Are You Having Trouble Feeling Your Chi?


There are three ways you can experience Chi when you do Tai Chi long enough.

Your hands and fingers become warm and swollen. Tai Chi practice increases blood flow to your hands and fingers. This is a sure sign that your Chi is flowing. You may also feel a tingling sensation in different parts of your body, and it usually starts with the fingers. This tingling sensation is related to the relaxing and opening of the tissues, which causes the Chi to flow in your fingers, allowing your blood to circulate more.

Every time you practice Tai Chi, your body is becoming more aware of the bioelectric charge it houses. The bioelectricity is responsible for the heart beating and eyes blinking. There is electricity in your body. The average human, at rest, produces around 100 watts of power. Over periods of a few minutes, humans can comfortably sustain 300-400 watts. In the case of very short bursts of energy, such as sprinting, some humans can output over 2,000 watts. I know it’s hard to believe, but your cells conduct electrical currents. Electricity is required for your nervous system to send signals throughout your body and to your brain, making it possible for you to move, feel, and think.

Breathwork is the third valuable tool through which you can experience Chi.

But some people have trouble feeling their Chi and they have trouble feeling energy in their bodies.  All you have to do is quiet your mind.  Then learn some Tai Chi.  Practice daily by using my methodology for investigating the sensation of Chi.

What I call the three B’s.

There are three ways you can experience Chi. You feel Chi via your blood, bioelectricity, and your breath.

It’s safe to say that it’s easiest to contact Chi as a felt experience through your breath. Breathwork is very important and it’s important when you practice Tai Chi.

Here are some dos and don’ts allowing you to connect with your Chi and help your body feel good.

1. Breathe from your nose rather than from your mouth, unless your nose is congested. Do not use your mouth because the nose and the nostrils contain hairs from follicles that filter the air going in.

2. Keep the tongue on the roof of your mouth, where the hard palate is located. This is where the tip of your tongue touches when you say the word “le” in French. This connects two important acupuncture meridians called the “governing” and “conception vessels.”

3. Do not hold your breath. I know there are some meditation techniques out there showing you how you can use your breath by holding it in. This supposedly gets you into a meditative state. However, that’s not done in Tai Chi because we want to focus on more natural movements of your breath – continual movements that keep the flow going.

4. Breathe deeply. Add some time to your breath, both the inhale and exhale. Start with one or two seconds of each, then work your way up to three to four, and finally maybe get to five to six seconds of each breath.

5. Relax the chest and breathe with your belly. A lot of times we use our chest and our lungs and project the chest out to push air in to give us strength. Instead, what we want to do now is just breathe with your belly. This will strengthen your diaphragm, enabling air to move more efficiently through your body.

6. Use each breath to relax your body. Use your exhales to focus on relaxing tensions in your physical tissues and nerves. Over time, do the same with the inhales. I know that in Tai Chi, we teach that the exhale is very important, but the inhalations are equally important. Keep in mind to use your inhale just as well, to focus on relaxing your body.

7. As your belly relaxes, allow your breath to put deeper pressure on your internal organs. As you inhale, feel the pressure on your internal organs. This is very good for your organs to be able to move and exercise in this manner.

8. Make your breath silent. When you breathe more slowly, and more deeply, your eyes start to relax and you start to do your steps very well.

From step 1 to 7, you get a sense that your breathing disappears. You’re no longer breathing in air. Everything becomes nice and silent. The notion is: you are now breathing in Chi and not air. From that moment forward, you’re going to use your mind to direct your Chi flow from the outside to the inside and vice versa. This results in your breath, energy, and consciousness to be all linked together.

Now, you’re ready to consciously focus on coordinating your breath with your movements.

In my Tai Chi movements, I coordinate my inhales with my hands moving away from my torso. When I inhale, my arms and hands move away from my body. When I exhale with my movements, my hands come towards my torso. With each breath, you can physically create a regular pressure that builds up over time inside your abdominal cavity.

This strengthens your entire body and the movements of your bodily fluids, bringing you strength and vitality. So, your health and longevity depend on your ability to move your Chi.

Let’s spend some time with Chi and coordinate your breath with your movement.

1. Relax, exhale. Step to the side.

2. Shift the weight.

3. Turn in, exhale, then relax. Let everything go.

Then, we’re going to:

1. Energize the fingers up.

2. Exhale, sink back down into your feet.

3. Energize the fingers.

4. Relax back down, and exhale all the way. 

5. Turn and energize.

6. Shift the weight, and exhale all the way, sinking down.

7. Energize, having one hand up and one hand down.

8. One hand faces the other. Lift your heel, turn, step, and exhale into your right foot. 

9. Energize and make the shape to ward off.

10. Turn, shift the weight back, and exhale all the way.

11. Energize, and roll back. 

12. Shift the weight forward, exhale into your right foot.

13. Energize, and press. 

14. Shift your weight back, open your arms, shift your weight forward, and exhale all the way.

15. Energize, and push.

16. Exhale, winding up.

17. Energize, and open.

18. Exhale, step back and drop.

19. Energize, cross your hands.

20. Exhale, bring your hands down, relax, and exhale all the way.

What if you can unleash a lot of Chi, giving you physical strength? 

What are these main and secondary acupuncture meridians, channels, gates, or points along the body to which you can move your Chi energy through?

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  1. Anne Spenner

    What do you mean, “energize the fingers?@

    • Irving Yee

      Hi Anne,
      The movements in the tai chi form come from activating the fingers as part of your breath. The fingers extend and expand outward when you make a posture.


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