Tai Chi is a term covering many different styles, approaches and ways of practicing. Some call it a martial art, others emphasise its spiritual power, while it can also be practiced simply for health or relaxation. With so many variations and differing approaches, the question is: what is Tai Chi?
The one essential thing that connects all the different aspects to be found in Tai Chi is its fundamental principles. These are the same principles found in China's most ancient and revered philosophy, Taoism. Taoism states that all phenomena conform to the law of Tao, the principle of all existence, of life itself. This law expresses itself in constant change and dynamic flow, created by the continuous interaction of the two opposing yet complimentary forces of Yin and Yang. The flowing movements of the Tai Chi practice embody this shifting flow, drawing directly on the energy (chi/qi) of the universe itself.
Tai Chi is a deeply healing practice. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that true health is attained when the forces of Yin and Yang within the body are balanced. Illness, both mental and physical, occurs when this balance is disturbed. The stresses of our daily life cause disturbances to our energy balance that the practice of Tai Chi will correct.
But Tai Chi is much more than simply a means to health. More fundamentally, it brings you into a new and more grounded relationship with the world around you, and with yourself. Its effects are profound. As your practice deepens, you will become aware of a deepening sense of peace and oneness with the world, a calm joy and focus that enhances your experience of life itself through your connection to the universal energy of Chi.
In essence, Tai Chi is a spiritual practice, in which age is no impediment. Indeed, the grand masters of Tai Chi have all been old. Just as wisdom increases with age, so our understanding of Tai Chi continues to grow and deepen all our lives.
Simple though they are, the principles of Tai Chi are profound. They embody a long tradition that has been handed down for countless generations from teacher to pupil. These principles, of harmony with the universe, embody a wisdom that we in the West need now more than ever.
In Taoist practices we work with change and flow with it, knowing that underlying any situation is a natural and timeless place of universal balance, which you can find. It's just always there. People lost the ability to find it on their own. Let's look to the positive, changes and transitions are happening all the time."
Jane Launchbury, Taoist practitioner of Tai Chi and Qigong
The practice of Tai Chi is fundamentally related to that of Qigong (Chigong). The Five Essentials learned through the physical practice of Tai Chi and Qigong are:
Awareness of basic posture
Use of gravity
Relationship of body parts
Understanding the importance of the center to the other parts of the body
Letting go of pain
Awareness of Mind in the body
No gaps or distractions
Freeing up the breath
Learning to breathe from the center
How to breathe with the whole body
Addressing breathing problems
Coordinating movements to create whole body movement from the center
Practicing the principle of "the center moves the limbs"
Coordination of upper and lower body
ABOUT TAI CHI
For bookings call Yoke
0415 174 957
Calligraphy images © Yoke Chin