Breathing and moving are two of the most essential activities we do. Without them, nothing would function correctly, yet they are two things most people take completely for granted. My experience of teaching people about breathing is that most people laugh when first presented with the prospect that breathing is something they have forgotten how to do correctly. It is also surprising to people when you point out to them that they are often holding their breath. This is a problem because breathing IS movement, and without it, smooth coordinated movement becomes harder.
I say breathing is movement because when we breath, it causes internal movement. I don't mean internal movement in a metaphorical sense. The whole body expands and contracts because of displacement caused by the lungs filling and emptying. Without this, the blood inside the body would not be able to properly circulate. The expanding and contracting causes a tug and release on the fascia of the body as well. When our psyche is in a calm state, and our body is relaxed we can feel this directly. Any tension or fear in the psyche or in the body blocks our ability to feel this type of subtle movement. We can learn to control this tension through our breathing, and we can learn to control our breathing by coordinating our physical movements with the breath.
In daily life, we constantly are exposed to things that create certain amounts of fear or tension. It is important that we clean these things from ourselves regularly so that they are not given a chance to accumulate. From the perspective of Chinese medicine, when emotional or physical stresses enter our body, they disrupt the normal circulation. This disrupted circulation leads to accumulations, and these accumulations further block the circulation. It creates a viscous cycle.
By engaging in a healthy balance of rest and intelligent movement, we can help to clear these accumulations and clean out the stresses that are interrupting the normal physiological activity of the body. When we coordinate this type of movement with breathing, it ultimately has a restorative and healing effect on the body and mind.