Issac Friend wants to teach the world to breathe easier. The proprietor of Chicago’s Folded Leaf School of Yoga, yoga therapist, and certified yoga instructor has spent 10 years studying tai chi and various forms of yoga, and throughout those years he has noticed one common thread—most people use only one-third or their lung capacity. His style, call Tai Chi Yoga, focuses on deep abdominal breathing—a teaching that has become somewhat of a calling for Friend. “Studying the chi is what allows me to heal people. I’ve discovered that yoga is a science and an art, but the science is in the breath.”
A by-product of his calling has been a development he calls the Tai Chi Yoga Bag, which he has patented. The idea came to him after practicing deep breathing with a telephone book over his abdomen, which allowed him to breathe deeper, relax, and pay attention to the movement of his abdomen. His invention expands on this idea: the weighted vest hangs over the neck, and covers the lungs. Practicing asanas with the bag on expands the chest cavity, intercostal muscles, and lungs to develop the respiratory system and foster relaxation. “As we grow older, the intercostal muscles stiffen, the breastbone drops, and the chest compresses,” explains Friend. “The bag lifts the breastbone into place; then the diaphragm, thoracic, intercostals, and pectorals are all working correctly.” The bag isn’t just for yoga class; Friend says that even wearing the bag while sitting can be beneficial. “I only give back what God wants me to bring too the world,” he says. “The bag is already saving people’s lives.”
Rodney Yee (right) tries on
Issac Friend’s (left) creation.