跳至主要內容

The Breathing Method of Tai Chi Chuan

As we have seen the origins of Tai Chi Chuan lie in Taoism. The Taoists themselves used a special method of breathing modelled on the respiratory system of the tortoise, whose hard shell limits the outward expansion of its lungs. Its lungs are therefore forced to expand by extending down the length of its body rather than outwards, thus making its breathing deep and harmonious. The tortoise may move slowly, but it lives a long time. This is why first the Taoists and later the founders of Tai Chi Chuan adopted and adapted this breathing method.

Our heart and lungs work incessantly to keep our body alive and in good health. To maintain this state of affairs we have a duty to protect them from too much stress and strain when we engage in exercise. Most forms of exercise require lung expansion when we inhale. This expansion forces our muscles and ribs outwards thus increasing the chest’s capacity to take in air. However, this puts a lot of pressure on our lungs and can easily tire us out. In the same way, a car which is constantly travelling uphill will sooner or later develop engine trouble.

In practising Tai Chi Chuan we do not use this common method of breathing, which is particularly unsuitable for the sick and those who have passed their prime. We concentrate instead on making our movements relaxed and harmonious and our postures natural so that our breathing will also be natural and not forced.

Constant practice of Tai Chi Chuan over a period of time will make our breathing slow and deep, while our internal organs will work in a gentle and harmonious fashion. When we inhale, our diaphragm will expand not only outwards, but also downwards in the direction of the abdomen, giving our lungs more space to expand downwards also. When we exhale, our lungs contract causing the diaphragm to contract also, both inwards and upwards. The rising and falling motions of the diaphragm help our lungs to function properly. At the same time the rhythmic nature of the diaphragm’s movements act to massage our stomach and intestines, gently increasing the circulation of blood and transportation of nutrition. This whole process of respiration in Tai Chi Chuan is called, ‘The downward extension of breath to the Tan Tin.’ (a point 1 1/2” below the navel).
This is not to say that our diaphragm can or does expand downwards to the Tan Tin, but only that the effect of the downward movement of the diaphragm is to cause the other organs of our body to expand downwards or to contract in proportion to the movements of the diaphragm. This effect is most keenly felt at the Tan Tin. What has happened is that the constant practice of Tai Chi Chuan relaxes the muscles of the diaphragm enabling it to expand downwards instead of merely outwards. There is a common misconception that the air we breathe is brought down to the Tan Tin. This is an illogical and unscientific notion.


In breathing we should at all times both inhale and exhale through the nose. Our mouth should be kept shut and our tongue should rest gently against the roof of the mouth so that we can salivate and avoid a dry throat during practice. The importance of adopting this natural method of breathing is fundamental to practicing Tai Chi Chuan and reaping the benefits of doing so.

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1 預備式
2 太極起式
3 七星勢
4 攬雀尾
5 單鞭
6 斜飛勢
7 提手上勢
8 白鶴晾翅
9 摟膝抝步
10 左七星勢
11 摟膝抝步
12 左七星勢
13 手揮琵琶
14 上步搬攔捶
15 如封似閉
16 抱虎歸山
17 十字手
18 斜摟膝抝步
19 轉身摟膝抝步
20 七星勢
21 攬雀尾
22 斜單鞭
23 肘底看捶
24 倒攆猴
25 斜飛勢
26 提手上勢
27 白鶴晾翅
28 摟膝抝步
29 左七星勢
30 海底針
31 扇通背
32 翻身撇身捶
33 退步搬攔捶
34 上步攬雀尾
35 單鞭
36 雲手
37 單鞭
38 左高探馬
39 左披身
40 右分腳
41 右高探馬
42 右披身
43 左分腳
44 轉身蹬腳
45 摟膝抝步
46 進步栽捶
47 翻身撇身捶
48 上步左高探馬
49 左披身
50 右分腳
51 退步七星
52 退步打虎
53 披身踢腳
54 雙峯貫耳
55 右披身
56 左分腳
57 轉身蹬腳
58 撇身捶
59 上步搬攔捶
60 如封似閉
61 抱虎歸山
62 十字手
63 斜摟膝抝步
64 轉身摟膝抝步
65 七星勢
66 攬雀尾
67 斜單鞭
68 七星勢
69 野馬分鬃
70 七星勢
71 野馬分鬃
72 七星勢
73 野馬分鬃
74 玉女穿梭
75 七星勢
76 野馬分鬃
77 玉女穿梭
78 七星勢
79 攬雀尾
80 單鞭
81 雲手
82 單鞭
83 低身下勢
84 金雞獨立
85 倒攆猴
86 橫斜飛勢
87 提手上勢
88 白鶴晾翅
89 摟膝抝步
90 左七星勢
91 海底針
92 扇通背
93 撇身睡
94 上步搬攔捶
95 上步攬雀尾
96 單鞭
97 雲手
98 單鞭
99 高探馬
100 撲面掌
101 轉身十字擺蓮腿
102 摟膝抝步
103 上步指檔捶
104 上步攬雀尾
105 單鞭
106 低身下勢
107 上步七星
108 退步跨虎
109 轉身撲面掌
110 轉身雙擺蓮
111 彎弓射虎
112 左高探馬
113 撲面掌
114 翻身撇身捶
115 上步高探馬
116 上步攬雀尾
117 單鞭
118 合太極
119 收式