One of the things you’re going to hear and hopefully see for yourself by practicing taiji and qigong is that consistent efforts bridge the body’s physical structure with our energetic essence. I found a very interesting and well-written article about that from the perspective of quantum physics. Science confirms much of what the old Chinese practitioners discovered and acknowledged millennia ago (yogis and Tibetans, too, of course).
Qigong is like Massage on the inside of the body. The effect of movement is from the inside out. The organs, ligaments, tendons, all the connective tissue. The fascia. The lymph nodes and channels, the meridians, even the bone marrow, all benefit from movement on the inside. When you are doing Qigong and Taiji keep this in mind.
More and more young people are looking into tai chi as multi-level exercise and martial art for mind, energy, and body practice. Merging these and more is tai chi’s magic. No other exercise does all that tai chi does. It helps to heal injuries, maintain healthy systems functions, such as nervous and lymph systems and blood circulation. It helps to detoxify and cleanse. It trains memorization skills, too; like a crossword puzzle for the whole body, not just the brain. Neuroscientists talk about “neuroplasticity” to refer to the brain’s ability to disrupt our tendency towards inertia. It is a bio-mechanical stretching method that can improve elasticity of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Tai chi and qigong are preventative, a great benefit to younger practitioners in our current era. I’m convinced tai chi and qigong can reduce healthcare costs when the aging factor begins to kick in (which is younger than we think!). Live longer, live better. Enhance daily living with a daily practice. It will change your life.
The benefits of tai chi are numerous and have been known for a very long time, but Americans are really only recently learning about them. It takes time to find out about things even in these times of rapid-fire media. It takes time to to take hold and I’m finding out that people begin to notice more of what I’ve known for almost two decades when articles about research start showing up in media where people get their information.
I’ve found many interesting sources of articles about tai chi on http://news.google.com, the Google news section of Google+. For example, this one on tai chi and other modalities helping to relieve suffering form fibromyalgia: http://www.youthhealthmag.com/articles/3126/20141125/fibromyalgia-and-complementary-health-approaches.htm.
I know about the abilities of tai chi to heal after practicing it for 16 years. I’ve seen it change me and my health and my approach to health. I tell people all the time about what they could learn from doing tai chi, but it is difficult for them to believe and to change their routines in order to spend the time it takes to experience the benefits. I hope more people discover the potential and possibilities from tai chi and qigong, as well as other complementary and alternative approaches to preventative healthcare. If people don’t believe me, maybe they’ll believe references to research that seem to influence our belief systems so much.
Normally when we move through life, our attention is divided. We seldom give full attention to anything that we happen to be doing in any given moment. We are multi-tasking to the ultimate, rushing around, moving here and there. Our minds are elsewhere, thinking about things beyond what our bodies are doing. This wearies many of us and stress builds. We have difficulty managing emotions, we react to the world in desperation and despair; and over time, our health even wanes.
Take driving an automobile for example. While driving we are doing many things at once. We are steering, operating accelerator and brakes, reading road signs, watching out for other drivers, making sure we stay in our lane, the rearview mirror thing is happening. At the same time, we’re also thinking about what’s for dinner, or what a friend or relative is doing, or what was said earlier, or about work problems … on and on it goes. If this ever wears you down, then welcome to the club.
For respite we turn to diversions, such as movies or television sports, or participate in sports. These help take our minds off our worries. These activities give us a break from the more stressful stuff … until we’re off again multitasking states of being. Often, we end up doing even more stuff to try and relax from the other stuff we are doing that wears us down. It’s a vicious cycle of endless return.
In contrast, the mindful movement practice of tai chi gives us a chance to move with the fullest attention of our whole being to the very act of movement itself. And when we do this, we feel different, refreshed, whole again. Relaxation is letting go, unburdening ourselves of energetic stagnation and energetic weights that are not us.
Tai chi differs from watching a movie of course, since tai chi is movement you do yourself. You are consciously choosing to give your fullest attention to the movement.
For many practitioners tai chi is the ultimate meditative movement, because it involves all levels of our total being. It’s not just physical, which most western-based exercises or therapies are limited by. Tai chi is mental, energetic, even spiritual alignment in the sense of connecting the very same energies in our beings with those that make up the whole universe. You immerse your whole being completely in the moment, and in return it feeds back regenerative power.
If you discover the wonders of tai chi, you probably will consider yourself extremely lucky and your gratitude will be reflected in your practice. How much should you practice? Even the smallest amount of effort can produce big benefits in terms of how you feel.
When you have HBP it is more difficult to get blood to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells, which of course is where life itself is regenerated. Without this process we don’t live. This is a simple statement, but it helps to be reminded, because many of us neglect the fact that the better our body’s function the better we feel. Okay, that’s a simple statement, too. Yet how well do we live by it? Often life is cut short by things that we can change before it’s too late. In taiji it’s quite simple. Just move the body so that the heart opens fully and let (help) the blood flow more completely to the cells. This is easy to do with minimal training.
Plaque builds up cholesterol, another relatively well-known piece of information; an accurate description of what goes on in the blood vessels as a result of eating certain foods over time and doing little to prevent it. It’s also true that, for most of us, our bodies are fully equipped at birth to heal themselves if they have the nutrients necessary to achieve and maintain optimum function. Okay…another simple statement.
What is within your power to make necessary changes? I know one thing to do in addition to eating better, and even though good nutrition eludes you. Stand in wuqi with good intention, take a deep breath, stretch your body, do qigong moves with attention and affection. Open the body so the blood will flow, so oxygen will feed the cells and stimulate the life force, sending signals to your whole being that you are not prepared to die the slow death that HBP delivers, and that you want to live as fully in each moment as possible.
Stand in wuchi: sincere and patient, but not neglectful. Stable and rooted, yet agile and poised. Stand in wuchi, the sky comes down to you, the earth rises up within you. Stand in wuchi in movement, the stillness is yin, the conscious center. Zhan Zhuang, or post standing, or Yiquan are similar. Even when you are moving in the form, be in wuchi. Even when moving you are still and within that stillness, there is motion. There is no movement without stillness and no stillness without movement. This stimulating perspective ignites my imagination.