Aiping Tai Chi Aiping Tai Chi

Better Breathing with Intention

We have all heard about the benefits of deep breathing for our wellbeing, to improve the functioning of our respiration system and to calm our anxiety. However, how do we practice deep breathing when the air is contaminated with pollutants that make breathing difficult? The deep breathing method we practice in Tai Chi and Qigong can help.

In internal arts there is a saying: Yi (Intention) leads the Qi. When we apply it to breathing, allow your mind to lead the path for the breath to follow. Then allow your body to also follow along this mindful path. This way we can transform shallow, superficial breathing into something more profound and revitalizing. In this deep breathing method, instead of trying to breathe a bigger breath, the key lies in taking the same amount of breath we naturally inhale and allowing it to become thin and deep. Imagine the breath as a liquid, flowing through a slender tube deep into your abdomen. By envisioning this path, we can elongate the breath, making it travel deeply downward instead of staying shallow and expanding outward.

Consider the analogy of a liquid passing through a funnel. If the funnel is wide, the liquid rushes through quickly. However, when the funnel is narrow, the liquid takes its time to traverse the path. Similarly, this deep breathing method involves stretching out the breath, without the need to breathe excessively. Instead, focus on what feels natural to you, allowing the breath to flow effortlessly.

To achieve this thin and deep breath, it is crucial to release tension in the torso. Tensions act as a barrier, preventing the breath from sinking down. By mindfully relaxing the tensions in the chest and torso, we form an empty space that becomes a clear pathway for the breath to sink into the abdomen and rise back up. This extended journey elongates the breath cycle, slowing down our breathing and fostering a sense of tranquility and vitality.

As the breath sinks down into the abdomen, it establishes a profound connection with our body’s movements. Harmonizing the rise and fall of the body with each breath becomes effortless. In this state of alignment, we conserve energy and experience a heightened sense of comfort in our breathing.

Remember, intention holds the key to unlocking the potential of deep breathing and achieving harmony within our bodies. By cultivating a focused and relaxed mindset, we can guide the flow of our body’s energy, leading to better respiration, calmer and more focused thinking, and overall health and well-being.