For the qigong portion of our Portland Tai Chi class today we worked the Four Count breathing set for half an hour. This is one of the simplest forms we teach at the studio. It can be worked for anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours, if you felt so motivated. I encourage you all to try it for the half hour we worked today.

The Breathing Pattern from the Portland Tai Chi Class:



  1. Inhale while lifting with the hands to the top of the chest.
  2. Exhale while pushing out at shoulder height
  3. Inhale while drawing in at shoulder height
  4. Exhale while pushing down to the waist.

Portland Tai Chi ClassThese easy movements are done in perfect unison with the breath; the arms finish their movement exactly as each breath cycle completes. As you work the set use the breath as a touchstone to focus the mind. Any time you become distracted by thought or event, simply turn your attention back to the breath and the movement. Now begin to stretch the breath. The inhale and exhale should be for an even comfortable count, say 6/6. As you sink into that rhythm proceed to an 8/8, 12/12, 20/20, etc. A reasonable goal for the average practitioner would be to reach the point of comfortably taking two breaths a minute. Comfortably is the key word there…. If you push the breath stretching to the point where you feel as though you are straining then it is counter-productive.

Breath is one of the first keys to the practice in our Portland Tai Chi and Qigong classes. It is absolutely vital to health and well-being.

Contact us if you’d like more information about our Portland Tai Chi classes