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Respiración de Tai Chi

Dr Paul Lam “What about the breathing?” Numerous students have asked me this question. Correct breathing is an important part of tai chi. Here’s a simple guide based on essential tai chi principles.

“What about the breathing?” Numerous students have asked me this question. Some teachers believe that breathing patterns should be very specific. For example, in each and every part of a movement, there is a specific breathing pattern-in and out, slowly or quickly. These teachers feel that the breathing has to be just so for each movement. I find this method difficult and think it can impede improvement for some students. It often leads to too much focus on the breathing and distraction from focusing on other essential principles. No two people are the same. They have different lung capacities and different speeds in their movements so to coordinate in the same specific pattern with others would be difficult for many. In addition, this can lead to forced or contrived breathing which can be harmful.

Estilo Sun Tai Chi - apertura y cierre de formaCorrect breathing is an important part of tai chi. Here’s a simple guide based on essential tai chi principles. The key is the storing and delivering of energy because tai chi emphasises on internal energy. Every tai chi movement alternates between gathering, storing and then delivering energy. Often the classics describe it as opening and closing. When you open, it’s storing energy like someone drawing an arrow in a bow; in closing, the energy is delivering so it’s like shooting the arrow. Keep this image in your mind and the rest will be easy to follow.

When you’re inhaling (storing energy), think of taking in the life energy-oxygen- into your body. When you deliver energy or force, you exhale. This can be applied to almost all tai chi movements since they are, in essence, alternating opening and closing movements.

En Sunset in Florida 2004: estilo Chen Tai Chi - Stirring the SeaWhen your hands pull apart or when you’re stepping forward, that’s an opening movement. For example, in the Sun style opening and closing movement, when your hands are in front of your chest, opening up, you breathe in to store energy. When your hands come closer, you breathe out, delivering energy. Another example is Single Whip in Yang style. At the end of Single Whip, even though your hands are opened out, it’s actually a closing movement because that’s where you deliver the energy, so you breathe out. Using this logic, you can see in Chen style’s punching movements, when you’re bringing your hands closer to store up energy, that’s an in breath and when you punch out, that’s the out breath.

And then there’s up and down movements. When you move your hands up, you’re storing your energy, and therefore you breathe in. When you bring your hands down, you’re delivering energy-shooting the arrow-so you breathe out. Likewise, when you stand up and bend down.

Use this guide throughout your tai chi forms. Whenever you’re in doubt, focus on practising the form correctly: Relax, loosen your joints and you’ll find your breathing will be correct. Don’t force or hold your breath. Simply allow your body to breathe naturally when in doubt.

He simplificado los métodos previos conocidos de respiración abdominal y abdominal inversa, y lo he encontrado más poderoso en el cultivo de energía. Esto es:

El método de respiración de Dan Tian

This breathing method is a modification of traditional qigong based on modern medical research into the deep stabilizer muscles. It helps to sink your qi to the dan tian and to enhance qi power, in turn improving internal energy. It can be incorporated into all your qigong and tai chi movements.

Puedes practicar la respiración ya sea sentado o de pie. Sé consciente de mantener la postura correcta. Coloque la mano izquierda sobre su abdomen justo arriba del ombligo y la mano derecha debajo de él. Concéntrate en tu abdomen inferior y el músculo del suelo pélvico.

Cuando inhale, expanda su área abdominal inferior, permita que se abulte un poco, y deje que sus músculos abdominales y del piso pélvico se relajen. Deberías sentir un leve empujón de la mano derecha. Al exhalar, contraiga suavemente los músculos del piso pélvico y la parte inferior del abdomen. Siente la contracción del músculo con tu mano derecha, manteniendo el área sobre tu ombligo lo más quieta posible. Contrae los músculos del piso pélvico muy suavemente, tan suavemente que es casi como si estuvieras pensando en contraerlos. Otra buena forma es imaginar que estás acercando el piso pélvico a menos de media pulgada al ombligo. Una contracción más fuerte movería demasiado la mano izquierda y eso implicaría la participación de diferentes grupos de músculos, por lo tanto, no sería tan efectiva.

Al inhalar y relajar los músculos pélvicos y abdominales inferiores, trate de no relajarlos por completo, pero retenga aproximadamente el 10-20 por ciento de la contracción. Esto le permitirá mantener una postura erguida y tener el grupo de músculos adecuado listo para la siguiente fase.

If you can feel the qi, you can circulate it down along the conception vessel on expiration, and up along the governing vessel on inspiration. Another good way is to visualise your qi move in a straight line just beneath your skin: up to middle of your sternum (the point below two nipples) on inspiration and down to the dan tian on expiration.

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