How Yoga and Tai Chi Complement Each Other

Yoga and tai chi have several elements in common, but they also provide distinct benefits. This is how they are alike and different: Alike Both are mind-body arts that work by regulating and integrating body, breath, and mind, and are suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions. Practice is meditative, and benefits include … Continue reading How Yoga and Tai Chi Complement Each Other

Healing With Tai Chi

There's an old joke where the patient says, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this...". Tai chi gives the same response as the doctor, who says "Well, don't do that." Tai chi engages the body's natural healing mechanisms, which depend on both sensitivity and activity. If a movement makes you feel light-headed, aggravates an injury, … Continue reading Healing With Tai Chi

Why Block?

  “Grand Uncle-Master, do you think this random slashing and chopping style sword form of mine will enable me to block his fast knife chops?” Linghu Chong asked hopefully.   “If you want to block, of course it won’t help you much. But why do you have to block?” Feng Qingyang said.   Jin Yong, Smiling … Continue reading Why Block?

Structure, Balance, Flow

Tai chi teaches us to move with structure, balance and flow. Structure is alignment of the joints that takes forces into the bones, giving muscles mechanical advantage. Balance is alignment with gravity that provides central equilibrium, keeping the body planted and upright. Flow is complimentary muscular activation, allowing us to move without stress by literally … Continue reading Structure, Balance, Flow

Moving With Chi

Doing tai chi is often confused with doing forms. Forms are a means to an end. The end is to move with chi. Can forms help you to move with chi?  Perhaps. Are forms required to move with chi?  Certainly not. When doing forms and when not doing forms the question tai chi asks is … Continue reading Moving With Chi

Tai Chi For Kids?

Tai chi trains and refines natural movement, which on the surface may seem like a paradox. Why would natural movement need to be trained? In actuality, natural movement gets covered up by unnatural habits, which have to be untrained in order to allow natural movement to emerge and flourish. Kids already know how to move naturally, … Continue reading Tai Chi For Kids?

Tai Chi Is Sensitivity Training

To get bigger, stronger, faster, we use resistance to work our muscles to exhaustion repeatedly. This is what strength training is for. To become more flexible, we stretch to lengthen our tendons and muscles and increase our range of motion. This is what yoga is for. In tai chi we don't do either of these … Continue reading Tai Chi Is Sensitivity Training

Mirror Neurons

There is a certain subset of our motor neurons, called mirror neurons, that activates in response to the movements of others as if we were making identical movements. When you see another person, these neurons create an internal representation of that person's posture, movements, sensations, and even their emotional state. Normally these signals from our … Continue reading Mirror Neurons

Acting Sick

How we use our bodies has a lot to do with determining how we feel. Generally, the more sick you act the more sick you will feel. When you are sick, do you allow your posture to slouch, your feet to shuffle, and your breath to become rapid and shallow? Or do you hold yourself … Continue reading Acting Sick

Practicing Tai Chi When You’re Sick

The general rule for tai chi practice is to work at 70% of your maximum capacity.  This applies to intensity, exertion, duration, and range of motion.  If you exhaust yourself your coordination will suffer, and you will also tax your body's compensatory mechanisms, which is counterproductive from the perspective of tai chi.  The 70% rule … Continue reading Practicing Tai Chi When You’re Sick