The second movement in our ShiBaShi Qigong routine is called expand the chest. We commence the movement with our hands above the thighs and knees are bent. As with wave hands – movement one, we bring the hands up to shoulder height and width, with elbows slightly bent and arms relaxed. From here we turn the palms of the hands to face each other. Your arms are then opened up to expand the chest, elbows are off lock and chest relaxed. Avoid pulling the arms back where the chest is sticking out and tensed.

The movement should gently open the chest during this action. Your arms and hands then retrace the opening movement back to shoulder height and width, the palms are then turned down, and we finish by pressing palms down to the start position as we bend the knees as in with wave hands. The hands and knees should finish together. Now the entire movement should be done slowly, smoothly and in a relaxed fashion. The breath should follow inhalation as the arms come up and expand out and exhalation when retracing the movement.

Benefits of expand the chest

This movement improves conditions related to the heart, lungs and nervous system. It opens and expands Qi in the chest. It is good for strengthening the heart and lungs which helps to reduce depression. By opening the chest area it gives us a sense of feeling ‘more open’, which generates a happier and more contented disposition. Regulates breathing, increasing blood supply throughout the body and to the lymph glands. The upward and downward movement of hands and arms is the same as wave hands and confers all the benefits listed for that movement (

Opening the arms and expanding the chest stimulates the lung, heart and pericardium meridians in traditional Chinese medicine( TCM ). The opening and stretching effect these meridians to normalizes Qi flow and help reduce possible stagnation and blockage. For this reason, from a TCM perspective, the effect is to reduce depression, insomnia and hypertension.

In TCM all illnesses like depression, insomnia and hypertension are thought to be caused by excesses, depletion or stagnation of the Qi in the body. Shibashi Qigong can help to rectify such imbalances by bringing about a state of homeostasis, and thus health and well-being. In western medicine depression has ostensibly been seen as a mental health issue, in TCM emotions are associated with organs, their meridian’s and Qi flow. It is interesting that modern medicine is now seeing that depression may be linked to gut health and the microbiome not just a mental disorder.

A final note

Chronic stress seems to underpin most illness and impair the body’s natural ability to heal. It impacts the smooth flow and balance of Qi in the body thus leading to blockage, stagnation and impaired flow in the meridians. This then affects the function and operation of the corresponding organs leading to illness.

ShiBaShi Qigong is so good for calming the nervous system and reducing our stress response. For people that are ill, fatigued and exhausted it is not depleting or overly strenuous, but gently tones and replenishes. Even doing the first two movements, wave hands and expand the chest every morning will make a difference.

Yours in Qigong and Taijiquan

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