Sifu's Training Insights

Breathing and Chi Kung
Tai Chi Class

When performing the ancient Chinese exercises generally called "Chi Kung", you have several options in regard to which breathing method may be used. in fact, some teachers feel that any controlled breathing method is too structured, artificial and forced. In The Tai Chi School, we recommend the following method to maximize the physical and energetic benefits of these exercises:

1. Gently place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, slightly away from the back of your teeth.
   This serves to relax your throat and facial muscles (excellent if you happen to suffer from TMJ -- temporomandibular joint dysfunction) and to connect two major energy meridians which terminate in the mouth.

2. Breathe in and out through your nose (unless there is some physical limitation that prohibits this)

3. Inhale and exhale deeply, using your abdomen and intercostal muscles ("belly breathing") but be sure to keep your muscles as relaxed as possible. Do not hold your breath.

4. Generally, inhale while raising your arms, lifting your body or moving your arms away from your body. At all other times, exhale. (Specific Chi Kung exercises may have different breathing requirements which will be clearly described when taught in class).

This breathing method seems to circulate Chi most efficiently, while conserving and minimizing the release of Chi from your body. The proper coordination of breathing with Chi Kung exercises is done in a relaxed way to avoid straining or the generation of unnecessary tension. When Chi Kung exercises and breathing method are correctly synchronized, you will feel alert and energized upon the completion of your exercises.