Have you ever noticed how a full, deep breath of air can calm your mind and relax your body? In fact, the way in which you breathe is so powerful that just a few minutes of breathing practice can completely shift your nervous system. This makes your breath an effective tool for all kinds of positive transformations, including elevating your immune system.
In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, your immune system is closely connected to your lungs and breathing. How you breathe directly impacts the strength of your immune system (Wei Qi), so it’s important to understand the role stress plays in your health and well-being.
In this blog, we discuss the relationship between your immune system and how you breathe. We also share a simple yet powerful breathing practice that can help boost your immune system and give you more energy.
Breathing and Your Immune System
When you’re feeling stressed, your sympathetic nervous system becomes activated, which is also known as “fight or flight.” This state causes your body to become tense and your breathing to become quick and shallow. Unfortunately, the tension in your body depletes your internal energy and weakens your immune system.
It’s important to shift your nervous system to a parasympathetic state, known as “rest and digest,” to avoid activating your fight or flight response. When you’re in a parasympathetic state, your mind is relaxed, and all parts of your body receive the nourishment they need. One of the most effective ways to shift into a parasympathetic state is through slow, deep breathing exercises combined with Qi Gong movements.
Here’s a breathing practice you can use to apply these principles and boost your immune system.
Qi Gong Practice to Boost Your Immune System
This routine includes three simple yet powerful exercises to calm your nervous system and activate your Wei Qi. To start the practice, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and relax your body.
Tapping On Your Chest
Once you’re standing in a relaxed position, start tapping your chest gently with light, loose fists. As you tap, alternate your hands and take a few deep breaths.
This is an “activating” designed to awaken your internal energy. You’ll feel your body becoming alive as you tap your hands on your chest. Next, move your hands around so that you’re tapping on all parts of your torso.
After a minute or two, stop tapping, let your hands hang by your side, and take another couple of breaths. You may feel a slight buzzing or tingling in your body as your energy circulates. When you’re ready, we’ll do Wave Breathing.
To start this exercise, put one hand on your belly and your other hand on your chest. Then, start to breathe slowly into your belly and feel that hand rise as air fills your lower abdomen. As your belly becomes full with air, start to inhale into your mid-abdomen and then your chest. Once your lungs are completely full, start to release the air slowly from your chest, and then your middle abdomen, and then finally your belly.
This exercise is called “Wave Breathing” because your abdomen should resemble a wave as you breathe. With each inhale, your belly rises first, then the middle of your abdomen, and finally, your chest. On your exhale, your chest drops, followed by your middle abdomen, and your stomach.
Try to go very slow and deep with this practice. It’s not about how many breaths you take but how slowly and deeply you breathe. Also, have the intention of keeping your mind focused on each breath, so your mind doesn’t wander. Through this process, you’ll feel stress melt away and tension disappear.
Buddha Lifts Up the Earth
After a few minutes of Wave Breathing, it’s time to integrate gentle, flowing movements. This exercise is called “Buddha Lifts Up the Earth.” It complements the breathing practice you just learned.
You’ll continue doing the Wave Breathing practice, except that you’ll slowly raise your hands upward on your inhale. At the top of your inhale, your hands should be extended above your head. Let your hands lower slowly on your exhale until they’re resting next to your waist at the bottom of your exhale.
As you do this practice, try to feel your body enter into a state of flow. Feel your entire body expand with each breath, releasing tension and tightness as you exhale. Allow the energy to move you instead of doing the movements yourself. Throughout this practice, imagine your Wei Qi growing and strengthening within your body.
You can do this practice for as long as you’d like, but try to do it for at least three to five minutes. When you’re ready, bring your feet together and both hands back to your lower abdomen. Take a moment to center your Qi, and then take that feeling with you into the rest of your day.
Learn More Qi Gong Breathing Practices to Boost Your Immune System and Elevate Your Internal Energy
If you’re interested in learning more powerful breathing practices to boost your immune system and experience more energy, be sure to check out The Breathwork Online Course.
In The Breathwork Online Course, master Qi Gong teacher Lee Holden teaches numerous Breathwork practices designed to help boost your immune system, fortify your internal energy, and experience more joy in everyday life. By learning these practices, you can become your own ‘energy healer’ without leaving your home.
Because this is an online course, you can enjoy Lee’s teachings wherever and whenever works best for you. Click on the banner below to discover how breathwork can help you cultivate health and vitality.