from Chapter 2
Bone Breathing and Bone Compression
There are many health benefits to Bone Breathing and Bone Compression. These techniques can be used independently of the other Bone Marrow Nei Kung exercises. They can be practiced anywhere, even while riding on a bus or waiting on line, as long as there are no serious distractions. They help to remove fat from the bone marrow and create space for the marrow to grow, thereby increasing one’s ability to produce blood cells. They also relieve tension in the muscles, permitting Chi and blood to circulate freely.
The use of external energy to fortify the bones is a meditative process which uses long, deep breathing cycles. Bone Breathing draws Chi in through the fingertips, the toes, and all of the protruding bones, spreading it throughout the skeletal structure. This energy is then compressed into the bones through muscular contractions, forcing Chi into the cavities of the body. Bone Compression thus completes the Bone Breathing process by retaining the accumulated energy.
Bones are extremely porous, and they are always “breathing.” The pores allow the passage of oxygen, blood, and nutrition through the bones in the same way a sponge absorbs and releases water. Bone Breathing draws external Chi in through the skin, muscles, and tendons to be combined with sexual energy and compressed into the marrow of the bones through the Bone Compression practice. This process uses the combined energies to create the heat necessary to burn the fat out of the marrow.
Bone Breathing Step by Step
You should be certain that the Microcosmic Orbit is clear of any blockages before starting. Regulate your breathing, then circulate your energy through the Microcosmic Orbit for several cycles.
Look at the illustration of the human skeleton. Notice the size, shape, and placement of the bones. Then, one arm at a time, trace your way up from the fingertips, through the bones of the hand and wrist, the radius and ulna of the forearm, the humerus of the upper arm, the collar bone (clavicle) in front, and the shoulder blade in back. Trace the legs in the same manner. This illustration should help as a guide for the energy flow in your practice.
Initiate Bone Breathing with the fingers of one hand until you feel energy moving in and out of that hand. Continue breathing up into each section of the arm. Begin your practice with the fingers of the right hand if you are right-handed, or with the left hand if you are left-handed. Practice using the fingers of the opposite hand, and then both hands together, moving up both arms, and so on. Similarly, practice on the right (or left) toes, and then the toes of the opposite foot, and then continue up the legs.
Some people find it useful to extend the hand they intend to breathe into, palm down, pointing outward horizontally, at chest level. This aids in concentrating on the fingers of that hand. Between each step, rest for as long as you feel the need to do so. Place your hands on your legs, palms up, and close your eyes during each testing period.
Initiating Bone Breathing: Breathing through the Fingers
With your hand raised gently pull up the sexual organs and anus with each breath. Draw the energy in as you inhale; push the energy out as you exhale. As you inhale, sink the elbow down, and draw the energy in. Then exhale, extend your hand out slightly from the rising elbow and release the energy. As you watch with your mind’s eye, see the fingers beginning to breathe. Breathe through your nose in long, deep, but gentle cycles.
1. Start with the index finger. The bones in the tips of the fingers are pointed and can draw in energy. Begin the Bone Breathing process from the index finger, which offers the most sensation of the energy entering and leaving. Bend and sink the elbow while holding the lower arm up. Relax the wrist, hands, and fingers.
2. Draw warm energy into the cool fingertip. Sense a cold feeling in the tip of your index finger. Sink your elbow and slowly pull in the entire hand--finger extended--with a long, gentle breath. Be aware of the energy as it enters into the tip of that finger only.
3. Release the energy with the breath. Exhale, permitting the elbow to rise slightly as you slowly extend the hand. Feel the sensation of the energy leaving the extended finger.
4. Breathe into the fingers individually. Next, breathe into the second, third, and fourth fingers, and finally the thumb. These need not be done individually every time you practice. This is intended only to help you to isolate the feeling of energy by concentrating on one small area at a time.
Eventually all fingers will be used to draw energy simultaneously into both hands. The finger bones do not have much fat; hence, there is little resistance to the energy. Once you bring the energy past the finger bones into the ulna and radius bones of the arm, you will encounter more fat; therefore, breathing into them may require more practice. Now compare the fingers of the hand that has experienced Bone Breathing with the fingers of the hand that you have not yet worked on. You should notice a difference.
5. Inhale through all of your fingertips, filling the knuckles with Chi. Pull up slightly on the sexual organs as you draw energy in through your fingers. Then inhale, and hold for a while, feeling the energy as an increasing fullness, or swelling, in all fingers. Exhale and rest. Now breathe into your entire hand, visualizing all the bones you observed in the illustration of the skeleton. Then exhale, releasing the energy. From this point on you will always breathe into the whole hand when you begin the exercise.