Fúqì 服氣 ingestion of breath
This entry was written by Catherine Despeux and the next one about Fuqi jingyi lun (Essay on the Essential Meaning of the Ingestion of Breath) by Livia Kohn. The scientists agree that this technique exists from the Han period (202 BCE-220 CE) and describes the ingestion of outer and inner breath and it is the thing we shall badly need to clarify when we meet breath exercises in the body of 天下至道談 Tiān Xià Zhì Dào Tán (Discussion of the Culminant Way in Under-Heaven, trans. by D. Harper), the ancient erotical treatise.
Some terms should be underlined here: shíqì 食氣 is the synonym to fúqì 服氣, huángqì is “yellow pneuma” (黃氣 contained in the sun rays), and as C. Despeux notes again “one should practice between midnight and midday, the time of the “living breath” (shēngqì 生氣), and avoid the hours between midday and midnight, the time of the “dead breath” (sĭqì 死氣)”. I have just put tones in the terms as promised 🙂
In the Essay on the Essential Meaning of the Ingestion of Breath there is a chapter 3, and L. Kohn describes its content: “On daoyin” (“Dăoyĭn lún 導引論). Literally ‘exercises for guiding (energy) and stretching (the body),’ daoyin or gymnastics should always complement the absorption of qì. They frequently emulate the movements of animals, and serve to make the body supple, harmonize the inner energies, stimulate digestion and blood circulation, and expel diseases.” Nothing to add to make it better. Until we face the exercises themselves.
Actually, there are as minimum five entries on breath techniques in the first volume of encyclopedia and six in the second: (1) breath retention, ingestion of breath, merging pneuma, refining breath, instructions on six sounds, (2) breath and blood, embryonic breathing, regulating breath, exhaling and inhaling, circulating breath, and breathing through the heels. Puzzled?
As always in Chinese culture the easy things are better to digest just reading these humble and private notes on encyclopedia of taoism; the hard things, well, it depends:)