In Tai Chi practice our intent is to move and breath together as one. This creates a sensation of harmony and balance.
When we shift our weight back, we breath in. When we shift our weight forward, we breath out. This is the start. This is where we notice the connection between our body and breath.
We follow the lead of the breath’s initiation, and respond. We harmonize our movement with our breath, as a guitar responds to the beat of the drum. The breath takes charge with a slow steady rhythm, and our movements responds with its actions.
As only repeated practice can provide, we start to learn the song. Sooner or later our breath and body start playing together as one. That is, they sync up and we don’t hear the individual instruments. Our bodies, and our breath know the tune, they just play together.
There is no initiation and responding anymore. They work together so effortlessly, that we cannot distinguish which is leading, and which is following anymore. This is the beauty of the health form of Tai Chi. The union of body, breath, and mind.
Even though there was no discussion of mind here, it cannot be removed from this band. It is the Maestro, the conductor, or the band leader. The one which has the overall picture of the song in mind the whole time. Even when we don’t notice it. When we are familiar with the song, and it’s parts well enough, we start jamming as a whole. This is the fun part!
Hiking Basin mountain in the Adirondack’s was not a low impact exercise. However, Tai Chi is. FYI, going down the mountain is harder than going up on your knees.
A low impact exercise is easy on our joints, particularly our ankles, knees, and hips. Tai Chi is done standing, so there’s no need to bend, or contort yourself in any way, which is great for your back and neck. One of the first things taught in Tai Chi is proper posture.
Yet while being low impact, Tai Chi is still an exercise. It has been written that an hour of Tai Chi burns as many calories as walking for 45 minutes.
Tai Chi goes further than being just a low impact physical exercise. Tai Chi works on strengthening your mind’s concentration and attention. In the Martial Arts, the mind is another muscle that needs to be worked. By focusing our minds on the many different aspects of practice, like balance, coordination, or timing our movement and breath, we work our minds.
Tai chi, then, is a low impact physical exercise designed to help us become holistically healthier.
This beautiful photo I took at Heart Lake in the western high peaks region of the Adirondack mountains.
Settle like a pristine lake, with mountains surrounding it.
Most of us want this calm mind. Keeping the body active while maintaining that calm mind helps with balancing our emotions. Mountains around a lake provides protection from the winds, which allows the waters to settle.
How do we use our Tai Chi practice to provide ourselves the calm mind, and balanced emotions that is so necessary in today’s world? Focus on our relaxed movement. Watch how our body and mind connects itself into one whole. Our minds will settle, and our emotions become balanced. If we become distracted, just repeat the process… it gets easier with practice.
To me this connection of mind and body is enormously beneficial and is the source of Tai Chi’s rejuvenation.