Belly Breathing. It's Really Good for You.

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Our breath is always with us, yet we don't often think of it. It does what it does without any direction from us. We only notice if we are having trouble breathing, but every moment, it's keeping us going.

In breath focused practices, such as tai chi and qigong, we work to align the breath with our movements. We take deeper breaths (belly breaths) and we exhale noticeably.

If you've done this kind of breathing, you know that it has the potential to make you feel relaxed and make your body feel very good.

The mayo clinic had this to say about a deep breathing practice:

"The benefits of deep breathing extend beyond in-the-moment stress relief. Many studies have found that deep, yogic breathing helps balance the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions, such as temperature control and bladder function. This may help ease symptoms of stress-related disorders and mental health conditions such as anxiety, general stress, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder."

For your practice: Today as you do tai chi, qigong or the beginning stretches, notice your breath. Take some deep belly breaths and experience what that sensation is like, breathing in and breathing out. Notice what your body feels like after focusing on the breath while moving. What is your experience?

Deepening Your Tai Chi Practice Requires Patience


Patience is an essential attitude when starting a practice like tai chi. It's easy to get frustrated and feel that you should be further along or that you aren’t "getting it" as quickly as you think you should.

It’s important to remember you learning to move your body in new and different ways and it can take time to develop this new relationship to movement.

By offering yourself patience as you learn, you will be able to enjoy the practice at every point along the way, not wishing to be somewhere different, but accepting yourself exactly where you are at right now.

For your practice: As you practice the form today, however much or little of it you know, simply notice if there is any impatience present or a desire to want to progress faster. Make a mindful effort to allow yourself all the time you need. Be fully present in your experience, resisting the temptation to wish it was something different than exactly what it is. And congratulate yourself for the efforts you've made so far and for your openness to learn something new.

Tai Chi Starts with Stillness

“Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.” ― Laotzu.png

It is easy to begin our days somewhat mindlessly. Often, from the moment we wake, we rush headlong into all that must be accomplished. But Tai Chi offers an alternative paradigm: Wu Chi (pronounced Woo Jee), the silent stillness before the first step.

Wu Chi has been translated as "The Grand Void," a moment of profound stillness before we act. It is a state of emptiness that contains unlimited possibilities. It is the beginning stance of the tai chi form.

For your practice: Start in a posture of Wu Chi, open to what you may experience and discover.