Breathing the Tai Chi Way
The average person breathes about 700,000 cubic inches of air each day. In order to this efficiently, many teachers of the internal arts, including me, stress normal abdominal breathing when doing forms. This is breath in and out through the nose using the diaphragm (belly expands when inhaling, contracts when exhaling).
There are other ways of breathing in order to accomplish different goals. To clean the body, the exhalation is longer than the inhalation, and is through the mouth. To bring more energy and improve circulation, the inhalation is through the mouth and the exhalation is through the nose. The inhalation is longer than the exhalation.
The Daoists say that reverse abdominal breathing can reverse the aging process. This is the opposite of normal abdominal breathing in that the belly contracts on the inhalation and expands on the exhalation. It takes a lot of practice to make this feel natural, and if not done correctly, can actually cause harm.
It is important to know what you want to accomplish with your body and mind. Keep your mind open and you will surely be able to find a breathing style to help you.
A good exercise to practice normal and reverse breathing – bow and arrow breathing.
For normal breathing, imagine you have a bow and arrow in your torso. The bow string is in the front of the body, the bow is in the rear, and the arrow is pointing towrds the rear. As you inhale through the nose, the bow string is pulled forward, and as you exhale, the bow string is released and the arrow moves to the back. Continue until this feels natural.
For reverse breathing, the bow string is now in the back, the arrow pointing forward. As you inhale, the bow string is pulled backward, and as you exhale, the string is released and the arrow shoots forward. Continue until this feels natural.
Now try your Tai Chi form using one of these methods, and then the other. Be sure to stop when finished and feel how your body feels. Enjoy the joining of the body and mind.
New Classes
John Considine has stated that the new Senior Short Form class will be his last, so take advantage of this opportunity to participate in this very popular class. Fridays 12:30 – 1:30 PM with an additional class Mondays 9:15 to 10:15 AM.
Stephanie Morrell will offer a special 10 week “Introduction to Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan”. The class will be on Thursdays, 5:30 to 6:30 PM and starts on March 7. Stephanie is a master teacher and she will share her informed and unique approach.
Weapons Give Away Update
I want to thank all of you who have send me emails about your desire to own one of these antique weapons. The response has been overwhelming. I thought it would be easy to make a quick decision when I came up with this idea to move these weapons on to someone new, but it is not so. So many touching as well as strong replies. I think by next weeks tip, I’ll have made a decision. So thanks again and I appreciate your open heartedness.