Breathing Exercises for Relaxation in Body, Mind + Qi
Mind and Body Exercises: Lesson 4 of 4
This final lesson in my series four-part series on creating space in the body is all about how you incorporate cyclical, deep breathing to multiply practice and health benefits (review Lesson 1, Lesson 2 or Lesson 3). However, if you haven’t solidified your foundation in the previous practices, you may experience the opposite results in which case you would simply want to revisit and continue developing those techniques before continuing forward.
In my last two posts on creating and using space in your body (review Lesson 1 or Lesson 2), I took you through two individual and distinct processes for increasing your body’s capacity, and releasing stress and tension. Once you’ve practised each thread separately and regularly for some time and with good result, then you can integrate the two streams into one exercise to upgrade potential health benefits.
In my previous post on creating space in your body, I offered progessive energy exercises to help you open your musculo-skeletal frame in a coordinated fashion to gain maximum benefit from ongoing training. If you’re not there yet, just keep working in this direction and don’t worry about achieving the ideal in any given timeframe.
As you practice, however, you want to transition from focusing more on your nerves and less on the muscles. For students who have begun training to open the entire musculo-skeletal frame simultaneously, you want to back off from stretching as described in my previous post.
My colleague Dan Kleiman recently launched a new podcast series, Qigong Radio, to cover a wide variety of qi gong and internal martial arts related topics.
Dan invited me to join him to discuss the fundamental levels of early qi energy (nei gong) training, and how it specifically provides the foundation for and links with long-term development in body and mind.
How to Activate + Develop
Your Soft Tissues, Fluids + Qi Energy
Although internal energy arts practice and the process of embodying ever-deeper layers of nei gong is a lifetime pursuit for the most dedicated practitioners, at each increment of advancement, the associated health benefits increase significantly. Many students will sacrifice content for form, but it is the internals that supercharge qi gong, tai chi and bagua forms—that which makes all the power-generating and health benefits possible.