Tao Mae Preliminary breathing

One of the key focuses of Qigong practice is mastering the art of breathing. How we breathe has a vital effect on our well-being physically, mentally, and spiritually. As you gain more control of your breathing, you gain more mastery of the rest of your body.

Whether you are practicing qigong for the purpose of health, martial arts, spiritual development, healing, or other benefits it is important to learn mindful breathing techniques to promote blood circulation, relaxation, energy, oxygen to the brain and cultivation of vital chi energy. Normal breathing is governed by the autonomic nervous system and doesn’t require any conscious thought to make it happen. Each breath you take delivers oxygen and ultimately, energy, to your lungs for distribution to the cells of your body.

How we breathe affects our body’s nervous system and is key to what happens inside our bodies. Qigong teaches the types of breathing that will unlock a healthier way to cope with the stresses of life by reducing the effects of the body’s stress response and stimulating the relaxation response in the body..

Our bodies are designed to respond to danger with a built-in ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Adrenalin and cortisol are released which increase blood pressure, blood sugar levels, muscular tension, and suppress the immune system. This creates a temporary boost of power and energy to overcome or get away from the situation, which is beneficial in that moment, but when we are under constant conditions of stress our bodies live in a permanent state of fight-or-flight.

Living under constant stress affects clear thinking and our ability to put things into perspective. Small issues, and larger issues become blurred until life feels overwhelming and impossible. This can easily lead to chronic anxiety and even depression.

The Body’s increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and a suppressed immune system are at the root of most of the health issues plaguing millions of people worldwide. Qigong breathing offers a solution to this situation.

Qigong breathing teaches breath mastery. As you learn to mindfully control the speed and depth of each breath you take, your body responds in three key ways:

  • Your heart beats slower and more effectively
  • Muscles relax
  • Blood pressure decreases

Deep breathing is a signal to your body that the danger is over. The fight-or-flight hormone production stops and your body returns to a neutral, peaceful state. Your mind becomes clear and you regain perspective. This peace and calmness spills over into every part of your life.

Key Points:

  • When practicing these breathing exercises, which include abdominal breathing, always pause between inhalation and exhalation, to give the chi energy time to collect itself when you are manipulating its strength or force, or to make any necessary changes in direction during circulation.
  • Though there are certain exceptions, generally, you should always breathe through the nose, with your tongue placed in a natural resting position against the upper teeth and palate, and your lips pressed lightly together.
  • The tongue is always against the palate, because it acts as a bridge for the chi energy to pass through from the top of the head down through the esophagus.
  • Initially your practice only needs to be a few minutes in the beginning and as you progress through the Tao Mae Qigong program it will naturally lengthen as you learn and master new techniques.