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.
Please take a few minutes and share the details of your current practice with me. This will help us refine what we’re doing in the Inner Form section for the month of March. Thanks! http://dankleiman.com/2012/03/12/march-inner-form-coaching-questionnaire/
One of the most counter-intuitive feelings in qigong, Tai Chi, or Ba Gua is the way that making more space inside the body allows you open more outwardly as well. In these two Inner Form office hours video clips, I show Brendan how making more space in the kwa and shoulder’s nest can help her take a more connected step in her circle walking practice and develop a more fluid single palm change.
In this Office Hours recording, we discuss: How to extend your standing qigong practice beyond 20 minutes. The best way to deal with chronically tight muscles while standing. How to relax without collapsing internally. What’s next for your internal organs after you develop a strong breathing practice. How to connect a skill like twisting the soft tissue of the arms to the guts.
Download the Office Hours recording here.
When you see a series of exercises, you can either look at what’s common to all of them, or how they are different. In this video, I go through several variations of turning exercises, where I’m using the connection between the legs and the spine to drive body movement. Most people will look at the arms in each exercise and say, “those are not the same movements” and that’s true, but they would be missing the most important part: how the legs turn the body.
Twisting, especially the legs, is one of those techniques that sounds really cool, but it easy to overdo. Going slow and steady with twisting can help everything loosen up. My advice: at first work on feeling what naturally happens rather than trying to make something happen. Develop sensitivity. In this “office hours” clip, we look at twisting the legs in Cloud Hands and troubleshoot some of her stuck spots.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I love a challenging practice problem. One of our Inner Form members wrote to me and said, “I need more flexibility, but I don’t have time to add a whole other stretching routine to my current practice. What can I do?” I have good news if you’ve been mulling over a similar practice problem. It all comes down to how you understand flexibility.
The Wall Test is one of my favorite “breathing hacks” – a simple, fast exercise you can do to get feedback on how well you are breathing. Check out this instruction in this video and try it for yourself:
This breathing exercise is taken from a live breathing class I taught last week. In the class, we looked at several different facets of training your breathing, including: The difference between nerves, fluids, and chi when you practice.