REVIEW: As a vocalist, using these exercises has helped me immensely already (after only just finishing the 6th lesson!) This is my second time around with them, (did six years ago to help develop diaphragm). I'm going to practice regularly so as not to get "rusty" again. Wish I could get in hardcover. . .(An Amazon Reviewer)
REVIEW: "Breathing can be more than just an unconscious instinct," says former opera star, chi kung (also spelled "qigong") expert, and voice teacher Nancy Zi. "Through training, deep breathing can change the very quality of your life." Combining ancient Chinese disciplines, the breathing techniques of classical singing, and wonderful guided imagery, Nancy Zi's best-selling book and video demonstrate how we can transform the 20,000 breaths we take each day into "breaths of life." This program is highly recommended." (Body Mind Spirit March/April 1998)
REVIEW: "Nancy Zi is an opera singer, voice teacher, and practitioner of qigong (chi kung). This video demonstrates the exercises described in Zi's book of the same title.
Zi combines simple movements (such as arm stretches, forward bends, twists, and squats), "nonvocal" sounds, and timed breaths to create a range of 24 very practical and interesting exercises. These are divided equally into six lessons titled Leading the Breath, Coordinating the Breath, Controlling the Breath, Varying and Extending the Breath, Using the Breath to Develop the Core, and Applying the Breath. There are also several vivid "imagery drills" that support the physical routines.
The video is a nice supplement to the book: It helped me get a better feel for the exercises to see and hear the models. I especially appreciated Zi's emphasis on physical alignment and patience, both essential ingredients of a successful breathing practice. If you want to improve your breathing, whether for everyday activities, health reasons, sports, singing, or as a preparation for yoga, then this is an inspiring presentation." (Yoga Journal, Nov-Dec 1997 Issue)
REVIEW: "First released in 1986, The Art of Breathing has become a classic text on breathing techniques for people of all ages and backgrounds. The 1997 release includes a new section covering commonly asked questions and answers.
Nancy Zi grew up in China, where she became familiar with Eastern techniques used to develop internal chi energy. Later educated in the United States as a classical opera singer, Zi quickly realized the similarities between the Eastern techniques and the Western exercises she learned in her profession to develop breath control.
In the past 30 years, she has perfected a combination of these techniques into an art she calls "chi yi" (pronounced chi-ee) She describes chi yi as "a method of deep breathing through which you can stimulate and harness the current of inner energy. By making sure that the air you breathe is effectively inhaled, energized, and exhaled, you can improve your health and bring vitality to all your physical movements and expressions."
The 237-page book contains six lessons geared to train and strengthen the muscles used for breathing, correct improper breathing, and improve overall breath control. It is well written and easy to follow with concise diagrams of all imagery and movements. I worked through all the exercises and got excellent results, similar to when I've worked with yoga, tai chi, or qigong, only more quickly. This is a book for everyone who wants to increase their energy and sense of well-being and should be recommended especially for customers who have no background or interest in the more physical disciplines. In fact, directions are given for how these exercises can be modified for someone with physical limitations.
Zi also has available a 90 minute video with the same name. The video is well done with good picture and sound quality and follows the book exactly. A book-and-video set is also available. It's a great value, and they make a nice display together. (New Age Retailer, Nov-Dec 1997)
REVIEW: "This excellent guide to better breathing has been revised to include a new epilogue and a collection of Zi's answers to frequently-asked questions about her unique Chi Yi method. She has integrated her understanding of the ancient Chinese discipline Chi Kung with her training and experience as a professional vocalist to develop Chi Yi, a program of breathing principles and exercises aimed to improve and strengthen the voice and increase overall energy, health, and well-being. I love the way both the book and the video combine 'left brain' exercises with 'right brain' Imagery Drills to foster both cognitive and imaginative awareness of breath, a vital element in so much of our spiritual, artistic, and therapeutic practices. Recommended." (NAPRA ReVIEW, January 1997)
REVIEW: "A modern offshoot of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is chi yi, a breathing method influenced in part by the basic principles of the ancient Chinese art of breath manipulation in qigong. In her book, The Art of Breathing, it is developer, Nancy Zi, a Chinese-American classical singer and voice teacher in Los Angeles, explains, "Chi means breath, air, atmosphere. Yi means art – hence chi yi – the art of breathing. For centuries, the Chinese have practiced qigong as a fundamental discipline and have applied this discipline to many forms of martial arts, meditation, and healing practices. I have compared, extracted, and compiled techniques from both East and West to create chi yi, and the current of inner energy generated from my method of deep breathing is comparable to the principle of ‘inner vigor' upon which qigong is based. But beyond breathing and self-energizing, it encompasses the ancient Chinese understanding of disciplined breathing for acquiring total control over body and mind, giving one a physiological and psychological balance and the balance of ying and yang."
