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Ocean Breathing

Ocean Breathing QigongThis is one of my favorite qigong practices and want to share it with you. If you live near the ocean, try it at the beach and feel your connection with the water and with life itself. Ocean Breathing is soothing, relaxing and energizing. It helps us balance our body, soul and spirit by building energy at the three tan tien, which are the three elixir fields, or main energy centers of the body. The lower tan tien, located at the lower abdomen, stores jing, which is our primal, sexual energy originating from our parents, which keeps our body vital. The middle tan tien, located at the heart center in the middle of your chest, stores qi which is the energy that keeps us going on a daily basis, flows through our meridians and strengthens our immune system. Lastly, the upper tan tien, located at the head, stores shen, which helps develop our mental and spiritual awareness and the connection with all of life.

To do the practice:
Stand with feet hip width apart, with your tailbone tucked in as if you are sitting on the edge of a stool. Soften the knees (not too stiff or bent), which will allow energy to flow through them easily. Relax your shoulders. Imagine a cord of light at the top of your head, connecting to the sky, stretching the spine gently. Ground yourself by taking a few breaths from your heart center and sending them down through your feet and into the earth. Now, hold your hands a few inches apart, facing each other. Imagine that there is a ball of golden light between them.

Bring your hands in front of your lower tan tien. Now, as you inhale, bring them toward the body, contracting hands in, creating a smaller ball, and as you exhale, expand hands out, expanding the ball. Once you are familiar with the breath and hand movement, add the movement of your entire body; as you contract the ball, rock back so your weight is on the heels of your feet and as you expand the ball out, rock forward so your weight is on the balls of your feet, moving your body like the waves of the ocean. Continue the combined movement of hands, body and breath as you cultivate the energy. Begin to tune into the movement of the ocean (waves and/or low/high tide). Notice the rhythm and movement of water and qi within your own body.

Continue building the jing in this way to create vitality and longevity. Keep your attention on the jing and the lower tan tien. Once it feels full and vibrant (5 minutes or so), condense the energy ball into the lower tan tien to store it there. Now, move your hands up to the level of the middle tan tien, at the heart center. Repeat the ocean movement, building the qi and your immunity. When if feels complete, store the energy there. Now, once again, move your hands up to the upper tan tien at the forehead. Repeat movement, building the shen and awareness. When it feels complete, store the energy there.

Now begin to bring your hands down, gently sweeping and collecting the extra energy around you that you have cultivated, condensing it into the lower tan tien. For women: place your right hand on the abdomen and left hand on top of the right hand. For men: place your left hand on the abdomen and right hand on top of the left hand. Seal the energy in, knowing it will be used by the body as it is needed. Feel the effects of your practice and your connection with the rhythm of life.

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