Tai Chi Class

Welcome to WholenessInMotion. Tai chi is a whole body and mind exercise that combines meditation, martial art and health tonic in one. This particular form is the Yang style, 37 posture short form as taught by Prof. Cheng Man-ch'ing. This fascinating and intricate exercise has many benefits and just about anyone can practice it.

Take a look at this site and consider the study of relaxation and how it can benefit you in your daily life. I look forward to working with you. Tom Daly


 

Archive for October, 2010

Lou Reed, musician, does Tai Chi!

Posted By Tom Daly on October 26th, 2010

Lou Reed
October 26, 2010
New York Times

To the Editor:

Thank you for your columns on tai chi on living to be 100 (Personal Health, Sept. 28 and Oct. 19). Over the years I’ve been asked: “How do you stay in shape? How do you take care of your back, your knees, your joints?”

People ask these questions because they know I probably shouldn’t be here — I’m a study in reckless excess. Yet here I am, at age 68. (And I say this as I watch my cousin Shirley, who is 102.)

I have studied the art of tai chi for more than 25 years…. (You must have an authentic instructor to correct alignment and to preserve and strengthen the knees and back.)

Tai chi is life-changing. It puts you in touch with invisible power of — yes — the universe. You don’t need equipment. My teacher has choreographed a series of moves that can be done in an apartment with very little space.

I know it sounds too good to be true. But as your columnist said, the question isn’t “why you should practice tai chi, but why not.”

Lou Reed

New York

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Tai Chi Chuan – Get Fat!

Posted By Tom Daly on October 11th, 2010

Tai Chi Chuan – Get Fat!

I’ve been in love with two ideas for some time now. One comes from Maggie Newman (my long time teacher) and the other comes from Lenzie Williams (a teacher whom I have the utmost respect.) Both ideas require a great deal of attention.

Maggie has often stated that as you go into the full part of the posture, the pressure of the foot on the ground stimulates the chi and the chi hits the sides of the wall of the posture. A filling up sensation that requires great relaxation, perfect structure, a sense of the whole, awareness of the central core of the body along with the edges of the perimeter of the shape. You get fatter.

Lenzie has a wonderful exercise in pushing where you take the pressure from your hands against a body that can no longer escape your pursuit, and like an accordion, you redistribute that pressure into your entire body down through the feet. This requires exactly the same great relaxation, perfect structure, a sense of the whole, awareness of the central core of the body, the edges of the perimeter of the shape that Maggie’s suggestion requires, but the pressure begins in the hands. The redistribution of that pressure, if I recall it correctly, is a simultaneous distribution throughout the body, not a sequential distribution. The image of an accordion captures this sense that all layers simultaneously redistribute the pressure. You get fatter.

So one expansion is stimulated from below (feet) while the other expansion is stimulated from above (hands). Of course, in the accordion image, you actually have both ends functioning simultaneously because the body is between two end points. It creates a pressure chamber that contains lots of energy ready to explode. In one sense you are balanced between these two end points which create a unique and perfect shape (in terms of energy).

In the push hands situation, you borrow the energy from the feet and hands and let it burst outward along the perimeter of the shape. The push comes from a natural expansion that happens from total absorption of pressure from the hands and feet. You become bigger than the partner by utilizing the pressure they give you.

It also reminds me of one of those large relax-the-back balls that we use to sit on or exercise with. The whole ball expands when you sit on it and the pressure on the sides of the walls of the ball, every square millimeter, goes out in all directions, including the ground and buttocks of the person sitting on it.

No doing is required here. It just happens.

Does this happen in life? Can two points of pressure create expansion and a resolution of those pressures? Can we solve our pressures, not from fighting them, but from allowing them to work on us in a way that creates a way for energy to go in a proper direction, from non-doing? By just allowing them to work on us and through settling into our body, meticulously adjusting to create a path that ultimately solves the problems? Can we get fat here and even enjoy what happens naturally?

There are a few requirements. Not fighting the pressures, but letting them work themselves out through and within our body (mind, emotions). Being aware of the end points and all the points around the circumference of the situation. Therefore no element is lost to us and all of who we are can be of service to the conflict of two points of pressure. Giving ourselves a structure to work our way through the situations at hand, and giving ourselves some time to be with the situation, the gestalt of what we are “stuck” with, what we feel trapped by. Give up struggling, but don’t give up attending. Being with what is, not fighting or cursing what is. Observe, incorporate, absorb and follow the pathway of the energy.

Using what life presents is a life time of work. This is an exquisite place to be and most likely we can only be there through focused attention and long sustained effort in letting go, relaxation, allowing, being and acceptance. Yes, pain may be part of the redistribution plan (but using that pain to direct energy in a creative direction and not a destructive direction).

The biggest irony is that in order for this to occur, you may have to do the opposite of what your instincts may be telling you. For most of us, that means derailing flight or fight responses. See them, feel them, let them go (this tired old phrase is perhaps the hardest thing to do in life.) It means instilling in our psyches balancing and connecting the pressures to see where this leads. In doing so, pressures give energy to our shape and it is this energy that can lead us to solutions.

Each set of circumstances needs to be embraced as teachers to learn how to apply our effort in a direction that won’t tear us apart. In doing what is needed, we have to find tools that eliminate self destruction. We need to find tools that work towards the creation of something new.

This is my aim in tai chi practice. To be fat. But this fat has nothing to do with eating or even pleasure. This fat comes from being with and allowing pressures to work themselves through us, redistribute within us, and redirect into a new shape that gives solutions to life’s pressures.

I’d like to think this is possible – but I have no argument with those who may think it is not possible. Because I don’t really know. I just see this potential in tai chi and have to wonder if life too has a similar possibility.

Most often, if it happens in tai chi, it happens in life.

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