I learned this Taoist energy practice as the pandemic began to take hold in Mexico City, where I am currently sheltering in place. As my teacher Ana Ximena Pérez suggested, I have found that it has great potential to help in times of fear and uncertainty. It has helped me reconnect with the wisdom and potential of my body, as well as with my sense of place on the Earth and within the natural cosmic cycles.
By focusing on moving energy in smooth orbits through the body’s energy channels, this practice can help to nourish the whole self by bringing vitality to where it is lacking and shifting excess energy from where it might be concentrated. It gives the mind a gentle, manageable and embodied task to focus on in the present, and can help shift the whole nervous system out of a state of hyper-arousal or paralysis (flight, fight and freeze responses) into a state of calmness, ease and connection.
It is best to practice this breathing at your own pace. You can do it anywhere and at any time to help you return to your centre and potentially generate a sense of safety and contentment in the present moment. It is commonly used as a centering practice in Yin Yoga and while sustaining poses for several minutes at a time.