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 or knowledge. Often it’s low-level, under the radar sort of fear. Sometimes its a lack of clarity on how to respond to some force that you don’t quite understand enough about in order to act on.
I’ve heard of one reaction called “clenching,” a subconscious attempt to control, which has the opposite effect: no control, or perhaps more accurately, causing 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.
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.
“Tai chi significantly reduces depression symptoms in Chinese-Americans”
Published May 25, 2017
The tai chi intervention involved twice weekly sessions for 12 weeks, in which participants were taught and practiced basic traditional tai chi movements. They were asked to practice at home three times a week and to document their practice.
I’ve always believed that journaling one’s tai chi practice helps with the learning and feeding back into the practice. That’s why I blog. Comments are always welcome. Maybe it will be good for you.
There is a progression to tai chi. First is to relax places where we’re tight (often painful, too). Often it can be described as “clenching.” For most of us that is true. The next step in the progression is to move. Move around and through the tight places with a mindful intention to dissolve the tension. The moves are designed to help you to relax. Moving changes the body.
We use different methods to get that change to happen: loosening, stretching, and single basic exercise. Repetitive, rhythmic, single moves, in which we employ awareness of and intention to the six directions, and then in shapes and patterns. The six directions are up down front back left right and the shapes are circles, figure 8s and spirals.
Begin with circles and visualize with your mind intending to circle inside your abdomen. This location is particularly important in the beginning, but you can move in circles anywhere in your body with the intention.
Moving the abdomen and the hips are key to relaxing and loosening the tightness in the lower back and spine.
This article is in Forbes magazine, written by Alice Walton. Findings in a study reported on in the Lancet link the brain to stress and heart disease, with inflammation in the arteries as a major symptom. Duh…I suspect as much when I suffered from migraines as a teenager. It’s taken 50 years for science to catch up, but I’m glad it’s coming round to greater grasp by researchers.
The article concludes that “Exercise, meditation, talk therapy and other methods have been shown to be effective.” Well, I suggest doing tai chi. Why? For one reason, for the busy A personalities among us, is Tai Chi is a meditation and exercise wrapped up into a single activity. How’s that for multi-tasking?
Here the Forbes article: