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武文玲 编译

Breath: Keep Fitness in a Small Space W

In a small space, simple belly breath is a true key to centered health as you encounter any stress as you go to work, sit in the office or go to bed. By Ken Rosen

hy a small space? Why not a big space or big gym? The Yang Yang go go of the internet age makes

the small space or small room a refuge, wheth- er it be a bedroom, a hotel room, or even an office. Most of the time, we are all in our heads; usually near a computer or a TV with worries over work or personal matters. The small space is the best place to find time for better mind/ body balance. Small space fitness is not limited to a per-

sonal space like a bedroom. Some small space fitness ideas can be practiced in the subway, in an airport waiting area, in a bus, or in an office waiting area. Small space fitness is not about training for the future, but about embracing the present moment. Integrating small space fitness ideas can help balance your body and mind in practical everyday ways. In a small space, there’s no excuse not to

work on some mental, physical, and spiritual fitness. No fancy clothes to buy or fit into. No big expense. No machines, props, or trainers needed. Only some discipline and pockets of time are needed. Small pockets of time after you wake up, on the way to work, before you sleep or after you check your computer for an update. Save pockets of time to tune yourself physically and mentally. The small space is city life’s refuge. The

small space is a safe environment to do self- work whether it is physical or mental. It is the yin portal in a very Yang world. Breath: Your immediate connection to the world around you. The word breath comes from the word root

for burn or heat. It represents the liberation of steam, heat, or vapor that rises when something is cooking. Likewise, the character for Qi in Chinese represents a pot of rice cooking and steam rising above it. The idea is that the finest, most imper- ceptible vibration of something is like a breath. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our lungs

are the organ that governs our Qi (energy or breaths) in our bodies. Described like a delicate, wet, and fleshy umbrella covering the heart, the lungs govern the rhythm of our breath and our lives. Pumping like bellows around the fire of the heart, the lungs compress air out of the body and then inhale fresh air in again. The character for lung which is considered

one organ with two branches shows the flesh radical which is part of most organ descrip- tions. On the right, the second part of the ide- ogram for lung represents plants which creep on the ground and continually branch out and divide. This idea of plant growth and diver- sification reflects the natural structure of the lung fibers. Within the five element system, the lungs are related to the metal element. The metal element is reflected in our ability to know what to take in and also what to let go of in life. This is physically reflected in our proc- ess of breathing. Because the lungs are the most intermediary

organ between organism and the environment, they are subject to disease more than any other organ. Also, they regulate Qi, immunity, and water metabolism. If a body is overburdened with too much dampness/phlegm, then the flower of the lungs – the nose – will be blocked and congested. Thereby, give the body an alarm bell to de-congest itself. Often, more water can help dissolve the phlegm and provide for the free cir- culation of Qi in the body again. As the old saying goes, the solution to pollution is dilution. Respiration comes from the word root for

spirit as do inspire, aspire, perspire, and expire. Breathing is our most natural and immediate connection to the world around us. Try hold- ing your breath for over a minute. You will be quickly reminded of the necessity and sanctity of breath. Clear, full, and fresh breaths expand and diffuse energy throughout the body. Breath is central to all disciplines in life.

Whether you are a dancer, a yogi, a mediator, a qi gong master, a swimmer, or a kick boxer; conscious breathing improves your practice. In fact, breath is the starting point from which all other training flows. You will not be having a great class of aerobic dancing or a good Tai Qi practice if you are not working with your own breath. In fact, the character for breath in Chinese shows the exhale first. Often times in life, first we need to fully empty ourselves in order to fill back up again. Conscious breathing is the only control we

have over the involuntary rhythm of our beat- ing hearts. Slowing your breath also slows the beat of your heart. More importantly, when your breath slows, so do your thoughts. Slow, full breaths allow for a calm centeredness to

flood your whole being. Rapid, shallow breaths create a scattered, hurried, and excited sense in you. It’s that simple. The key is to remain deep in breath so you can remain calm in the face of any stress life may bring you. Practice: Breathe - long, slow, and deep. Put down your watch. Turn the clock around. And breathe.

Stand. Sit. Lie down if you can. Expand your chest, lengthen your spine. Imagine your lungs as soft balloons that stretch and expand with super elasticity. 1) Slowly let your diaphragm (the mus-

cle guiding your breath just under your ribs) contracting your abdominal area toward your spine. All the muscles in your abdominal area and the sides of your body are slowly engaged by squeezing old, stale air out of the body. Pull your belly button up and toward your spine. 2) Now, inhale by expanding your abdomi-

nal area, slowly. Fill yourself up with air slowly. 3) Slowly, let go of the air in a wave-like

motion. Again, use your diaphragm as a slow guiding force with your other abdominal mus- cles following closely behind by squeezing out any old stale air. Follow this slow undulating method of

breathing for more or less than one minute. Feel a soft, calm centeredness permeate your whole body, as though, your whole body is breathing with the gentleness of an ocean swell. Try it next time after sending an e-mail.

Ken Rosen Spa and TCM Specialist Ken Rosen has been studying medicine since he was diagnosed with cancer over 25 years ago and has a Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. He has also worked closely with world renowned authors, Dr. Andrew Weil, Paul Pitchford, and Harriet Beinfeld.

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