Tai Chi can address pain from “clenching.” But how? Here’s one thought for practice.

I sometimes see pain as a sign of the body or brain talking to you, trying to get your attention, telling you to listen. If you have a painful joint or muscle, it might hurt because it’s doing more than its share of the body’s workload. It’s doing the work of other joints or muscles. One or more of these other parts might be holding back, either reacting to tension or stress, or creating tension and stress.

I trace some of this back to the influence of emotion, often a low-level, under-the-radar sort of fear that we barely notice. Sometimes it’s knowledge-based from needing to know more about what’s holding us back. Sometimes it’s a lack of clarity on how to respond to some force that you don’t quite understand enough about in order to act upon.

I’ve heard of one reaction called “clenching,” which I suspect is a subconscious attempt to “control.” But the opposite effect results: i.e., no control. Or perhaps more accurately, it causes undue control of other parts of the body by hindering their movement and reducing their contribution to the movement of the whole. In other words, trying to hold back the inevitable: movement.

If and when you discover yourself doing this kind of thing, tell yourself to listen in a different way than you’re accustomed to:

“Change View. Shift. Release.”

Flow with the compelling force of the mind and body and spirit that is always present whatever we may, or may not, be doing consciously or unconsciously. Move and adapt with the ever-fluctuating force of life.

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10 tips for stimulating your tai chi practice

Whether you’re sure you want to do tai chi or not, here are things you can consider to help find out if it’s the right thing for you. But DO NOT take someone else’s word for it one way or the other. Which means, technically speaking, don’t take my word for whatever you’re about to read.

1
Find out what tai chi is. How? Be curious, and ultimately, just do tai chi.

2
Learn something and experience it. Draw a picture of it in your mind that is not based on second-hand hearsay or ideas you heard somewhere.

3
Find someone to do tai chi with. Don’t know anyone? They will appear. More and more people are taking it up.

4
Once you learn a little, practice what you know. You can’t practice what you don’t know, right? However, do try even if you’re not sure. Forget about telling yourself that you won’t do it “right,” and then not try. That would suck. Even wrong is right in this case. Later, test with me or someone to see how close you got.

5
Wear cool clothes. Naw, … just kidding. Tai chi is more fun in the buff, anyway. Not sure you would feel comfortable doing that? Then wear light, low-volume shoes, and loose-fitting shirts and pants that don’t constrict blood flow or range of motion. In fact, don’t let any constricting thoughts enter into the picture of your efforts.

6
Know your reason to do tai chi. Let your reason talk to you. Forget reasons not to, even legitimate ones. Question the tendency to think you should do tai chi because others say you should. I think we possess a subconscious tendency to resist such things as “should.” In that case, don’t listen to me—I think you should do tai chi. However, it’s okay to at least try tai chi because someone you admire does. It’s worth considering.

7
Take time to practice. Actually, don’t “take” time. Maybe you could “give” it time, but it’s more productive not to think of tai chi in relation to time at all. Think of it in terms of effort. For example, learn one thing (PS, I can show it to you) and practice it for one minute, then conclude one thing about that one thing, then one thing you learn from doing it. Notice the emphasis on the “one” idea. How much effort does that take? See what I’m getting at? Time is not the issue.

8
Prioritize. No, I don’t mean putting tai chi before all those other important demands in life. Okay, so you reached out to a tai chi teacher, you’re (sort of) motivated. You’ve reached out to the universe saying you think it may be important for you to look into learning tai chi, or at least looking into what all the buzz is about it. You’re acknowledging something important. Maybe you’re aging and feeling it. Who knows? In that case, I’m sure you can put off watching your favorite TV show for an hour of tai chi without suffering any major repercussions.

9
Find a place to do tai chi; like where you feel most comfortable and content. Oh, you mean, that’s on a beach in Bali? In that case, why not just feel being there? Call up the memory and move with it. To a great extent, tai chi is an act of visualizing possibilities. Like time, place is not a constraint, really. Sometimes, I visualize myself standing barefoot on the wet sand of a California beach moving slowly in time with the sound and feeling of the Pacific surf crashing and receding, then crashing and receding …. Of course, just remembering the feeling of doing tai chi itself is enough to make anywhere a good place.

10
Just do it. Simple, huh? Sometimes tai chi is easier to do with a group of people with similar intent. Sometimes, you feel awkward doing it alone, even when no one is around to see you. When I suggest “just doing” tai chi, I mean to see yourself doing it. To stand in the first position and begin to move. To feel the move. To teach yourself. Don’t wait for some one or some thing to determine for you whether or not to do tai chi. Just do.

Looking for more ideas about stimulating your tai chi practice. Read this related post.

