The first video contain instruction similar to how this tai chi form is taught during my classes, the 2nd video is of all the movements joined together filmed from front and back to make it easier for you to learn.
70. Cloud Hands - right side, left side, right side, left side, right side71. Single Whip - left hand foot towards left side, balanced72. Low Posture - hands circle over head, sink down and back into right leg73. Golden Cock Stands on One Leg - left hand low, right hand high, right leg up, sole turned in74. Golden Cock Stands on One Leg - right hand low, left hand high, left leg up, sole turned in
As mentioned earlier breathing happens automatically but it is one of the few aspects of our body that we can consciously control. If you don’t think about breathing it will just happen by itself but if you decide to take deep breathes you can. This is what allows our breathing to be influenced by our emotional state, but it is also what allows us to consciously change the way we breathe to influence our own health. Article Continued Below
If you are not used to diaphragm breathing the first thing you may notice is that when you try to do it you can’t take a very big breath. In most of us the muscles in this area are quite weak, which is directly reflected in our lower back problems, also the muscles can become very tense through emotional stress. This tension stops the diaphragm from dropping properly stopping our lungs from breathing to their full capacity.
Don’t try to force your breathing, If you try to force the air in beyond this point you will become tired quickly and start to tighten up. You may even experience hyperventilation symptoms making you dizzy and puffed. If you experience this be patient, loosening these muscles is like doing any other stretching technique, it takes time and patience. Don’t over breathe trying to get better results, breathe gently whilst performing your tai chi and naturally over time your muscles will loosen, your diaphragm will drop and breathing capacity increase. Article Continued Below
Once you have learnt and are comfortable with your tai chi practice it is time to add some breathing to it. The breathing can be divided into two stages, normal breathing and reverse breathing; these two breathing techniques can be identified in the following ways. Place the palms of your hands on your abdomen, and breathe in and out. During normal breathing when you breathe in your abdomen expands, breathing out it contracts. This is the type of breathing you will use when you first start your practice. It is gentler and will not raise your oxygen and energy levels too fast making it easier to control in the early stages. During reverse breathing when you breathe in your abdomen contracts, breathing out it expands, this type of breathing is not natural breathing but controlled breathing.
Keep practicing normal breathing until your abdominal muscles become more flexible and relax and your diaphragm starts to drop creating big long deep breathes. Do not use effort when you breathe, keep it gentle and natural for now. Once this becomes comfortable you can time your breathing with the movements in your form, which I will discuss further below. If this at any time feels awkward and you feel puffed or dizzy then don’t try to control your breathing in any way.
Once this becomes more comfortable you can try reverse breathing, to use reverse breathing when you breathe in you consciously contract your diaphragm, when breathing out your abdomen expands. This is opposite to normal diaphragm breathing; it creates higher oxygenation and energy levels. Place the palms of your hands on your abdomen, and breathe in and out, see what reverse feeling feels like. At first it might feel strange and unnatural but with practice it will happen automatically.
Reverse breathing also has an added advantage, when timed with the yin and yang portions of your tai chi movements it provides a strong feeling of expansion and contraction in your form Article Continued Next Lesson.
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This article was written by Stephen Procter, instructor from Tai Chi Health for Life, Australian College of Tai Chi & Qi Gong and Meditation Instructor from Meditation in the Shire, Kirrawee NSW, Australia. If you wish to post this article on another website or in a publication please respect the author and reference / link back to this website, thank you