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May 19, 2012
  1. I have a hard time breathing with the video.  Why is the pace seems so slow?

answer:  The video is paced properly.  The breathing rate is about  5 seconds in, 5 seconds out.  This is approximately the body’s resonant frequency: when one’s blood pressure rate, heart rate and breathing are in sync.  The autonomic nervous system is in harmony producing relaxation and positive emotional benefits.

If you are having trouble breathing at this rate, chances are you are not using abdominal breathing which allows one to breathe deeper and slower.  Keep practicing; your capacity will increase.

2. What is the best way to improve balance?  I have difficulty when lifting my heels in moves 7, 15, also with 17.

answer:  Please check your posture in the mirror.  Most difficulties arise when the spine is not straight and you are not standing erect.  Make sure you are not leaning, your pelvis is slightly tucked, your feet are parallel, and your  knees do not extend over your toes.  Bend your knees and look down.  When you can’t see your toes you could injure your knees.    It is better to keep the heels planted, than to practice off balance.  Look straight ahead and gradually raise your heels in very small increments as your balance improves.

3. Do you have to do each form as instructed or can you skip forms?

answer:  Each Shibashi set was designed to open various meridians and facilitate qi flow. The first set is for relaxation and opening the upper meridians, and the second works primarily on the legs.  If you want to get the full benefit of the practice, it should be performed as designed.  The movements are designed with particular attention to order, direction, # or repetitions etc.  The masters know what they’re doing.

4. My arms get tired in move 13. Why? 

answer:  If your arms get tired, chances are your shoulders are not relaxed.  If your shoulders are tensed, the chi (qi) will be blocked causing fatigue. 

5. Sometimes I’m just too tired to practice, any suggestions?

answer:  Try practicing at a different time of day.  Personally, I find practicing Shibashi is refreshing.  Try it – often fatique is caused by chi blockage.

6. I have a problem back.  Should I just skip the bending moves?

answer.  One should never ‘push’ themselves or do anything which causes pain.  For those with back problems: do not bend forward – but continue the breathing with arm motions and weight shifting.  For knee problems: do not raise and lower your body.  Just continue to coordinate breathing with arm movements and weight shifting.

7. My husband suffers from neuropathy in his legs and he will be doing it with me sitting down. OK?

answer:  If you are unable to stand, it is fine to do Shibashi sitting. For those w/ physical limitations, stress the mental… another words, one can use the mind to visualize body movements.  The mind is very powerful.

Those in wheelchairs should coordinate breathing with whatever movements they are capable of and visualize whatever movement they’re not capable of.

8. I follow his 18 step on the web in the mornings..Is getting his DVD better?

answer:  The new DVD is excellent and includes detailed explanation of form and common mistakes.  The web version is performed at a quicker pace for beginners who are not familiar w/ abdominal breathing.  It should take you about 20 min to finish.  To maximize benefits,practice morning and night twice in a row.  When doing it twice, skip the final movement (18 pressing palms) and go right into repeating the 1st movement.

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