Abdominal/belly breathing

  1. Lie on back with head supported, legs bent at knees, feet flat on floor/bed (a pillow under knees can be useful for support). One hand resting on the chest and one just below ribcage on stomach.
  2. Slowly inhale through nose pushing up lower abdomen (as if inflating a balloon.
  3. Slowly exhale through pursed lips pulling abdomen down (as if deflating a balloon) trying to make it touch the spine.

Hand on chest should not move.
Repeat several times.

Chi as our ‘Life Force’

In terms of our health, the Chinese recognise Chi to be that factor which animates us into life.  Therefore, our vitality and ‘aliveness’ is a reflection of our level and internal distribution of Chi.  If we lack Chi, or the flow is impeded in some way, then we lack vitality and may become ill.  Within this narrow definition of Chi, we can equate it to our ‘life force’.

Such imbalances in the quantity and circulation of Chi have many causes, which include the effect of emotional disturbance, shock, unbalanced mental attitude, excessive heat and cold, extreme assault from virulent organisms, poisons or toxins, poor diet, incorrect use of the body (creating postural and / or organ stress),  accidents and so on.

So, to remain healthy or to regain health the flow of Chi must be:

Restored if it is deficient.
Unblocked if it is stuck.
Calmed if it is irritated.
One way or another it should be kept moving

Human Chi is recognised as a kind of energy field that draws Heavenly Chi downwards from above and Earth Chi upwards from below.  Practising methods of Tai Chi Exercises, which maintain awareness of the ground by ‘grounding’ the feet through stance and movement, whilst encouraging regular and mindful breathing aims to absorb both Heaven and Earth Chi.  Thereby, restoring and unblocking the channels, calming the flow and allowing it to move freely.  Resulting in a calmer more relaxed feeling by the end of a lesson.