Do you swim? Do you sing? Maybe, you do swim or sing or you do both. But what does this have to do with Tai Chi?
Well, let’s examine them one at a time…
If you know how to swim, you surely know how to float and you need to breathe deeply whenever you submerge yourself under water and you breathe with your stomach.
Being able to float and breathing through your stomach are some of the first things that your swimming instructor would have taught you.
Sure there are people who know how to swim who don’t breathe into their stomach. They still can swim though, but probably with a bit more effort.
For a lot of people, singing is purely for entertainment and fun. But if your parents or you hire a teacher so that you can sing like a nightingale, you’ll be taught the proper way of projecting your voice and to breathe properly using your diaphragm or stomach.
This is the way you can increase the strength, power, and versatility into your singing. The muscles in your stomach are stronger than the muscles in your throat. Hence, by breathing through your stomach, you’ll have better vocal control and be able to ‘throw out’ or ‘project’ your voice.
Connecting these two to Qigong & Tai Chi
There’s one thing in common that Qigong, martial art, yoga, and meditation have with Tai Chi: All these practices focus on your breathing, and once again – they instruct you to breathe with your stomach.
Breathing with your stomach is called abdominal breathing.
Actually, one can perform Tai Chi or any passive exercise without worrying about how they breathe. But what they’re doing is depriving themselves of the maximum benefits that they can gain from practicing these exercises.
Qigong and Tai Chi are basically the same. Qi translates to energy or air in English … and air here pertains to your breathing. Therefore, the key to all these practices is abdominal breathing or simply the proper way to breathe.
So the common denominator to swimming, singing, and Tai Chi is abdominal breathing in order to derive the greatest benefits and effects.
But what does abdominal breathing has to do with me if I don’t swim, sing or practice Tai Chi?
Well, if you want to be healthy, stay healthy, increase your health, and live a healthy life, breathing through your stomach can help you inhale more oxygen into your blood increasing the amount of energy and oxygen to your cells which in turn makes your body stronger and healthier.
In Qigong and tai chi, the most important aspect of these practices is your breathing, abdominal breathing to be exact.
In other words, if you practice Qigong or Tai Chi, you’ll merely get the least benefits without breathing properly.
As mentioned a short while ago, breathing through your stomach can help you inhale more oxygen into your blood increasing the amount of energy and oxygen to your cells. And you’ll achieve this even without performing Qigong or Tai Chi although you’ll get a wider range of health benefits if you practice these two relaxing exercises.
It’s not too late to adjust your breathing pattern. You can do it anytime and still reap the benefits of proper breathing.
Abdominal breathing will help you stay as healthy as possible although we would recommend also doing Qigong or Tai Chi for even greater benefits.
It will be easy to concentrate, focus, and be alert at all times by simply performing abdominal breathing.
Heather Shultz is a licensed acupuncturist in Marlton, NJ with advanced training in modern acupuncture techniques and traditional Asian therapies.