Breathing (呼吸) in Taijiquan

Breathing in taijiquan is an important portion of the taijiquan practice. If you are a beginner, then you will only need to know that you have to breath naturally during your practice. As a general rule, when the hand or body moves backward or inward we inhale (breath in). When the hand or body moves forward or outward we exhale (breath out). When the we punch or attempt to fa jin (发劲) we blow out.

Further down in practice, the taijiquan practitioner will need to learn the reverse abdominal breathing. In reverse abdominal breathing, we divide our abdomen into two parts, using our navel as a divider. Our abdomen from our navel up is the upper abdomen, and the part below the navel is the lower abdomen or dantian (丹田). When we inhale, air goes into our lungs and upper abdomen, and at the same time the qi (气) from lower abdomen travels up the Du Mai  ( 督脉, Governing Vessel) from the back of our body. Therefore, our chest and upper abdomen expand while our  lower abdomen contracts when we inhale. When we exhale, the air goes out of our lungs, and at the same time qi (气) in the mouth travels down the Ren Mai (任脉, Conception Vessel) to the lower abdomen. Therefore our chest and upper abdomen contracts while our lower abdomen expands when we exhale. This is also covered in the microcosmic orbit explanation.

Reverse Abdominal Breathing