When is the body ever completely still? Only in death is there no movement. If you are living, you are breathing. If you are breathing, you are moving. The movements of tai chi ride upon the breath wave like flotsam following an ocean current. The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone. The thigh … Continue reading Stillness Is Death
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
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
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & QiGong, by Bill Douglas: If done correctly, slowly, and gently, Tai Chi enables you to become aware of any poor physical habits long before physical damage is done. In fact, you often don't become aware of problems in high-impact sports until the doctor is telling … Continue reading Douglas On Tai Chi Movements
An odd thing about humans is that we tend to hold our breath in moments whenever we are attached to a particular outcome. Just after we've rolled the ball down the lane, hoping for a strike. Just after we've asked an important question, hoping for the answer we want. When we're watching our child try … Continue reading Breath Hitches (And Other Superstitions)
Tai chi is a form of qigong, which means "energy work". There are multiple types of energy that move through the body, and some are more subtle than others. This need not be an esoteric practice, however, as there is no real distinction between the definition of the "energy" felt in tai chi and the … Continue reading Feeling Energy In The Body
"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?
Excerpted from Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, by Jed McKenna: In the movie The Matrix, there's a scene where the adept Morpheus effortlessly glides through throngs of people on a bustling city sidewalk while inept Neo bumbles and collides and apologizes. Flow and non-flow. Having no preferences, having no ego that requires constant monitoring and reinforcing, having … Continue reading McKenna on Flow