By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Master James Lu)
Breathing comes naturally to us, but research shows that most people only use 1/6 of their lung’s capacity. The ancient Chinese discovered Tai Chi, Acupuncture and many other techniques to help relieve stress, improve breathing and become stronger. Born in Shanghai, China, Master James Lu was only seven during the time Japan occupied his country.
The Japanese soldiers expected everyone to bow to them, but since Lu kept playing, they almost killed him for his insolence. Influenced by his culture, Lu realized that he had to learn how to protect himself. Lu became a private student because there were not any martial arts schools. His teacher said, “Before you take lessons, make your body ready for it. You need good speed and much strength.
All martial arts are good, but your body must be ready for that training. You have to make your inner body stronger.” Lu questioned his master and always wanted to know “why” they were performing each movement.
Lu studied martial arts, acupuncture and massage for years. He understood the body and its functions. Lu excelled in these techniques and practiced, “Until he knew which part was good, and took the good part of each discipline.” At the age of 35, Lu developed his “Five Elements Breathing Method” to help improve people’s physical and mental health abilities, “I am not a doctor. I do not cure your disease; I just put your body back to the time of your best condition.”
The practice of the method is simple, but the breaths and movements are distinctive. When mastered, the breaths and movements will naturally become one. Lu prefers to do his breathing
method in a Pine forest or park, but you can also exercise in your home as long as there is as much fresh air circulation as possible. He advises people to try to exercise at sunrise or, if that is not possible, during the day, but not at night.
Practice each of the five movements separately at first until you learn them. Lu recommends, “Practicing daily will allow your body to ad0pt a balanced flow of the movements and breathes.” In the first exercise for your lungs, he tells us to relax our arms and shoulders during the movements, and inhale as we raise our arms. Rotate our shoulders back to allow more air into our lungs. Then, we open our arms all the way in a semi-circle pointing to the sky. Exhale as you slowly bend your knees and arch your back. Lu recommends performing these exercises more than once a day. It only takes three minutes for the entire exercise. There are no rules.
Twice a day is better. You have opened all the channels in your body.” Master Lu demonstrates his “Five Elements Breathing Methods” on a 30-minute CD with explanations and suggestions to help understand his techniques and improve breathing. For information about Master Lu’s “Five Elements Breathing Method,” his CD, seminars or to arrange for Lu’s appearance at your group, please see his website. http://masterlu.com/