The following three breathing patterns are most frequently used: natural respiration, abdominal respiration, and reverse abdominal respiration. Reverse abdominal respiration is required for the practice of Ba Duan Jin. But it cannot be accomplished at the very beginning and it is especially difficult to coordinate it with the movements when the exerciser is not very familiar with the movements. Reverse abdominal respiration provides important effects in the practice of Health Qigong·Ba Duan Jin. Correct reverse abdominal respiration also has positive effects on the control and prevention of all kinds of chronic diseases. The “drawing in the chest, straightening the back, relaxing the waist, and pulling back the buttocks” requirements on the stance can help the exerciser directly guide the breath from the chest to the abdomen and achieve natural, gentle, and slow abdominal respiration. And abdominal respiration is also an inevitable stage in the practice of reverse abdominal respiration. On the basis of abdominal reparation, the exerciser will easily experience the essentials of reverse abdominal respiration by raising the abdominal Qi to the chest and lifting the anus at the same time during inhalation. Therefore the correct posture of Bao Qi Stance can help the exerciser quickly settle Qi into Dantian and properly feel the ascent and descent of Qi. The subtleness of respiration regulation can only be sensed in a very quiescent state. It is only during the quiescent stance that the exerciser can more efficiently regulate respiration and master the essentials of reverse respiration. Coordinated with the movement practice, it will provide twofold results with half the effort.
Regulating the Spirit
The peace and quiescence of the spirit are another requirement on the practice of Health Qigong·Ba Duan Jin. It is difficult to feel and grasp the exterior characteristics and interior verve of Ba Duan Jin if the exerciser cannot stay focused during the practice. Therefore peace and quiescence are the mental requirements on the exercisers of Ba Duan Jin. However, if we directly practice Ba Duan Jin according to the requirements on the spirit, it will be easier for the exerciser to understand then to meet them. It is only through the quiescent state of the stance, the self-induction effect of words, the feeling of the body, and the perception of the nature that the exerciser can experience a quiescent state and achieve “unity of the interior and the exterior”. The perception of peace and quiescence obtained through self-experience is far more impressive than external persuasion and education. On the one hand, the exerciser is required to eliminate all distracting thoughts before stance exercise. On the other hand, a series of approaches such as the adjustment of the body form, control of respiration, and self-induction of words during the stance will directly promote the peace and quiescence of the exerciser. And these psychological characteristics can be transferred to the practice of Health Qigong·Ba Duan Jin.
Generally speaking, the stance exercise already contains the basic characteristics of form regulation, respiration regulation, and mind regulation in Health Qigong·Ba Duan Jin. The stance exercise can help the exerciser correct the bad body postures, wrong respiration patterns, and unfavorable psychological factors. Therefore proper practice of Bao Qi Stance before or during the practice of Health Qigong·Ba Duan Jin will be of great benefit to the practice of Health Qigong·Ba Duan Jin.
（By Xu Haipeng）