-tian by doing this. However, given that the masters recommend locations where lots of negative ions are present, I think you are actually accumulating negative ions in the body and storing them in a 'biocapacitor' somewhere along the lower spine. The strange thing is that after 1.5 hours of zhan zhuang, you can hold your breath forever! In fact the masters say the exercise 'lowers oxygen consumption.'

(This exercise requires very specific warm up & cool down routines, so please read the books).

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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QiGong vs. yoga

It sounds interesting, but how does it compare to yoga. I was originally thinking about exercises to make my rib cage more flexible and possibly increase my lung capacity. I had never thought about gathering ions to lower 02 consumpition before.
Is it that much better than yoga, or does it just work your body differently than yoga? :confused:
If you do yoga also, what form do you practice? I know that Pranayama is all aobut the breath, but it seems like there are a half dozen different styles being taught where I live right now.
I am mainly looking to relax and freedive. Taking someone out with martial arts is not really on my "top 10" list of things to do.
Chi-gong vs. Yoga

I can offer a comparison of the most powerful exercise of each discipline, i.e. zhan zhuang vs. pranayama.

First of all, each one only gives significant benefits if practiced for a significant amount of time per day. With pranayama, good benefits begin once you start practicing for 30 minutes per day. For zhan zhuang, 30 minutes is also good, but you really need 45-90 minutes for maximum effect. I have done pranayama for up to 60 minutes per day, and do notice that it helps me more than 30 minutes per day, but in general I think that pranayama works faster than zhan zhuang, minute for minute, also mainly because pranayama does not require long warm up and cool down routines -- for 30 minute zhan-zhuang sessions you're looking at 15 minutes of warm up and 15 minutes of cool down, making time a real issue, especially since you really need 45 minutes of standing at least.

The following is from MY OWN experience and does not necessarily apply to others:

benefits of pranayama, if practiced at > 10:40:20 for > 30min per day:
- Increased vital capacity with and without packing
- Decreased residual volume (i.e. deeper equalizing)
- Increased CO2 tolerance
- Moderately improved breath-hold ability
- Improved immune system (this is the main benefit)
- Decreased mental noise (i.e. meditation effect)
- Possible negative effect: blood pressure decreases significantly after extended practice, which further increases static apnea but might cause premature blackouts in the ocean
- If you can do 16:64:32 for 10 hours per day for 3 months, according to the yogis you should be able to do 13min+ breath holds
- Benefits begin only days after you start
- Maximum benefit requires praticing with back straight, sitting in half-lotus or lotus position

benefits of chi-gong (zhan-zhuang), if practiced for > 45 min per day, with 15min warm up and 15 min cool down
- No effect on lung capacity, residual volume or CO2 tolerance
- Massive decrease in neuromuscular tension (i.e. muscles at rest are more relaxed and consume less O2)
- Increased dive times, increased breath-holds, especially if breath-holding or diving is done within 24 hours of zhan-zhuang
- Struggle phase of breath-hold feels much more enjoyable
- Improved immune system
- Massively decreased mental noise (if practiced excessively it leads to the 'hermit syndrome' where all you want to do is be a hermit!)
- Must be done outside for real benefit
- Can't sleep well if done in evening
- Benefits can take up to 2 months to start showing up

I once did an experiment where I did 60 minutes of pranayama, and then tried doing statics after. I also tried doing 1.5h of zhan-zhuang and also did statics. I did this several times, back and forth, over several days. After the pranayama I could always hit 6:00-6:05, but no more. After zhan-zhuang I could always hit 6:22-6:26, and it felt very pleasant. Also, diving the day after chi-gong would always result in good dives. In fact, most of my static pb's were done immediately after chi-gong. The main problem with zhan-zhuang chi-gong is that you must do it early in the morning, or at latest mid-day, or else you can't sleep (this does not apply to other types of chi-gong where you perform breathing and/or movement exercises).

