Breathing

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Most people breathe in and out every minute of every day and never give it a second thought, unless they have some sort of respiration problem. Yet the Taoists of ancient China created over fifty different specialized breathing exercises, all of which are incorporated into our arts in a special section called Hu Hsi Ichih {Taoist Respiration Therapy). Amongst them are many special breathing techniques which also incorporate specific physical exercises, purposely designed to assist in the cure of many different illnesses connected to specific organs of the body.

In addition to these, there are other very special breathing exercises that help to activate or sedate the natural energy (Sheng Chi) of the body, and these exercises are an integral part of our training.

It is important for a beginner to take things easy at the beginning of their training. Very few people have learnt to breathe fully, so their bodies are not used to dealing with a large amount of oxygen. Even fewer people have learnt to breathe deeply in the lower abdomen (Tan Tien). Thus in the early stages of learning the form let your breathing be as natural as possible, then slowly your teacher will help you to co-ordinate your breathing with your movements and your mind.

If your breathing remains natural, then slowly through your training you will be able to let it sink lower and lower until it eventually reaches the lower abdomen. Your early training will also assist in this matter, because through correct stances with relaxed bodies and relaxed movements, breathing will naturally sink lower. Once breathing into the lower abdomen becomes natural and automatic, the energy of the body (Sheng Chi) will be enhanced.

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  1. The Chinese Art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan by Chee Soo - page 19
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The Chinese Art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan

by Chee Soo

Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2003 reproduced with permission