陳至誠太極拳的呼吸

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Sink the Qi into the Dantian

 氣沉丹田

The Dantian 丹田is the energy center in the lower abdomen referred to as the elixir(Dan 丹) field(Tian 田) in Daoist breathing meditation practice, which seeks to rejuvenate the body, and replace the energy of Qi 氣 and mind/brain to prolong health and longevity. Diaphragmatic breathing in the lower abdomen and the muscle softening of Tai Chi practice boosts the Qi energy flow, lubricates the joints and clears infections, helping to keep the whole organism in good shape.

The Dantian is located 2 inches below the navel. It is a central pump that pressurizes the fluid energy of Qi flow, transforming it into a moving force to support physical activities. It helps the body move freely and easily.

In my 60 plus years of Tai Chi Chuan practice, I have noticed that the “Dantian 丹田” is regarded as a “field of magic”. However, it is not magic. When approached with a modern realistic perspective, the body can be regarded as a natural machine and the Dantian as a reservoir in a hydraulic system which pressurizes the Qi energy to produce mechanical leverage for physical movements. The resulting power is the reason why in the old days that the Dantian was imagined to be a “magic field”.

When we think of the Dantian as a hydraulic reservoir within the lower abdomen, we can then consider the Qi in the reservoir to be like fluid energy which generates the pressure to run the mechanical system, enabling the remote devices of the fingers and the toes to do the work. When the thoughts of the mind interface with neurological activities of the brain; the outcome is the remote devices of fingers and toes express the feeling of thinking and accomplish our intentional desires. 

Expanding the Qi in the Dantian creates mechanical leverage, enabling us to stand, run, jump and lift weight. It helps us to bear down and relieve ourselves when we are constipated. Decompressing to decrease the pressure in the Dantian helps us to release stress, remove muscle tension, and gently loosen the joints that will allow the entire body to be flexible, and enabling us to comfortably bend and squat.

The potential mechanical leverage of the wonderful energy of Qi in the lower abdomen travels to the remote devices of the fingers and the toes, helping us to accomplish our daily work at home or in the office with less effort and more efficiency. It also accomplishes the primary objective of martial artists: to deliver quick action against an opponent in competition or with a street mugger.

Increasing the flow of Qi energy while releasing the excess tension of muscle tissue will enhance the circulation of the Qi flow in the meridians, clearing out blockages and relieving the body’s aches and pains. Therefore, practicing the movements of Tai Chi Chuan is like a self-healing session or a selfacupressure treatment which makes our body much more comfortable and moveable!

Relaxing the mind and softening the rib-muscles and associated tissues of the ribs are the key to permit Qi energy to sink into the Dantian. The intentional feeling of Yi 意 stimulates the Qi flow into the fingers and toes to deliver the physical actions. The Yi, Qi applied and the Dantian are the primary components: they perfect the body’s mechanical leverage to create the effortless movements of a Tai Chi workout. This is “Moving Fingers with Feeling Heart”.

The fluid Qi energy in the lower abdominal Dantian seems to turn into a magical power center as the energy fluid in the reservoir transmits the potential mechanical leverage throughout the hydraulic system. The pressurized energy flow of Qi manifests like a powerful magic force to generate the real movements of the fingers and the toes.

The compression of Qi within the Dantian becomes a forceful energy flow. The awareness-feeling of Yi transmutes and boosts the flow to the intelligent fingers and toes which deliver our actions and fulfill our desires. This combination of the Yi, Qi and the “magic field” of the Dantian have been the source of my movements of Tai Chi Chuan for the past six decades. This has kept me in good shape while I’m enjoying my life. Along with my Tai Chi career, I am still able to teach, learn and share my updated information with my followers.

Especially, the electronic advance of Zoom technology keeps me even busier with online classes and provides me with more opportunity to continue learning and studying with my students as well as Tai Chi friends. Life is full excitement of learning new things every day.

The magical Dantian is not magic. It is simply the reservoir of the body’s hydraulic system, which compresses the fluid energy of Qi, transferring potential power into observable physical actions. Hydraulic systems are used in modern industry for tractors, farm equipment and other machinery. It also applies to the automobile shock-absorber, landing gear of an airplane, power lifting equipment, and so on.

In summary, the Dantian in the lower abdomen creates the hydraulic system in our body, it pressurizes the fluid Qi energy that translates into mechanical force for physical activity. The Dantian is a central pump of the body’s hydraulic system. Without the Dantian, we would confront great difficulty with physical mobility.

The Dantian is everything. The lower abdomen is the central core for dancers and skaters. They are deeply involved with pressurizing and depressurizing in the core to help their toes dance and skate on the floor. Similar to ball players, who compress the Dantian to strike the ball, in sports such as tennis, golf and so on. Believe it or not, our voice comes from the Dantian and enables us to talk, yell, sing, and scream. It also helps us punch, kick and break things, which make us real human beings.

The awareness-feeling (Yi) and the energy (Qi) are synthesized in the marvelous Dantian to create genuinely integrated physical movements. Therefore, sinking the Qi to the lower abdomen is crucially important to the practice of Tai Chi Chuan. (Monday, August 17, 2020)

 

This is a newly written article. Any comments and questions are welcome at: http://www.wccchenonline.com

William C.C. Chen Tai Chi Chuan, Inc.   1 East 28 Street, 7th Fl. – New York, NY 10016  Tel:212 675-2816

     

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