Chi yi is particular successful in stress reduction, Ms. Zi explains, because it enables an individual to channel inner energy to any location of the body at will. Accomplished through a series of imagery drills, Ms. Zi tells her readers that "[you learn] how to lead the breath to the point where your core is located – your stresses, worries, anger, and other tensions will follow the stream of your breath to this center, where the core will shrink away your negative emotions – pain, fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, and even depression – leaving you ready to meet the challenges that you face." (Alternative & Complementary Therapies, July/August 1996)
REVIEW: "From the first lesson you feel the technique working." (Transpacific Magazine, June-July 1996)
REVIEW: "This is a very well done study of breath – perhaps better for the pursuit of singing than everyday breathing, however. It marries classical Chinese energy medicine (qigong) with operatic training and a little stretching in the hatha yoga tradition.
Zi includes many excellent gentle, and easily understood exercises…
The visualizations offered were quite helpful and the many benefits Zi promises will be achieved, provided on practices faithfully.
Together with the video I would rate this as one of the top ten breathing instruction books that I have come in contact with. It is a must for any serious student of the breath and voice." (Ahp Perspective, Nov/Dec/Jan 1997-1998)
REVIEW: "Easy to learn and a joy to incorporate into daily life...perfect for singers... wonderful gift." (Heartsong Review, Spring-Summer 1995)
REVIEW: "Without breath there is no life. Nancy Zi is the developer of this art, which she calls Chi yi (pronounced chee ee). Beyond the process of breathing, it is a means of acquiring total control over body and mind. The Art of Breathing teaches us that we can utilize that very precious gift to enhance our lives in many different ways.
The lessons are well explained and illustrated. Each contain exercises and posturing that ultimately brings in every part of the body. As you practice, your muscles will become more sensitive and responsive. Your goal being to breathe from your "core." Once your core awareness is established, you will function at a higher level in all aspects of your life. This disciplined inner energy helps you realize your full potential. A few of the benefits of Chi yi include increased stamina, healthy complexion, lessening of aches and pains, and increased vocal proficiency.
Nancy Zi is a professional vocal soloist and has taught and performed for more than thirty years. She has combined her studies of both Eastern and Western culture in developing this process." (Awareness Magazine, May/June 1995)
REVIEW: "..The instruction is nicely detailed and beautifully demonstrated and includes full examples. The technical quality of the video is consistently high. This book/tape set is highly recommended for public libraries with exercise and relaxation collections and should appeal to the New Age set as well..." (Library Journal, 4/1/95)
REVIEW: "Easy to learn and a joy to incorporate into daily life...perfect for singers... wonderful gift." (Heartsong Review, Spring-Summer 1995)
REVIEW: "The Art of Breathing, both the book and the video, are excellent sources...I am unaware of any other book that provides such practical and thorough instructions on how to do [the exercises]...Nancy Zi is an inspiring teacher, enthusiastically sharing the wisdom of her experience." (Yolanda Stepien, The Georgia Strait newspaper, Vancouver, B.C., 1/13/95)
REVIEW: The Art of Breathing is serious, precise, thorough and effective. The system awakens the center of the body from the tip of the tongue to the rectal muscles. The Art of Breathing exercises are explained and demonstrated in a series of six clear, well-paced lessons, with computer-graphic illustrations of the muscles and imagery involved in the practice of Chi Yi. Ms. Zi herself is lively and appealing. Ever mindful, she has also included a detailed table of contents to assist in remembering the details and locating the sections on the video. This video is very highly recommended. A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT!!" (Awareness Magazine, Nov./Dec. 1994)
REVIEW: "Instructor Nancy Zi is the serene host of this six-part production on chi yi, the Art of Breathing. Blending ancient Chinese disciplines with classical singing techniques, chi yi combines controlled exercises and mental imagery to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Each lesson begins with on-screen graphics demonstrating the imagery drill and proper tongue and mouth positions for the postures that follow. As an accomplished student performs each exercise, Zi's measured, voice-over narration, accompanied by soothing music, intones detailed instructions. Close-up and slow motion capture the often slight variations of the deceptively simple movements." (Audiovisual Media, Dec 1994)
REVIEW: "If you're interested, willing and able to improve the quality of your life, then disciplining the power of breath is essential for maintaining equilibrium of body, mind and spirit. It is a true blessing to have a talented, wise, beautiful spirit such as Nancy Zi to teach and inspire us to a higher level of personal development. Through the Art of Breathing, Nancy shares a wealth of practical knowledge and ancient wisdom. She has put together a program that should be a mandatory training for all people who inhabit a physical body, so that they may know how to properly utilize the energies that are available to us. If we could all learn and practice a daily routine of "Chi Yi" the world would be a much kinder place as it tempers the body, clears the mind, and connects us to the spiritual essence of life. The greatest curse upon mankind is ignorance and the best cure is knowledge. As she demonstrates the grace, flexibility, and radiance of an elder teacher, Nancy Zi has given us a masterpiece in her health program. (Now if we could only clean up the air).
