Chest Breathing

This is a basic, elemental qigong breathing exercise. As the lungs expand, air goes through and pushes out any toxins. This is good for all ages and is a valuable way to focus and ground yourself. Practiced faithfully, chest breathing will benefit weak lungs and make skin noticeably smoother and more elastic, because the lungs control the health and appearance of the skin. If you do this regularly, you will see your skin quality improve, especially if you suffer from rashes, dryness, or itchiness. Chest breathing makes skin smoother and more elastic.

Make sure to use your nose to inhale and your mouth to exhale. And I do not mean loud, strong inhale and exhale. Instead, breathe silently and take your time. Never make noise or purse your lips. This exercise may be done formally, standing outside in nature between heaven and earth with eyes closed, or informally throughout the day, while you’re traveling or watching TV.

1.         Inhale slowly through your nose as you expand your chest. Keep going until your lungs are filled to capacity. Physically push your chest forward to make it as big as you can, allowing the air to automatically circulate through your lungs. Your rib cage should be fully spread, and your stomach may be sucked in slightly.

2.         Gradually push the breath out of your mouth by contracting your chest. Empty the lungs thoroughly, until your chest looks concave. The contraction is the practice. The rest of the body should be relaxed and still. Make your chest area big, then expand and contract. Practice this for 3 to 5 minutes at a time, a couple of times a day.

If you have ever studied yoga you will be familiar with the two forms of belly breathing that follow. These exercises are beneficial for PMS, releasing carbon dioxide in your cells and lungs, relieving sluggishness, and enhancing mental clarity. They also help to calm the nerves, clean the liver and gallbladder, and balance qi overall.

Faxiang Hou