Paul Cavel is the founder of Tao Arts London, editor of the monthly Tao journal, Inner Quest, life coach and senior Tao meditation arts teacher. Since 1987, Paul has studied nei gong science, the I Ching and Lao Tzu’s Water tradition of Taoism in-depth, including qi gong, tai chi, bagua zhang, Taoist breathing, Taoist yoga, qi gong tui na energy healing and meditation.
Breathing Techniques for a Healthy Heart + Kidneys
Deep Breathing Techniques, Lesson 4 of 6
Deep, internal breathing has many dimensions and benefits as I discuss in my feature article on Tao diaphragm breathing, which I recommend reading before moving on to these more advanced breathing techniques that target the kidneys and upper back. Everything you have learned so far remains in the programme: the diaphragm, belly and sides of the body are active, and now we’ll add a nice massage for the kidneys and back of the heart. The exercises that follow will not only help relax and calm any anxieties but, when practised over time, can also contribute to a healthy mind and body.
All internal enery arts exercise ultimately intends to stimulate qi flow in your body. In fact, one reason external, postural alignments are a main focus in the beginning is to help optimise fluid (such as blood) and qi flow. So now that you have the basics of balancing your outer casing in your form, we’ll look at two primary flows in the body: ascending and descending qi.
So far we’ve been practising exercises for balancing the left and right sides of the body with a focus on the legs, the arms and the turning of the body. Now we’ll look at balancing the upper and lower body in qi gong, tai chi and bagua.
Now that you’ve reviewed the basics of balancing the legs, let’s look at how to balance the legs while in a forward-weighted stance. Many practitioners find that when assuming tai chi or other postures where the front leg carries the bodyweight, the legs, especially the knees, become compressed.
You definitely don’t want to programme this position into your body memory because, over time, you will cause more harm than good. And you definitely want to avoid knee injuries at all costs!