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 May, 2013

Tai Chi Chuan and Comfort

Posted By Tom Daly on May 17th, 2013

Tai Chi Chuan and Comfort

I ran across an intriguing statement from a blog that I follow and deeply admire.  The blog is called Leadership Freak.  The author is very tai chi in his approach to Leadership and a recent post began with:

“You can’t grow if you can’t be uncomfortable.”

We all can relate to this statement.  Of course leaning into our emotional discomfort means you have to learn to accommodate something unpleasant and therefore change. 

But my teacher, Maggie Newman, constantly encourages us to feel the comfort of tai chi and not the strain.  “Make it comfortable,” she tells us frequently.  Does this create change?

In tai chi, the context is sort of flipped.  In life, often we are NOT comfortable, so leaning into a comfort zone is a new experience, a new skill.  In fact, we rarely even think in those terms.  Even worse, what is comfortable is often tense, or held, or out of alignment.  We don’t even know what that experience might feel like or what it would mean.  We simply bulldoze our way through life with our discomfort and keep moving.  Creativity is blocked.  Action takes twice the effort required.  Minds bend themselves out of shape to accommodate the discomfort that remains unaddressed and unseen.  Poor thinking takes over.  Our vision of our Self gets contorted.  Energy is trapped.  We live like a pretzel.

Change in tai chi is about creating more comfort and more relaxation.  This comfort is not a dopey or sluggish sense of comfort.  It lives on the edge of activity.  Here comfort helps create a better relationship to activity.  Think how often activities – the ones that are required – make you tense or worried or tired or bored. 

Change through greater comfort would mean more access to integrated action.  It would be pure activity without the strain or discomfort of physical or emotional blocks.  In this regard, the sense of action gets lost in the act of the action itself.

In the tai chi way, we untie the knots so that ease becomes the way we function.  We can relate to ourselves and the world in an open way and more readily take in what the world has to offer.

My tai chi blog has to add an alternative suggestion regarding growth:

“You can’t grow if you can’t be comfortable.”

Try that on for size!

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Tai Chi Chuan and Cell Phones

Posted By Tom Daly on May 17th, 2013

Tai Chi Chuan and Cell Phones

It is a curious thing, the cell phone.  More and more, you see folks everywhere talking and texting on their cells.  Theaters now have to request that users turn off their cell phones.  Some even request no texting during a performance.  Sometimes you see two people together at a cafe, both of them looking down at their iPhones.  Like, has this become comical or what?

An obvious benefit of the cell phone is the 24/7 connection you have to family and friends, or ways to monitor your work life, or access information on the spot.  In this way, the cell phone is the great connector.  Not least in this new phenomenon, taking pictures and videos from the cell gives everyone a means to share or report on events, simple and extraordinary.  It’s really quite revolutionary.  Our cells have become part of the 24/7 news cycle.

But the cell phone is not a tai chi device and it seems to me that those who can’t live without ‘em are paying a hidden price.  I rarely carry my cell phone.  But I have a similarly destructive urge when I am near my computer.

My “friend time” is important to me.  So when I am with friends, I never interrupt our conversation with, “one moment please,” and check to see who is calling or texting.  If I did have my cell phone with me, I’d assume that the connection can wait.  It is secondary.  Further, my cell is turned off.  When I am with an acquaintance, I’m not at the office where the office is the priority.  When I am with a friend, my goal is to spend time with that person.  I don’t pull out my phone to Google for information to answer some insignificant question for an instant answer.  Knowing the answer is far less pleasurable in this instance than maintaining our connection.  If I wanted to search on Google, I’d bring my computer with me and pass on the friend.  If I am with a friend, I don’t want to be with a computer.  The pleasure of instant on-the-spot info pales compared to the connection to the person in front of me.  They are far more important than looking up the capital of Ghana or stock market results.

Odd, isn’t it?  We disrupt what is right in front of us to connect with something that isn’t.  The best part is we usually have a “good reason” for “expecting a call”.  I’m a big fan of voice mail. I’m not a fan of “call waiting”.  Why put your acquaintance on hold if you don’t need to?

Many would suggest that a minor interruption is insignificant, and what if something really important is on the cell?

The minor interruptions are becoming more pernicious and how often, seriously, is something really THAT important coming into our cell phones anyway?  Like, do you need to answer every inquiry RIGHT NOW?  Most likely you will have an opportune moment to get back to that extremely important text later without putting what is sitting in front of you on hold.

I’ve been with friends who picked up messages three and four times within our hour of conversation.  It’s not personal.  They mean no harm.  I know many would strongly disagree with me on this view.  To disconnect is now becoming natural, required even.

Ultimately, I think this is eroding our ability to be here now and connected.  To really listen. Maybe my observation is inaccurate but the level of “disconnect” in the US seems to be on the rise.  Like, the Senate blocks gun control legislation that 90% of the American public wants to see become law.  Like, the callous way drone strikes are killing innocent civilians in the name of national security and the issue has yet to register with the American people. Like, taxing the rich is actually an issue when they have been the greatest beneficiaries of the current “recovery”.

In tai chi class, it is far more common for a student to turn off their ringing cell phone.  Sure, some leave the class to answer the call.  My guess?  That call probably could have waited until class was over and they may have missed something important in class.  Certainly all that fuss disrupts the flow and connection of the class itself.

OK, we now adjust to a new way of not being in the moment with each other.  It is here.  And that actually saddens me.  Because I truly believe sustained attention is a major source of joy.

The importance of tai chi may have just become more important because it may be one of the few places where picking up the cell is an unwise choice.  We are there to learn to connect and not put what is right in front of us on hold.

Here’s a radical thought:  Take a 24 hour break each week from cell phones and computers.  See what is right in front of you.  Reach out to someone you love.  Or do something you love.

 

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