A car tire has around 35 pounds of pressure. If the pressure gets too low, the road pushes back harder than it can withstand. If you go to a truck stop in the U.S., you see drivers kicking their tires or even hitting them with a club to make sure they’re properly inflated. It is similar to wrapping a precious vase in bubble wrap before sending it in the mail.
Taoists say the same thing is true with our body. When our internal chi pressure is weak from being sick, becoming old (in body, not in age), our structure acts like a flat tire. Reverse breathing and chi-packing breathing are techniques that increase the “chi pressure” in the cavities of the body. Have you ever seen demonstrations by Shaolin monks that are hit by baseball bats and maintain their structure? Taoists believe these practices train one to ward off physical blows and energetic stresses from the environment. Sickness is sometimes call ‘evil winds’ that enter the body. A strong chi pressure wards off evil winds.
The organs and glands have a layer of fascia around them. Fascia is one of the most interesting parts of the human physiology and it can store chi pressure to strengthen its role as a protective layer. Through the standing postures of Embracing the Tree and Holding the Golden Urn in Iron Shirt Chi Kung, the fascia, tendons, and structure are stretched and the abdominal cavity is filled with energy. When the body is filled with energy, toxins, stuck emotional patterns, and trapped heat/cold don’t have room to fester.
Learn more about these standing postures in:
The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching: Transforming Your Lead Into Gold