Taiji Day 168: Slow down, Breathe

Today during Eight Pieces of Silk, I noticed that I wasn’t taking deep enough breaths, and I was running out of breath during the first motion.  It was upsetting.  This means that for a while now, I’ve been rushed, and I haven’t been taking enough time to fill my lungs and do a full gas exchange between outside and inside.  Ooops.  I began concentrating on taking the correct breaths — inhale on the expansion, exhale on the contraction, working up to making a successful form.

By the time I got through Eight Pieces of Silk, I was feeling much better, and experiencing the flow of energy through my body that I call chi. And that was delicious. What really got to me, though, was that the act of breathing correctly slowed me down.  It made my movements slower, more precise, more accurate. I hadn’t expected that.  When I breathed correctly, I flowed correctly. When I flowed correctly and slowly, my breathing was also correct. Impressive and useful.

The human lungs hold about seven pints of air, I’ve read. But most people only exchange one pint of air on each breath.  There’s a real advantage to doing a deeper, longer exchange of breath, and one of the ways to do this is to SLOW DOWN.

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