|Tai Chi, A Quiet Space|
George Eddy, a Tai Chi Instructor and Martial Artist, feels that Tai Chi learning and practice has A-B-C essentials: Alignment, Breathing, Centering.
A-Alignment: Standing comfortably erect and alert, shoulders relaxed and quieting the mind prepare us for Tai Chi practice. Pretending there is a string attached to the crown of your head, and feeling the gentle lift upward awakens the body like a sunrise. Picture yourself taller than you are. Coming into a posture of tallness invites the mind to expand. Taller than you are is achieved without strain in body or pushing shoulders upward. Knees are unlocked and feet are totally relaxed and connected to the Earth. Some gentle qigong movements can loosen the body or a warm up walk in nature's beauty boosts the spirit before practice.
B-Breathing: In Tai Chi and Qigong forms, gentle deep breathing calms the mind and centers the body for greater enjoyment of better health and well being. Aligned with correct posture, as you inhale, expand the Dan Tien (lower abdomen) about three finger widths below the belly button. As you exhale, gently contract the Dan Tien. *Yang, Zhen Duo, stated in a seminar that while learning Tai Chi, it is better for the beginner to concentrate on the movements. The correct breathing patterns will follow. A qualified instructor can help you. There are also many different kinds kinds of breathing for Yoga and Martial Art routines. My grandfather, Rev. P. J. Chilcote, used to say, "Deep breathing is the science of health!" Walk about, sit in a chair or lie down and breathe!
C-Centering Aligned and breathing deeply and naturally, concentrate on your Center Point. This Dan Tien is also known as the Elixir Field. This is a birthing place of all life and energy. As you practice Tai Chi and Qigong, over time, your Dan Tien builds a reserve of qi ("Chee" energy), like a bank account. My Tai Chi teacher, Jiong Gu feels, "If you have $5, spend $3 and put $2 in your Tai Chi bank account." He means to not extend your entire energy in Tai Chi practice or practice to excess. "All in balance." Qigong (Chi Kung) means Energy Excellence or Energy Mastery. Gong (Kung) Fu means "Excellence (Mastery) over Time." Tai Chi is free of schedules or agendas of learning and experiencing. Let it happen!
George suggests before Tai Chi practice, after alignment, breathing and concentration on center point to picture a white blackboard (dry erase board) and wipe all you have written or drawn on it clean and fresh. Stand in relaxation with a totally clear mind to step into your Tai Chi window of practice and enjoyment of life. Images or words may appear spontaneously on your white blackboard. What are they?
George adds the 3 M's of Tai Chi: medication, meditation, martial skill.
Medication: Tai Chi and Qigong practices (forms) are deeply involved with becoming healthier over time. Many people including Jou, Tsung Hwa; Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming; and Paul Lam, M.D. have managed or overcome physical challenges to become whole in body, mind, and spirit. Countless others feel benefit. In 1997 before beginning Tai Chi practice, I could not raise my arms even to shoulder level due to chronic pain. Today I am healthier than ever and enjoy life fully, surrounded by many Tai Chi friends, family, and pets. Relaxing while exercising during Tai Chi practice infuses energy down to the cellular level.
Meditation: Tai Chi can induce meditative states, When you practice with a clear mind and an open heart, the joy of peace of mind enters your world. This sense of inner calm can radiate to all levels in your life. During practice you may feel a dreamlike state of quiet meditation. These peaceful states while your practice are also increasing range of motion, strength, and endurance in your body. Mind becomes more centered, focused, and clear. Goals are achieved. Better balance between left and right brain functions may occur. In my case, my left brain opened, allowing me to be able to write in an organized more analytical way. One of my friends, a physician, had his right brain open to intuitive thinking after practicing Tai Chi forms.
Martial Skill: Tai Chi can also be practiced as a Martial Art. A qualified teacher is necessary. For a form practice student (non martial artist), awareness also increases and helps avoid accident or injury. Better balance helped a friend of mine right herself and not fall backwards down steps while carrying groceries. Another student became more aware in parking lots and took precautions. Avoiding such situations is important plus following your intuition to "be there" or "not be there" as your feelings guide you. The well-trained Martial Artist always looks for solutions to encounters without physical fighting. Self confidence and assertiveness develops as we become grounded and clearly aware of our authentic selves and how to manage positive unselfish intent outward in our everyday lives.
There are only extraordinary moments! Tai Chi is our window of opportunity.
* http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ History of Yang Family Style Tai Chi and much more
http://www.peacefulwarrior.com/ No Ordinary Moments, The Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior books and more by gymnast and author, Dan Millman.
http://www.eckharttolle.com/ The New Earth, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Free online "uncourse" and more.
www.oprah.com/own Your Own Best Life, OWN Oprah Winfrey Network, also online.
http://www.greggbraden.com/ Deep Truth by Gregg Braden, "A new world is opening before our eyes." You Tube: The Technology of Emotion, Healing in Beijing No Medicine Hospital, "Healing is already here!" Intent Leads Energy.
http://imaginehealing.info/ Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D, and Rev. Debra Basham, CHTP, NLP, HTt, RMT set your intention for healing "now."
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California Dunes photo by Rob
"Good Walking Leaves No Track Behind It," (Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu) photo by Emilie