After going into detail about regulating the body in the last couple posts it’s now time to dive into regulating the breath. Take a deep breath. Notice did you breath from your chest or your belly? A lot of people suck in their stomach and expand their chest when they take a deep breath. This kind of tense thoracic breathing is actually counter productive. Most people take deep breaths to relieve tension. But when you are breathing by expanding your chest it does the exact opposite it contributes to anxiety and hypertension not relaxation and stress reduction. So you might be asking well then whats the best way to breath. The best most efficient breathing is deep abdominal breathing. Watch a baby breath, when he/she inhales the belly expands when he/she exhales the belly contracts they don’t try to breath like this they just do it naturally. We all tend to over the years abandon our earlier ways for the more inefficient chest breathing. It’s time to be more child like!
Allow your abdomen to expand on the front, sides, and back all in unison during the inhale and contract back in unison during the exhale. You can even break it down into different sections to help you integrate it easier . You could breath from your front for a round of ten breaths then your sides for a round of ten breaths also your back for a round of ten breaths and then finally all of them at once for a round of ten breaths. Don’t worry if at first you aren’t able to feel your sides or back expanding. Just keep your attention on them and eventually they will slowly start moving. It’s not a pronounced movement especially in your lower back but it is definitely there. Do this for five to ten minutes before jumping into your Qigong workout. It will help you to enter the Qigong state easier and faster because you won’t have to spend the first part of your workout processing all the stress and tension you have been holding onto for that day.
Over time your breath will be come slower and deeper almost to a point where it feels like your breath is so deep, smooth and long it has stopped. When this stage comes don’t worry trust the wisdom of your body. Your breath has become effortless at this point you feel almost as if you have become one with the breath. This is a deeply rejuvenating state just allow it to happen you can not force it. When it does happen feel it revitalizing and healing your body, mind and spirit.