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 September, 2012

Tai Chi Chuan – What We Forget….

Posted By Tom Daly on September 16th, 2012

Tai Chi Chuan – What We Forget….

What do we forget?

My own practice is often looking at the smallest of the small, the tiniest corner that I believe will bring me closer to the total art of tai chi chuan.  So day after day, I focus on that hip joint, that tailbone, that hand to foot connection, that central equilibrium.  There is so much to play with.  I find that kind of exploration great fun.  This is tai chi by the numbers.  But yes, if you are at it every day, even twice a day, this is what tai chi becomes.  And this can be somewhat lifeless and self indulgent.

The other day in my office a heated argument broke out.  The participants in this argument were getting angrier and angrier.  For a while, it looked like it could result in a fist fight.  No one was backing down, or yielding, or listening.  It was rather surprising except for the fact that we all have a button that sits inside each one of us ready to ignite.  And mostly we don’t even know what that button is.  You don’t know it until someone else pushes it.  These two co-workers were in it.  No violence occurred, but it was scary.

In the world of tai chi, anger is an example of chi rising.  Clearly tension as well.  So what we are ALWAYS practicing is relaxing and sinking the chi, the energy.  We don’t let it erupt out of control.  This is no small thing.  But we forget to see how that is relevant in our everyday lives.

In the example I witnessed, tai chi could be looked at as anger management.  We yield, listen, relax and let the chi settle.  We store the chi and we don’t squander it.  We are practicing the crucial skill of relaxing (not collapsing!)  In a live situation, you really need a lot of practice under your belt for it to function on the spot in the midst of agitation.  This is not something you can plan for.  It is something that has to be in your bones in order to have any value.  And that is why daily practice is crucial if you want to allow it to change you.  The tai chi response cannot function unless it is a part of you.  It is not something you call up in the moment of stress to use as a technique.  It is not an intellectual choice.  It becomes the way.

I might add as well that through regular practice, you may notice more about yourself than you would have before.  This is not linear.  It comes up spontaneously.  By relaxing in a tai chi way, you see more and more of your tension.  Think of tension as trigger points: Once you see them, you can begin to work on relaxing those trigger points.  It is not unusual for students to see emotional trigger points in this process as well.  This is simply another tool to help you “know yourself”.

It can also help in that the body focus required in tai chi alerts one to reactive states.  You are more likely to feel that rising chi than you did before you practiced tai chi.  If you can feel it rising, you may have a shot at relaxing it back to where it belongs, or to see that you need to walk away from the situation that is creating the reaction, instead of diving into it headlong and out of control.  I might note here that “control” is not really goal.  I don’t think you should necessarily “control” yourself or your emotions.  (I’m not suggesting that you be “out of control” either.)  What I mean is that you can see more CHOICES within the moment of conflict.  You see where your chi is going and you can do something to affect that chi.  Or you can let your own innate nature take over and let it go where it wants to go.  This may be OK.  This may be a big mistake.  Discernment, in the moment, is yet another skill to be learned.

The flip side of out of control rising chi is lax chi, chi that is stuck or stifled or lethargic.  This can be a problem in situations where active engagement is required.  It reminds me of a study noted in a lecture years ago.  The individuals most likely to get into fights were those who were either looking for a fight, or those that were running from (afraid of) a fight.  Those who were least likely to get into fights were right in the middle of that spectrum, balanced.  That space is tai chi.

My co-workers reminded me that there are tangible results to tai chi practice.  It is more than a mechanical or technical skill.  It has to do with how you engage life in every moment.  That’s one reason I value this practice.  But I tend to totally forget that!

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