I still do not understand: what is meant by “breathing naturally” and do “not interfere with the breathing?” Please give me an example and elaborate.
In my limited understanding, to breathe naturally, does that mean that one does not take long or short breaths? Please kindly clarify this for me.
When I am standing or sitting on a chair, I can breathe very comfortably, my breath fills up my stomach effortlessly (it takes about six seconds to fill up my stomach) and I feel very good. However, while sitting, especially in full lotus, my breathing becomes difficult. The first three seconds are OK, but afterward it does not feel comfortable, as if there is some obstruction and I experience discomfort in my stomach. When I continue to breathe, air cannot fill up my stomach as much as while I am standing or sitting in a chair. Similarly, when exhaling, the first three seconds are OK but afterward, it feels uncomfortable.
If I continue, then I feel uncomfortable after 20 minutes.
Recently, I made some adjustments. As soon as it feels uncomfortable (normally after the first three seconds) I stop my breathing in and start exhaling. While exhaling and it starts feeling uncomfortable, I then start inhaling. As a result, my breathing is shallower than before. When I’m doing is this way, it feels good and I can sit longer. Is this appropriate?
Furthermore, my back is not straight. While sitting, it is bent a little bit in order to make my breathing comfortable to fill up my stomach.
I tried straightening out my back. Originally, air cannot reach my stomach or only one liter of air would come in. Over time, it is getting better but it still feels uncomfortable. Please help me breathe correctly.
Thank you very much and I wish you good health.
You are continuing to interfere with your breathing by “doing” all the things that you describe.
If it feels uncomfortable, then be aware of it but do nothing. If the breath is shorter while sitting, then be aware of it and do nothing. If the back is bent, do not try to straighten it out, just be aware of it and it will naturally straighten itself over time.
You are trying too hard. That is why I prefer to teach my students to recite the Buddha’s name and ignore their breathing. Watching your breath tends to bring out the “control freak” in all of you.
If it feels uncomfortable, then bear it until it stops feeling uncomfortable. It’s just like going to the gym, at first it hurts when lifting weights, but it is necessary to build up muscle mass.
I do not mind your detailed questions. It will be much clearer when you come to our temple. Also, it will be much easier to make progress. To prepare for the upcoming Chan Qi, you should concentrate on sitting for two hours.
All of you please note: The Chan Qi is supervised Chan training as per each person’s individual level. Each of you should train according to your own preferences, abilities and circumstances.