Welcome to Healing T’ai Chi
…the award-winning blog of seated Tai Chi and Qigong exercises to balance mind, body and spirit for people of all ages and levels of fitness.
“Heaven and Earth are everlasting
The reason Heaven and Earth can last forever
Is that they do not exist for themselves
Thus they can last forever.”
Tao Te Ching #7:1, translated by www.Taoism,net
In this exercise, we will be sitting quietly and simply breathing: we won’t be moving arms or legs or trunk. Consider this exercise as a “review” of the different breathing methods we have used in previous exercises. All of the following use “post-birth” breathing which means that the diaphragm is expanded when you’re breathing in and tightening when you’re breathing out. Here is a list of breathing methods we’ve used in this blog:
Cleansing Breath: This breathing method involves inhalation through the nose and exhalation through the mouth. The diaphragm moves outward when you’re breathing in and tightens when the breath is released through the mouth. Expelling the air takes longer in this case than drawing breath into the lungs. This method is helpful to release tension in particularly stressful situations and when performing a Tai Chi form.
Tonic Breath: This method reverses the one above. This time we breathe in through the mouth and out through the nose. Again, the diaphragm moves out when we breathe in and tightens when the breath is exhaled. This method is used when extra energy is required or to increase blood circulation.
Normal Breath: With this method, both inhalations and exhalations are done through the nose. This is the way we usually breathe unless we have a cold or allergies. Again, the diaphragm moves outward with inhalations and tightens with exhalations.
Turtle Breath: Turtle breath refers to a method of breathing that is difficult to achieve. The breaths in this case are so light as to be unnoticeable. Those who have reached this level of breath control are able to breathe so effortlessly that they appear not to be breathing at all.
Sit as usual with your feet flat on the floor, legs shoulder-width apart. Tuck your hips slightly under you so that your back is fully supported by the back of the chair.
Begin with the tonic method breathing in through your mouth and out through your nose. Relax, clear your mind and concentrate on the movement of breath in and out along with the expandion and contraction of your diaphragm. I would suggest at least 12 breaths before beginning the next step.
This time, use the cleansing method i.e., breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth about 12 times. Concentrate on the movements of breath and diaphragm.
Return to normal breathing so that you are breathing in and out through your nose only. Repeat 12 times.
Now, try to slow and lighten your breathing as much as possible. Don’t worry if you don’t perfect turtle breathing right away. It takes many years of practice to achieve that level of breath control.
Click on the illustration above from the book, Acupressure’s Potent Points to enlarge your view.
Find the point labeled K 27.
Make a fist with both hands and press on the hollow below the collarbone with your thumbs. Press firmly on both points for a full minute.
Benefits: This useful point will relieve chest congestion, asthma, coughing, anxiety and a multitude of breathing difficulties.
Remember to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty. A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician.
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Blog/site for this week (this site is chock full of information and studies – you may want to bookmark it so you can go back to it later): http://www.normalbreathing.com/free-downloads.php
Natural remedies: http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/natural-healing-herbs.html
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