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

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

The Number One Reason (And Way) To Be Fit to feel good moving. The capacity for movement is freedom to move, and freedom is pleasure. And not only is freedom pleasurable, so is the exploration itself. Pain does not equal gain. What truly builds us up feels good, and has its own innate draw. Nor is it necessary to move "correctly" to enjoy … Continue reading The Number One Reason (And Way) To Be Fit

Fluidity Versus Flexibility

As distinct from yoga, tai chi is not so much concerned with increasing the range of motion as it is with cultivating freedom of movement within whatever range of motion exists.  This is the difference between fluidity and flexibility. This is just an ordering of priorities, and does not reflect a rigid hierarchy.  In either … Continue reading Fluidity Versus Flexibility

Non-Volitional Movement

An experiment: sit or stand erect, and let your arms hang by your sides.  Lift them upwards swiftly, so that they are straight overhead.  Do this a couple of times and notice how your shoulders and trapezius engage with tension to create this motion. Now let your arms hang by your sides, completely relaxed.  Let … Continue reading Non-Volitional Movement

The 70% Rule

The 70% rule is a principal based in the healing function of qigong.  It says: "For best results, exercise at 70% of your maximum capacity." This applies to duration, intensity, and range of movement.  How long you practice, how intensely you exert, and how far you stretch, should all be at 70% of your maximum … Continue reading The 70% Rule

How Long Should You Practice Tai Chi?

This question has two interpretations.  In a given session, you should practice until your energy is at its peak.  If you are practicing properly, your practice will be energizing, and you will feel your energy and flexibility increasing.  At a certain point this peaks, however, and if you practice beyond this peak, you will start … Continue reading How Long Should You Practice Tai Chi?

What Is Composure in Tai Chi?

"Composure" is a term that I find useful to describe the state of being while practicing tai chi.  The specific movements made matter very little, what is important is to maintain composure while doing them. The elements of composure are many and subtle, but the main indicators are posture, breathing, relaxation, and focus. Posture: Are … Continue reading What Is Composure in Tai Chi?

Bisio on Cats

Excerpted from A Tooth from the Tiger's Mouth, by Tom Bisio: [Cats] appear to be lazy and sleep a lot, yet they are agile, flexible, and strong.  Cats don’t do stretching exercises or engage in weight training, yet they move with a supple, relaxed grace that few humans can match…The word supple conjures up an … Continue reading Bisio on Cats