Being a longtime fan of the breathing arts, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to experience the Art of Breathing video and book. I found the video exercises invigorating, easy to follow, based on simplicity and results. From the beginning, the music sets the stage for a subtle shift in body/mind harmony to prepare us for the peaceful feeling that is obtained through the breath exercises. The actors do their job well as models of inspiration and expiration. Nancy's narration throughout the video is smooth, and concise, obviously tempered through many years of teaching and training. The exercises are easy to follow and will alleviate much of the tension you might accumulate throughout any given day.
One word of caution to beginners in the energetic field of radiant health, is to abide by the instructions as Nancy suggests. (My wife and I did the whole set at once just before bed she got so charged up she couldn't sleep for several hours.) Because the exercises can make deep changes in a person's energy field it is best to start slow and just relax. This will ready you to learn some of the most important health principles for maintaining and energizing the human energy system. Chi Yi can bring balance and power into the body and and of anyone who would take the time to practice it. Even though it seems simple, these exercises reveal profound knowledge of total well-being and physiological discipline.
The book is filled with many of the conditions assisted by Chi Yi. From the thoroughness of the table of contents, to the wealth of physiological and energetic awareness, this is a must read for the serious health crowd. It would be great to see this type of training spread throughout the masses of people suffering from lack of health energy. If you truly want to improve the quality of your life do yourself a favor, get Chi Yi'ed. Then pass it to your family, friends, and neighbors and help make the world a more harmonious experience for all living, breathing life forms." (Whole Life Times, Dec. 1994)
REVIEW: "One of the most thorough and lucid presentations...[chi yi] gets the energy juices flowing better than coffee." (The Book Reader, Fall 1994)
REVIEW: "Has the power to change every aspect of life, simply and powerfully." (NAPRA ReView, Nov. 1994)
ENDORSEMENT: "A must for anyone who wants to feel better, ease daily stresses, and have the energy to propel them through the day." (Jack Canfield, co-author, "Chicken Soup for the Soul")
ENDORSEMENT: "An important book in teaching us how to properly breathe." (Dr.Earl Mindell, author, "The Vitamin Bible")
ENDORSEMENT: "For the first time in months, I felt a deep sense of relaxation--in touch with my forgotten 'breath of life.'" (Ray Sahelian, M.D., author, Melatonin: Nature's Sleeping Pill; DHEA)
ENDORSEMENT: "We in the entertainment industry are in the business of creating illusions. But the very real benefits to be derived from The Art of Breathing are no illusion. I heartily recommend it for actors, singers, writers, and anyone else seeking tranquillity and renewed energy with which to approach life's tasks." (Robert Wise, Academy Award-winning director, The Sound of Music, West Side Story)
ENDORSEMENT: "[With The Art of Breathing] tensions are released and the body becomes a conduit for a liberated stream of creativity." (Natalie Limonick, Professor of Music; President, Opera Guild of Southern California)
ENDORSEMENT: "From its first appearance on our shelves [in 1986], The Art of Breathing quickly became a standard. We recommend it enthusiastically to our customers who request a book or video on breathing." (Mary Kara, Owner, The Psychic Eye Book Shops, Inc., The Country's Largest New Age Book Stores)