Tai Chi Breathing: Tips for Beginners
Mindful breathing is the easiest way for beginners to start a tai chi practice. Like tai chi movements, tai chi breathing should be practiced in a relaxed, continuous way.
Here are some tips to practice tai chi breathing:
Keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Say ‘le’ in French. Notice where the tip of your tongue naturally goes. This is where you’ll want to place the tongue tip when practicing tai chi.
Inhale and exhale through your nose. Use mouth breathing only if you’re suffering from allergies, colds, or other types of nasal congestion.
Aim for a long, continuous breath without a pause between the inhale and exhale. The breath, like a circle, shouldn't stop.
Breath to and from the belly. As the belly moves in and out with each breath, your organs receive an internal massage.
Relax. Relax your eyes, your chest, your jaws. Relax everywhere else you may be holding tension.
Over time, you should find your breath being longer and deeper, with a greater sense of relaxation.
Breathe During Your Tai Chi Workout. Remember to breathe during your tai chi workout. Breathe continuously. Try not to hold your breath at any point.
As a beginner, don’t spend a lot of time and effort worrying about coordinating breath and movements. Trying to synchronize these too soon can be counterproductive and lead to a lot of stress and tension. Instead, relax and breath naturally.
Many Opportunities to Practice. Doctors report that 90% of Americans don’t fully engage their diaphragms when breathing. Although the average adult breaths ~ 18,000-30,000x per day, most people breath shallowly and hold their breath when tense, angry, or fearful. Attention to breathing can break these patterns, letting people inhale more fresh air, smoothly and calmy.
Don’t limit this type of relaxed, smooth breathing only tai chi workouts. It’s also great during normal activities throughout the day as well.
Each breath is a new opportunity to practice.
Next: Read about an especially important exercise for tai chi, standing.