Heavy breathing

Heavy breathing

Postby rakyat » Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:18 am

When doing Tai Chi, is it normal that your breathing gets heavier and pulse rate is higher than when you are at rest? It's almost like taking a leisurely walk for 30 minutes.
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Postby Kalamondin » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:52 pm

In the earlier years while working on lowering the stance the breathing can be heavier on account of the exertion. The breath can also be heavy if one is overexerting oneself from being a little out of shape, recovering from illness, or practicing too soon after eating.

But generally, I understand that in breathing, one should be so quiet that others in the room (including your opponent) cannot hear you.

Moreover, one's breath eventually comes to have the quality of being slow, deep, steady, unhurried, and even. I think there's a character formula about this somewhere, but don't have the reference handy. This comes from relaxing more and allowing the chi to sink to the dan tien.

If one is breathing heavily, it can be a sign of using too much muscular strength (sometimes translated as brute force) and not enough internal strength. Other signs of this are sweating and an elevated heartrate.

I don't know much about the heartrate business. I have heard that tai chi elevates the heartrate to the level of mild aerobic exercise--but I don't know if those studies were done on beginners or long-time practitioners. I suspect that a master could do a tai chi form with a resting heartrate, or pretty close, or maybe slower, but I have no idea and this is pure speculation.

Best,
Kal
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:09 pm

Kal,
It's been a while, and I don't have the text in front of me to reference, but I seem to recall that Master Ma Yueh Liang and his student, Dr. Zen Wee, in Master Ma's book, "Wu Style Taichichuan Push-Hands" say that sweating is a normal side effect of Tai Chi Chuan and does not necessarily mean that muscular force, brute force, is being overly used in the performance of TCC.
Master Ma and the doctor claim that Vagus nerve stimulation will lead to sweating among other things.
I'm certainly no expert, just recalling someting I read some time ago.
That's all I got on the subject.

Bob
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Postby tccstudent » Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:50 pm

Thanks Bob, cause when I do the long form a couple of times I'm drenched in sweat, but thats just me.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:46 pm

TCC,
Oh, yes. Me too. And everyone else I know.

Bob
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Postby Fred Hao » Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:01 am

An example is as follow.

In summer, when I sweep the floor in a one room, quickly I am sweating.
In contrast, when I play Taichi, I am not much sweating.

Why ? While in Taichi, every movement lies in trainquility and rest and letting go naturally. Most of Chi goes in, not being pressed out, sinks, flows slowly, which cool ourselves.
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:18 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
sweating is a normal side effect of Tai Chi Chuan and does not necessarily mean that muscular force, brute force, is being overly used in the performance of TCC.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the reminder...you're totally right, I thought of two examples of sweating not being about using brute strength, though it can be about that too:

1) In a qi gong book I read about a stage of tai chi or qi gong practice the body goes through a kind of "purification" process wherein the dantien begins to "heat up" as more chi is stored there. You may recall that it's also one of the "Triple Burners" or "Triple Heaters" that are chi reservoirs in the body. The practitioner can perceive the practice as making them feel hot and they are also sweaty.

This is also the stage where the increase in chi "pressure" in the dantien "furnace" can provoke trembling in practitioners who are still releasing their chi blockages. Like a pressure cooker with a rattling lid from steam trying to escape.

Later in the process, as the body begins to "burn" more efficiently, the sweating and subjective personal feeling of overheating decrease. But others, when touching the practitioners hands or feeling the air near the hands can feel heat radiating outward, though the practitioner shows no signs of sweating or exertion.

2) Also, practicing with a deeper stance (but using internal energy to support it--still moving pretty smoothly and letting the chi circulate easily, but pushing the limits of one's personal internal strength) can generate sweat.

But I've also been told that it's best not to get too sweaty, and not to strain oneself and thus dissipate chi through excessive use. My personal policy has been to let what feels easy and comfortable guide me--and this generally means that I don't break a sweat unless I slack off for awhile and have to go through the "burning it off" process again.

But then, I'm on the "relax first and let the rest follow" plan, so I'm coming at deepening my stance backwards, as it were.

Best,
kal

[This message has been edited by Kalamondin (edited 01-09-2006).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:01 pm

Kal,
I know the bubbling lid feeling. I've been there many times.
I dunno. I still sweat. A lot. And I've been doing so for a long time.
I don't feel overly exerted, or depleted, or anything like that. I just feel heat and that makes me sweat.
So does just about everyone else I know, when doing TCC.
I'm not running in rivers of sweat, it's just an overall thing, not too much but definitely there.
I've come to consider part and parcel of the experience. I'm going to get relaxed, recharged, envigorated and sweaty when I do TCC. I've never considered it overly good or a bad thing, just what happens.

Bob
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:26 pm

Hi Bob,

Yeah, everyone's different and so there are no "shoulds" when it comes to the best way for each person. We're different people and what works for you won't necessarily work for me and vice versa simply on account of differences in our prenatal constitution ("I was born this way."). But I think there are still generalizations that can be made, and I just wanted to throw some of the ones I'd heard into the mix.

Happy practicing,
Kal
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