Durango Tai Chi’s mission is to make tai chi available and affordable to everyone everywhere. Plain and simple. If you want to learn tai chi, we’ll find a way. Contact Teacher Tim for a free consultation by phone or in person. He’ll go anywhere on Earth where it’s possible to teach.  He donates his time and energy (at least until his savings run out). It’s like a non-profit without the tax-exempt status. Tuition goes to paying expenses for room rent, transportation, advertising, internet fees and printing. Teacher Tim’s private lessons help him with personal income, which he must rely on since he is not employed full-time at another job. Please share this post with friends you care about.

 

Another article on research about research on tai chi

“Falling is the primary cause of traumatic death for older adults, and more than 17% of older adults report between one and five falls in the past three months. The problem seems to be getting worse.”

More research of research on tai chi.

There seems to be a steady stream of it for sometime. This article from Time.com refers to a report published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on a review of 10 randomized studies on tai chi effects on balance. It’s another report on another study about more studies. I wonder if it actually influences more people to try tai chi.

The referred-to study and the Time article, build on the growing inventory of the benefits of tai chi in media and the research community interested in exercise modalities, particularly as they relate to the aging population of Baby Boomers. The body of text essentially is arguing for doing tai chi, without actually saying it outright. It suggests to readers to at least look into the subject.

The article concludes with: “More research is needed to determine just how beneficial tai chi really is in preventing or delaying the occurrence of serious falls.” I’m not sure if the article writer is making this conclusion or just repeating what the researchers state.

Either way, research papers and articles talking about them commonly conclude with such statements. So much so that they are drawing attention to the repetitive nature of cliche and un-examined habitual speech.

More research is not necessary, really. That might just be another research group throwing in its two cents on the efficacy of just another exercise method. More people just need to do tai chi and find out for themselves.

http://time.com/4874707/tai-chi-health-benefits-falls/

the homeopathy of tai chi

Sometimes you can use tai chi to treat a particular health issue by doing almost the same thing that causes the problem. It’s akin to homeopathy, where you treat the germ with the germ itself, so to speak.

Take carpal tunnel, for example. You get it by doing the same motion repeatedly for long periods of time. Fatigue sets in and your forearms tighten up. You keep doing it because you have to work, make money, pay the bills.

But then muscles, tendons and ligaments start aching from overuse. Pain sets in and doesn’t go away. You hang on, hoping it will disappear on its own, or you’ll overcome it long enough to make it through the day.

Then you hurt even when you’re not at work. It becomes “chronic pain.” A doctor may say tests show nothing wrong. False hope. You’re in pain and you know it.

Maybe he’ll say it’s probably wise to stop doing whatever behavior is causing the problem. Wish you could, right?

Eventually, maybe, a doctor offers some hope, sort of. He suggests surgery. It’s your gamble, though. It’s a 60/40, maybe 90/10, chance that surgery will heal you.

No guarantees, of course, except maybe that they can operate on you and it will cost a lot of money. The irony is the carpal tunnel came from working for money.

The homeopathy idea about tai chi is that repetitive movement over a period of time, such as single, basic moves, can help alter the pattern of movement that causes problems. Something about the different manner and intent of the movement can alleviate pain, soreness, stiffness, and retrieve ease of movement and range of motion. Plus, it can release overall tension and help you feel a little better all around.

No guarantee there either, but no slice and splice, and no hospital bills.

Article Forward: Tai Chi Leaves a “Molecular Signature” in Our Bodies

Question: What “reverses the effect that stress or anxiety … have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed?” You guessed it! What potentially could be a landmark finding probably won’t surprise some tai chi practitioners (yoga and meditation, too). It’s good to know that researchers is paying attention.

Dear tai chi practitioners,
Shh…Don’t tell them it’s not just about “mind-body.” Let’s keep our little secret. Tell ’em they have to do tai chi to really find out.

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20170616/why-yoga-tai-chi-and-meditation-are-good-for-you

Refining Tai Chi: Bring in Life

When you practice, you’re not just moving the body, you’re bringing life into it. By circling the eyes, for example, you’re freeing them up from stagnation and decay (atrophy), and allowing them to serve as “gates” (men) through which energy may enter the body. Think of tai chi this way.

Article: The positive lexicography project

This is about emotion words for which no English equivalent exists.

I like this quote from Dr. Lomas who has been researching these cool words and has built a “dictionary” of 1,000 words from all around the world and from diverse cultures. …especcially the final sentence, which reminds me of tai chi learning.

“In our stream of consciousness – that wash of different sensations feelings and emotions – there’s so much to process that a lot passes us by,” Lomas says. “The feelings we have learned to recognise and label are the ones we notice – but there’s a lot more that we may not be aware of. And so I think if we are given these new words, they can help us articulate whole areas of experience we’ve only dimly noticed.”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170126-the-untranslatable-emotions-you-never-knew-you-had

Dr. Lomas’s website
https://www.drtimlomas.com/lexicography