Breathing – Part 1
People always ask, “How should we breathe when practising Tàijíquán太極拳?” The answer is we should always just breathe naturally as this is best way. However, if we look deeper at our breathing during our forms we will see that the breathing does change and if we examine this even more, we see there is a kind of system to this breathing. First, we must breathe through the Dāntián丹田. There are two ways of breathing through the Dāntián.
The first is called Shùn Hū Xī 順呼吸 which means Normal Breathing. During Shùn Hū Xī, as we breathe in the Dāntián goes out, and as we breathe out, the Dāntián goes back in. So inhaling and exhaling are just the opposite, breathe in – Dāntián goes out, breathe out – the Dāntián goes in. Shùn Hū Xī is the normal way to breathe, the way we breathe when we are talking, walking, siting, in fact doing most of the normal things we do – Shùn Hū Xī Normal Breathing.
The second type of breathing is Nì Hū Xī 逆呼吸, which means Reverse Breathing. As you can imagine, this is just the opposite of Shùn Hū Xī. In Nì Hū Xī, as we breathe in the Dāntián goes in and as we breathe out the Dāntián goes back out. However, in Tàijíquán, no matter what breathing we are using, we always breathe through the nose.