This is the first Taoist Breathing For Riding exercise, in the course Equestrian Tai Chi To Build Confidence Riding. There are sixteen breathing exercises altogether. Please practice the exercise below, and if you have any questions, just send me an email.
To begin your breathing exercises, first of all give yourself an opportunity to become aware of how you breathe normally. Your breath is a very good indicator of how you are feeling internally and the underlying nature of your mind.
- Stand or sit comfortably with your eyes and mouth closed and just breathe as you normally do, in and out through your nostrils.
- After a little while, start to pay attention to how you are breathing.
- As your breath comes in, is it smooth or is it jerky in places?
- Do you hesitate a little before you breathe in?
- Do you hold your breath momentarily before you exhale?
- Do you feel tension if you try and do this?
- Do you prefer inhaling to exhaling or vice versa?
- Is your inhale longer or is your exhale longer?
- Or are your inhale and exhale the same length?
- Does your breath change as it enters different parts of your body, does it stay the same, or does it become tenser or smoother in different parts?
- As you gradually become accustomed to how your breath feels, it will help you to understand the underlying nature of how your mind feels.
- If you can relax your breath, this will allow you to relax your mind.
- Do your find that your emotions change if your breath changes?
- As you are breathing, notice if you holding tension in different parts of your body?
- If you are holding tension, try and release that tension when you exhale.
- Continue to breathe like this for a little while, giving yourself the opportunity to understand what your breathing pattern is.
- Let your breath become soft and quiet and relaxed. Notice what that does to your mind.
- Continue to breathe like this for a little while until you feel calm and peaceful.
In the mornings, when you wake and before you do anything else, watch you breath for a minute or two. You will get to know your breathing pattern by doing this.
Now that you have an idea of how you breathe normally and how your breath can relax you and affect the mood of your mind, you can practice the rest of the exercises.