Tai Chi Baton BreathingOct 19, 2022
The Tai Chi 'Baton Breathing" exercise is a good starting point to focus on your breathing and meditation. This practice is gentle and about allowing the body to do what it does naturally, yet to focus the mind and attention on specific movement patterns with the breath, developing focused meditation skills.
Breathing is an important component in Tai Chi because it directs energy and provides us with additional power for combat training. The intention is to utilize our life force energy (breath plus body) intentionally to reflect energy back at others and to reduce the impact on our own systems.
The Baton Breathing is the first breathing meditation practice in the series. Once this is mastered, you progress to Bubble and then Four Gates. This progressively adds more aspects to place attention whilst maintaining awareness at the first point of focus. In all meditation styles, the skill of developing awareness on multiple layers of energy points (appearing as focus) is a development tool. We use this approach in Light Body meditations, energy healing, and Kundalini yoga.
How to do the practice
Do the practice sitting or standing, then apply the practice when you're moving mindfully e.g. walking, tai chi or yoga. It is important to feel the length in the spine whilst relaxing to encourage correct posture and the best flow of energy in your body.
- Sit or stand with a neutral spine, imagining your head reaching to the sky and feet growing like tree roots into the ground. Slightly tuck the pelvis under to encourage a long lumbar spine.
- Picture an energy ball behind your naval. As you inhale the energy becomes more focused within you and centralizes at the energy center. As you exhale the energy expands and grows inside your body, giving it strength. Keep doing this for 5 minutes.
- Picture the energy ball in your pituitary center (in between your eyes in your forehead) and inhale and exhale, imagining the energy ball becoming larger as you exhale & smaller as you inhale. Keep doing this for 5 minutes.
- Connect the naval and pituitary energy balls drawing a line between them - creating a baton. Reside in the baton as you breathe. Since the difference between the naval and pituitary, how does this feel in the baton? Stay here for at least 5 minutes.
A Personal Note
I am grateful that I came to this exercise in the early days of my brain injury. It taught me a great deal about focus, attention, calming my mind, and energy control. Over time, this practice and the series with it helped me to manage my pain (migraines and body aches) and so did my balance issues.
I used it a lot when my neuro fatigue was so bad that I could not even go for a walk. These breathing patterns were the beginning of how I learned to manage pain with meditation. They take focus and control. The teaching comes from Ramel Rones's "Tai Chi Energy Patterns" DVD.
Want to learn more?
If you would like to experience the full series of three meditations,
First published www.nidsnogginfox.com on 13 FEBRUARY 2014
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