Tai Chi as a Meditation
This week we will look at another purpose of practicing Tai Chi: Tai Chi as a meditation!
Tai Chi uses slow controlled movements to calm the mind and help the practitioner into a state of meditation. By focusing on joining the whole body from inside out, the practitioner is able to quiet the future-oriented part of the mind and relax into moment to moment awareness.
An important aspect of practicing Tai Chi as a meditation is breathing from the lower abdomen. This area two to three inches below the navel and inside the abdomen is known as a dan tien or the energetic center of the body. This is referred to as the lower of three dan tiens in the body according to the Daoist origins of Tai Chi. In Tai Chi, all movements and breathing originate from this point. By bringing one’s awareness to this area, the practitioner learns to reduce stress within a few slow deep breaths. This breathing pattern is best to be mastered in a static position before applying it to the Tai Chi movements. Exhale through the mouth and pull your belly button towards your spine. Inhale through the nose and allow your belly to expand. Try a few dan tien breaths either seated or standing and see for yourself!
Tai Chi has the capacity to greatly improve your quality of life. Tai Chi helps us appreciate our old injuries and places of chronic tension as areas for growth and development. When we understand our own tensions, we can understand the tensions between ourselves and others. When we understand the tensions between ourselves and others, we can bring peace and harmony to our world. This starts in our own homes and communities. Enlightenment is the end goal. The work is never done. I compare this to an endless game of Whack-a-mole. As soon as you fix one tension spot in the body, another comes up. Through Tai Chi practice, we learn to appreciate this endless process as a meditative practice. Meditation in this context is the process of observing the body grow more healthy and vibrant through deliberate, coordinated movements.
Sign up for our email list to get updates on outdoor classes here at the Whitehall location of Transform Rehabilitation! We will be hosting class every Monday in the lawn of the Whitehall clinic at 6PM. Times may vary depending on the season. $10 cash drop in, all levels welcome! Our rain date will be Wednesday of the same week. This will be determined 1 hour prior to the start of class. You will hear about reschedules via email.
We look forward to seeing you here!