THE CLOCK

We live by the clock. You might say we’re slaves to it. A lot of our discordant feelings are due to our yearning to be free from the clock. That’s one reason why we do tai chi—to get away from THE CLOCK. I see people looking at the clock in tai chi class. That means that they’re not concentrating enough on why they’re there in the first place. That’s OK though, because it’s not easy. But it’s easier than we think. Just showing up to practice is a masterful act of at least trying to break the chains of THE CLOCK. There’s a lot to be said for that.

Tai Chi Benefits Cystic Fibrosis Patients Study Shows

Here is an article with a link to the study presentation showing another way in which tai chi helps people, particularly with breathing. I enjoy sharing such good information about my favorite exercise. CF Patients Benefit from Home Tai Chi Training Using Video Calls, Face-to-Face Sessions   #NACFC2016 – CF Patients Benefit from Home Tai Chi Training Using Video Calls, Face-to-Face Sessions

Change is easier for some than others

Tai chi is all about change on several levels. Change is easier for some than for others. How can you make it easier for yourself? In tai chi, you can pinpoint how. It’s a matter of simply moving differently from what you are accustomed to. Visualize the parts of the body and see them move. Feel them and how they move. Describe to yourself what they are doing as they move one way or another. The Focus Here are some things to put into play when you practice. Focus on a specific manner of movement, such as direction, speed, pressure, rhythm, range of motion, where movement occurs, and from where it originates, which is super important. Read More …

Standing in Wu Ji

Wu Ji is the first position in the form or before doing anything in Tai Chi or Qigong. The first thing to do is find your Zhong Ding, your central alignment. Your ears are over the shoulders, which are in line with the hips, which are in line with the knees and ankles and the “Bubbling Well” (Yongquan). You will probably have to bend the knees to get there and maybe tilt the pelvis. This physical alignment is only part of Wu Ji. A place to begin to train your attention. Next is to become aware of tension, clenching, torqued parts of your body. Release that tension if you can. Keep in mind that tai chi Read More …

Energy and the role of the body in tai chi

My teacher, George Xu, says to “think” energy moving through the body. Part of my understanding of this matches his instructions, but I go beyond the literal meaning of his words. For example, I “feel” the energy moving as though that were thinking. I “think-feel” or “feel-think”. From my training with my teachers and readings from other traditions, I’ve come to apply the term “perception” to refer to this. I perceive a sucking up and sinking down, qi flowing and energy moving. This term is more encompassing, and I believe, a more accurate description of the phenomena. A Buddhist might call this “bare attention,” but that may not be entirely accurate for all I know, which Read More …

A simple trick for learning tai chi

As with many things in life there is a trick to doing tai chi. Knowing this makes learning easier, quicker, and more fulfilling. This trick, which really isn’t a trick as much as a rather useful technique, is to remember something. Something remembered is something learned. You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of information we’re exposed to in class. That feeling may cause you to lose interest in learning. Which, of course, could harm why you chose to practice in the first place. Here is a suggestion for solving the problem of remembering. Remember just one thing that you have learned in class and practice it until you have mastered it, or at least feel Read More …

Does “Quiet” in Tai Chi Mean Being Still?

People perceive being still for being quiet, but there is another way of understanding “quiet.” Trying to hold still is only one kind of quiet. It can lead to clenching and tension, pain, and poor balance, especially in beginners. That kind of tension can’t be held long. “Quiet-in-movement” offers better balance, less clenching, reduced or no pain, and much more. Quiet results from the mind letting the body move according to its own rules. Not just quiet mind, but quiet body. No anticipation, no judgment, no projecting, no hesitating, no forcing. The mind provides the intention and the body provides the results. Quiet mind means suspending habitual thinking, or internal dialogue. Observe moves as though from Read More …

Looking for solutions rather than process?

One problem we run into—and often don’t realize—is that we’re looking for solutions, rather than engaging in the process of learning. We’re leaping ahead of ourselves. Tai chi and Qigong are processes that offer powerful opportunities to learn without worrying about whether we’re doing it correctly. Perfection comes with practice. It’s taken care of eventually as a result of paying attention to learning itself. As they say, “The journey is the destination.” Shifting your view of what you’re doing is key. How do you do that? Simply practice what you know. This will build stronger and more-permanent connections gradually. The phrase, “slowly but surely” comes to mind as a good metaphor for what I’m getting at. Read More …