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.
58. Hands Play Guitar - weight back, left leg
59 - 61. Parting Wild Horses Mane x 3 - watch low hand left, right, left
During our tai chi practice our breathing plays an important role and has a huge influence on many aspects of our forms and health. Breathing has an influence on expansion and contraction, concentration, energy movement and timing of our postures. Without proper breathing or timing our tai chi form becomes nothing more then a physical exercise, it is the proper execution of breathing that draws us into our internal form. If we are to gain maximum benefits from our tai chi practice we then need to learn proper breathing techniques and timing in order to bring everything together as a whole. Article Continued Below
Breathing is something that we aren’t usually conscious of until we are out of breath, it happens automatically so we don’t give it much attention. But have you ever noticed how it changes dependant on how we are emotionally? Our emotions affect our breathing, often in a way that makes it shorter and shallower; stress for example leaves us breathing short breaths in our upper chest. This type of breathing lowers our oxygen levels and can make us gasp for air; it also creates a lot of tension in our upper body. Using our upper chest to breathe is pretty common in our society; it has many aspects that I will cover that create health problems.
62. Parting Hands, Forward Looking - weight forward right leg, right hand forward, left to side, both shoulder height63 & 64. Jade Lady Weaving x 2 - left side, turn, then right side65. Parting Hands, Forward Looking66 & 67. Jade Lady Weaving x 2 - left side, turn, then right side68. Grasping Birds Tail - hands from left side to right side, then push to cnr, hook right hand69. Single Whip - left hand foot towards left side, balanced
This type of breathing can not only be attributed to negative emotions but also to cultural influences. All through my youth we were taught that to be beautiful or handsome was to pull our stomach in and press our chest out. Article Continued Below
This in particular has applied to woman throughout the ages who through cultural pressures on what was attractive made them seek various ways to have a slim looking waistline. This even led to practices such as corsets and self starvation to fit within this mould of what is attractive. This type of thinking led to us holding our stomach in when we breathed, because to breathe how we were meant to would mean to push our stomachs out and this is considered unattractive. Our only alternative was to breathe in our upper chest, the problem with this being that it mimics our physical stress response. Article Continued Below
Watch a young child and you will see how to breathe properly or observe someone when they are relaxed or asleep, free from life’s problems. To breathe properly means to use our diaphragm, as it drops it sucks the air in, as it contracts it pushes the air out. This type of breathing increases the amount of oxygen we receive in our bodies giving us more energy and helping us to remove toxins.
The lowering of the diaphragm also has added benefits, when we breathe in and the diaphragm drops it compresses and squeezes our internal organs, when we breathe out it raises and creates a reverse sucking. This can be imagined by thinking of squeezing and releasing a sponge, this has the effect of increasing the circulation and function of our internal organs therefore increasing our health. If we only breathe into our upper chest our internal organs don’t get massaged and this creates stagnation.
Diaphragm breathing also has the added effect of strengthening our abdominal muscles giving us a trimmer waist as every in and out breath is exercising this area. Chest breathing means that if we are not specifically targeting our abdominal muscles through other exercise we tend to get weak and flabby. There are many benefits to breathing properly and only ones based on vanity for not breathing in the right way. 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