Breathing exercise that aligns your body with nature
Breathing plays a critical role in the Taoist exercises.
The most basic of the breathing practices is abdomen breathing. It brings you all the way back to the way you breathed when you were a baby.
Microcosmic orbit breathing takes a step further. It is a breathing practice that allows you to align your internal universe with the external universe.
The technique gets you to circulate the vital force in your body in a loop. When you exhale, the chi energy, i.e. the vital force, move from your perineum to the top of your head along a meridian line at your back; and when you inhale, it moves from the top of your head back to perineum along a meridian at your front.
The loop is known as microcosmic, or xiao zhoutian (小周天) in Chinese.
In a nutshell, it applies the natural cycle of heaven and earth to your internal universe. This will help to cultivate your chi energy, and build more life force, so that you can be more healthy on all levels.
In the video, Dr. Robin Saraswati Markus gives a simple but clear illustration to what microcosmic breathing is, and demonstrates to you how it is performed. Beware that this is only one of the ways to activate the circulation. Eventually, the chi should move along the loop without any interference from you.
If you have not done abdomen breathing before, I would think it is more effective to begin with this simpler form of breathing practice. It is, in any case, good to know what is in store for you when you find that you are ready to venture more.
May not the space between heaven and earth be compared to a bellows?
‘Tis emptied, yet it loses not its power;
‘Tis moved again, and sends forth air the more.
Much speech to swift exhaustion lead we see;
Your inner being guard, and keep it free.
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu – Chapter 5 translated by Legge