I am always amazed at how much my breath and my tai chi affect each other. One morning recently, I decided to do my forms really slowly. It normally takes about 8 minutes to go through the Sun 73. Today I took 14 minutes. Long, slow breathing during each movement. Typically 2 breaths during each movement when I normally use 1.
What a different experience. Lots of snap, crackle, and pop as my joints loosened up. Keeping the breath calm and steady really stabilized me. I was pretty solid on the kicks and steps. My balance was good and my timing was steady and consistent. At the beginning, I was using my breath to time my movements. At the end, it seemed like the tai chi movement was controlling my breath.
It seems that focusing on my breath really calms me (like it should) and I need to combine that with other principles during my practice.
Note: I don't recommend this practice for beginners. Know your forms first. Understand the principles and practice them. Then work on your breath.
© 2013 Eric Borreson