Breathe Your Way To Healthier Lifeâ€œI donâ€™t have the time to exercise!â€
â€œI am busy! How can I spend 10 or 15 minutes to just sit there, closing my eyes and meditate?â€
â€œI donâ€™t have the room to do this!â€
â€œI canâ€™t stretch like that!â€
â€œAt that specific time, Iâ€™m not available!â€
Do all the above sound familiar to most people who want to stay healthier but could not do so due to a number of reasons? The list can go on endlessâ€¦â€œHow nice if I can get to do something easily â€“ at anytime and anywhere, and stay healthy!â€
Yes â€“ now you can!
By just changing the way you breathe
, thatâ€™s all!
No, Iâ€™m serious!
Most of us, in fact 98% of North Americans do not breathe correctly. Friends, co-workers, students, clients and vendors I came to know around me do not breathe correctly. Some of my friends I keep contact with through the Internet know how to breathe correctly but do not do so.
There are two reasons why they do not do so. First, they do not know the correct breathing methods
. Secondly, they know but do not know how to learn and practice
so that it becomes a habit. I would like to share in this article on how to solve these two reasons so that you too can breathe your way to healthier life and well-being, easily at anytime and anywhere.
First of all, let me explain what are not the correct breathing methods then only move on to the correct method. Most people breathe using the chest or the upper diaphragm. Worst still if they breathe through the mouth. Breathing in this way will result in shorter, shallower and coarser breath.
Shorter, shallower and coarser breath does not allow the air to go in deep enough to oxidize the cells in the lungs. This of course results in lesser oxygen intake into the blood systems. Breathing through the mouth will let unwanted elements in the air to go into our blood systems. Mouth breathing is one of the reasons that cause you to snore in your sleep.
Even if you are tired or gasping for air after strenuous sports or activities, try to breathe through the nose, except when you are swimming.
The correct breathing pattern is long
and in smaller flows
. Long breath allows more time for the lung cells to be oxidize and send more oxygen into the blood system. This increase the metabolism rate, and increase blood circulation throughout your mind and body.
I believe most of you know what deep breathing is about, and Iâ€™m sure some of you have done this. Felt better each time you did deep breathing? Of course, you did. I will explain this from the Chinese point of view why deep breathing is good.
In meditation practice, martial arts or qigong practice, one of the requirements to make these practices effective is to â€œSink the Qi into the Dantianâ€
here means vital energy, and in the same time â€“ air. Dantian
is the acupuncture point (acu-point) at 1-2 inches below the navel which gathers the vital energy Qi for our body.
Sinking the Qi into the Dantian â€“ can be achieved through long and deep breathing. With more vital energy coming into your body, your energy level will increase, and you will have a healthier and clearer energy body.
Breathing should be done in smaller flows. This will result in a calm and relaxed disposition and composure.
How to achieve all this?
The secret to long and deep breathing, with smaller flows is to breath with your abdomen or lower diaphragm. This is called Abdominal Breathing
Abdominal Breathing is the key areas taught by most instructors, whether they are Tai Chi Chuan instructors, martial arts shifu, Qigong master, Yoga guru or meditation masters. From my experience in energy healing â€“ my master emphasizes on abdominal breathing during healing session and energy meditation!
Unfortunately, some people took abdominal breathing lightly. Sad to say, some donâ€™t even bother to learn and practice. Understandably, they have been breathing using the chest over the pastâ€¦ what, 10 years, 20 years 30 years? It has become their habit. So, if you want to change your breathing pattern overnight and make it a habit, you need to put in the effort to do so.
This comes to the second reason as to why people do not breathe correctly despite of knowing the technique.
First of all, I came to know that most instructor tell their students about abdominal breathing. Some showed them how to do it. But the students have to consciously doing it, and in the same time focus on the movements, motions, postures, steps etc and etc and soon before that, their forgot about their abdominal breathing!
Most of them focus on the form, not on the essence! I have a Tai Chi friend from New Zealand who shared with me that his friends do Tai Chi, but do not feel Tai Chi. Breathing forms the essential parts of the practice and for you to understand and â€˜feelâ€™ the flow of Tai Chi.
Secondly, I came to know friends who tried to practice abdominal breathing, and they got confused and breathless â€“ donâ€™t know which is which: the chest or the abdomen! They gave up instantly.
Thirdly, I myself took almost 2 years of conscious and constant practice to make it a habit! Now, Iâ€™m doing it unconsciously â€“ as a habit! Thus, to consciously doing it is easy. To make it a habit takes time and effort. Thatâ€™s why most give up after that!
So, how to make it a habit?
Based on Tai Chi Chuanâ€™s healing and breathing system, plus my 23 years of experience in various meditation forms, martial arts and Tai Chi Chuan, I derived a 5-Step Systems
which I call as Tai Chi Breathing
to help my friends to â€˜habitualizeâ€™ abdominal breathing. The 5-Steps are:
- Step 1: Connect the channels with the tongue touching the upper palate.
- Step 2: Abdominal breathing by using the lower abdomen.
- Step 3: Use the nose to breathe, with the mouth tightly closed
- Step 4: Breathe deeply, with long, slow and with tiny flows of inhaling and exhaling.
- Step 5: Maintain the slow and constant breathing rhythm.
These 5 steps each consists its background and reasons, and I designed many exercises and practices for each of the steps specifically for you to master each of the steps, towards making it your breathing habit.
These steps look easy, but they require exercises and constant practice in order to make it a habit. I have friends e-mailing to me saying that how these steps helped them to keep focus and conscious effort to make abdominal breathing a habit in their life. One of them told me that he stopped smoking because of this!
Where can you get these exercises and practices. Go to my website under my name or author profile to find out more.
Till then, I wish you with great health, great joy and happiness. And may you breathe your way to a better life!
May the Energy of Tai Chi be with you! :)
C. Guan Soo
Tai Chi Chuan Practitioner
***** Copyright (C), 2005 C. Guan Soo *****
You are free to distribute or publish this article provided you do not change any of the content, and/or delete my name and URL from the article. Thank you!
About the Author
C. Guan Soo is a Tai Chi Chuan practitioner who has 23 years experience in various meditation forms, martial arts, healing, charka healing and meditation as well. He is a keen learner of eastern philosophies including I-Ching, Daoism, Buddhism, Vedaâ€™s and Jainism. He has 3 websites: http://www.TaichiBreathing.com, http://www.TaichiExerciseForHealth.com, and http://www.TaichiForYourHealth.com.