In this Inner Form office hours clip, Nate asked me about a specific issue on breathing in the Marriage of Heaven and Earth qigong.
If your main focus is Tai Chi, then I would recommend that you pretty much ignore breathing as you practice, but you should focus on opening up the body enough to facilitate deep, even, smooth breathing.
In the following clips, we look at how opening up the body will lead to deeper breathing, what stages you will go through in this process, and finally, I show him a specific technique for keeping the deep internal connections loose as he does the Marriage of Heaven and Earth qigong.
Stages of Loosening the Body Up to Access Deeper Breathing
When you work on the body from the outside-in, you will naturally go through several stages of opening the body. First, this will feel like a coordination project, but if you follow the rules laid out in the Tai Chi classics, you are actually creating more internal space, that will make breathing easier, deeper, and more nourishing.
The Arm Lift Problem in Heaven and Earth
Heaven and Earth is a great place to train the connection between the arms and the body when you're in any overhead lifting positions. You'll see these in Tai Chi to some degree, but definitely in Ba Gua, in the Energy Gates 3rd Swing, and in some standing postures designed to open the upper body. You can apply this principle to any of those practices.