Healing T’ai Chi
…the award-winning blog of seated T’ai Chi and Qigong exercises to balance mind, body and spirit for people of all ages and levels of fitness.
“Act without contrivance
And nothing will be beyond control.”
Tao Te Ching #3, translated at www.Taoism.net
Most of us pay no particular attention to our breathing unless we have a cold or a bronchial infection. We assume that our respiratory system is doing its job and we don’t have to consciously monitor the process. While that may be true to a certain extent, it is nevertheless beneficial to take our cue from Asian cultures and incorporate a variety of breathing exercises in our daily regimen. The breathing exercises in this blog can be practiced at home, at work or in the car any time of the day resulting in great benefit to our overall health.
Dan tien breathing:
Begin seated in your usual position with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, hips tucked slightly under. Sit straight and tall, shoulders pressed downward.
The lower dan tien is 3 finger-widths below your belly button in the center of the body.
Focus on that area as you breathe in slowly through your nose. Expand your lower abdomen and allow your lower back to expand as well.
Tighten your lower abdomen and the muscles in your lower back as you breathe out through your mouth. If you can’t feel your lower back moving out and in, visualize it for the time being. As you practice this breathing exercise, you will eventually be able to expand both the front of your lower abdomen and your back as well.
Repeat this exercise from 6 to 12 times at each session. Remember the 80% rule – don’t overdo it. Breathe in only as much as is comfortable even if you think you could work harder. The depth and slowness of your breathing will increase as you practice.
Find the reflexology point on the top of the foot in the illustration above that is labeled “Lower Back“.
Circle thumb or finger on this spot for a full minute. Then, press firmly on the point and hold for at least 30 seconds.
Repeat on the same foot or alternate feet as often as necessary.
Don’t forget 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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