During fall practice we slowly build awareness of the breath and and the body. The energies are slowly withdrawing from nature and feel less intense as time goes by.
Exercise 1. Sit or stand in a relaxed position. Observe your breath without interrupting it. Describe exactly how the breath flows through your nostrils, how it expands your body and then how it leaves. There is not need to intentionally alter the breath by making it deeper or longer. At this stage we approve the breath the way it is.
Homework 1. Observe your breath throughout the day. Note all times and activities when your breath is shallow, suspended or intensified. Take notes and review them on daily basis. Remember to approve the breath and do not change it.
Exercise 2. Your breath can be felt from the inside of your body and from the outside. Use your hands to touch your throat, chest and your belly or other places where you think you can feel your breath. Examine your body before Tai Chi practice and after to observe changes.
Homework 2. After completing Homework 1 for a week, you can begin working on a new assignment. Now you are aware of all situations when you are holding your breath or when it is shallow. It is time to analyze and summarize all those situations. What do they have in common? Can the be categorized and classified?
Exercise 3. As in Exercise 2, search for feeling the breath with your hands but this time explore larger areas. Can you feel the breath on your back, foot, arms, etc? Examine yourself carefully before Tai Chi and after. Compare your findings with the previous observations.
Homework 3. After completing Homework 2, return to Homework 1 and again observe all days and times when your breath is suspended or shallow. Describe your findings in a similar manner as before and compare with your first results. Any conclusions?
Exercise 4. While breathing out let the air through your throat and effortlessly make a sound hhhmmm using your natural frequency and volume. Observe carefully how the sound begins, feels within your body and how it fades together with the breath. Listen to the sound of your voice and the voice of other participants. How does it sound to you and how does it feel?
Homework 4. Take hhhmmm outside of the classroom. You can use it while walking on the streets, studying or doing chores. How would you describe the effects of the sound on your breath? Would you try to use the sound when the days and times of suspended breath are arriving? Take a note of your findings.