Yoga Side Crow Pose

The Paradoxical Respiration

The tan tien is so important for the Taoists that they developed paradoxical respiration. Habitually, the abdomen expands with inhalation and then flattens with exhalation when the diaphragm ascends to push up the lungs. There is an instance when respiration does not follow this schema: when an individual has a bowel movement. In that instance, the diaphragm descends during exhalation to massage the intestines and push their content downward. The Taoist alchemists and the masters of the martial arts took up this reflex to make chi descend toward the tan tien. This exhalation extends the abdominal segment and lowers the center of gravity to ensure greater stability.41 This apparently insignificant detail corresponds to some important concerns to the martial arts. They associate the notion of being grounded (to lower the center of gravity) to that of centering (to concentrate on the center of gravity).

The Anti-Emotional Punch

To better indicate the specifics of the Chinese method, I will contrast, as before, the Chinese point of view to that of Lowen. The concrete example here is a punch.

Yoga Side Crow Pose Photo Gallery

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