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Extra comment

A big problem with pranayama is that you must have clear nostrils to do it, which I often don't have.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

Thanks Eric!

Once again you prove that you are the "man in the know".:D

You really do need to put this altogether in a book one day.;)

Would the books on Qi Gon be enough to get me started, or should I first seek out a teacher?

The local yoga teachers offer Birkrahm, Hatha, and Asthanga yoga (I know that I probably didn't spell them correctly, but I am in a hurry this morning) which one of these would be most fitting with the goals of freediving?:confused:

Re: Extra comment

Originally posted by efattah
A big problem with pranayama is that you must have clear nostrils to do it, which I often don't have.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

I'm sure you know this. You need to do this yoga exercise to have clear nostrils:

place your index finger against one nostril closing that nostril. exhale through the open nostril. place your index finger on the other nostril closing that nostril. Now inhale through the open nostril. close that nostril with your index finger. exhale through the open nostril. inhale through the open nostril. close that nostril. repeat alternating each nostrile: for example, exhale left nostril, inhale left nostril, exhale right nostril inhale right nostril.

The idea is to alternate exhaling and inhaling from each of the nostrils.

As I'm sure you know the we basically have two noses in one structure. You must also have noticed that at various times of the day one or the other nostril is open and the other is usually closed.

This exercise, unless you have broken your nose, will result in both nostrils being clear for breathing. It is supposed to be a relaxation technique. Ideally you inhale for one count hold for one to three counts and exhale for three counts.
The exercise you describe can only be done with clear nostrils. If your left nostril is blocked, how can you breathe through it?

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Thats the point - this exercise forces you the nostril to open. Even when a nostril is blocked at least a very small amount of air can be forced through it. This tells the nostril to open up. So the first time it is a little tough to exhale through the blocked nostril, but inhaling through it will already be a little easier. The second time exhaling is a little easier and inhaling gets even easier. Eventually - say 10 to 30 repetitions - the nostril is fully opened.

Another useful exercise is washing out the nostrils. I never used salt water but that is actually what is recommended. By aspirating water into the nostril dust and crud are cleaned out.

Another way to open the nostrils - and I'm not joking - is hot chili peppers. That takes some getting used to though.

Similarly, dairy products generate mucous tending to block the respiratory system.

The best thing I can say about this exercise is: try it! You can actually learn to close and open the nostrils (well, I have) without even using your index finger.

Now if I can just figure out how to absorb 02 from water... I tried breathing pool water today. My instinct after inspirating was "swallow". It did not seem to help or hurt. Similarly with swallowing oxygen into my stomach: it did not hurt my performance (lung capacity was not affected though bouyancy was) and might have helped. Though of course if anyone knows about 02 absorption through the stomach I am all ears.
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When a nostril is really blocked, no amount of air can be forced through it. If you can force even a tiny amount of air through it, then the nostril isn't blocked.

I guess we are talking about different things.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
How do you mean blocked? Blocked by what?

By an injury to the nose? Or by mucous?

If its blocked by an injury I am not sure if anything can be done. I had a girlfriend who had a broken nose and had to help her breathe through the injured nostril. But her breathing was affected by the environment, i.e. when it was polluted it was much much worse. Were I still with her I would do the experiment.

Please explain what you mean by blocked? Exact questions get exact answers.
Well, what about Jala Neti to with salted water to clear the nostrils of mucus?

Sounds like you have already considered it hehe
Originally posted by naiad
:confused: !?!

How? Why?


Coz turtles can breath water and air and because I have seen no proof that it is impossible to absorb 02 from water.

I find it odd that water in the lungs = serious injury and water in the nose = no problem. Doesn't seem like a design flaw.

So, yeah, as I have said in several threads I am looking for any evidence either way regarding 02 absorption from water via the nose.
I was unaware that a turtle could breath water and absorb 02. I have always seen turtles breath at the surface. I have seen incidents where turtles get disoriented in caves and drown or drown on fishing lines. Is this a particular species of turtle?


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