Tai Chi - Gentle Movement
|Gentle movement like Tai Chi brings
balance and harmony back to the body-mind-spirit. With the flowing
movements tension, negativity, and stress are released, resulting in a
sense of healing and wholeness.
Tai Chi builds stamina and strength, releases stress and re-balances energy. Symptoms, such as headaches, body pain, insomnia, high blood pressure, irritability, depression, and anxiety Are released and the person is able to flow with the challenges and crises of life.
The purpose Tai Chi is to empower the individual by encouraging them to discover and follow their own flow and form. The person is reunited with the source of life, with the universal life force energy of earth and heaven. With regular practice over time the flowing movements deeply affect the whole person, opening them to their full potential of being.
Tai Chi is fluid, relaxed, and peaceful. Feelings and senses are alert. You are present in the moment, fully focused on the movements of your body and on your breathing. Your body becomes a current that is flowing with energy, vitality, and strength. Breathe deeply during the movements to keep the energy of the body moving. Relax during the movements and try not to think of anything except the parts of your body that are moving.
The Flowing Motion
The people of China do this exercise to generate and increase energy in their bodies. It is believed that if this is practised 1000 times a day, you will live forever; 100 times and you will be healthy for a long life. Stand straight with your feet separated shoulder-width and your hands at your sides. Raise your heels and at the same time with palms facing forwards, inhale and raise your hands to the level of your chest. Turn your palms, begin to exhale as you move your hands downward, while you lower your heels and raise your toes in a rocking movement. If your body feels wobbly or unbalanced, imagine a centre of balance within your abdomen, like a long umbilical cord that connects you to the earth. Continue the motion slowly rocking back and forth while you breathe deeply. With each move drop your shoulders, relax your arms and fingers. Do the exercise smoothly and slowly.
Right and Left Bending of the Spine
Stand straight with your feet separated shoulder-width and your hands at your sides. Bend the body gently to the right, exhaling. Allow the right arm to drop along the side of the right leg. Dangle the head towards the right shoulder. The left arm should drop gently across the front of the body, relaxed. Slowly return to the centre, inhaling. Repeat on the left side. Continue bending to both sides with relaxed, slow breaths. If the exercise is too easy, spread your feet apart and bend farther to the side. Allow the arm and the hand of the stretching side to reach up over the head. On the bending side, the lower hand may be propped against the upper for stability.
Front and Back Bending of the Spine
Stand with your feet separated shoulder-width, knees slightly bent and your hands at your sides. With palms facing your body, raise your arms in front of you, inhaling. Your arms are bent at the elbow, at a 90 degree angle. Turn your palms downward at chest level, forward at face level and upward as your arms reach upward. The hands are open with fingers outstretched backwards and relaxed. The chest area stretches and opens. When your arms come above the shoulders, the palms face upwards, elbows bent as if you are holding up the sky. Look upwards and tilt your head slightly backwards. Tilt the tailbone backwards, so that your spine is like a bow, with your stomach and chest forward. On the exhalation, the arms and elbows come forward and down, palms turning towards the face. Clench your hands tightly into fists that close tightly before your eyes; your eyes too may be tightly closed. Keep your elbows together and bent; fists pressed together holding them side to side firmly in front of the chest. Exert effort in the arms and chest muscles.. The bow of the spine is now curved backwards; head and shoulders rounded forwards. The exhalation is full and somewhat forceful. Repeat the movement. Relax deeply on the inhalation and contract everything on the exhalation.
Reaching upwards, Stretching outwards
Stand with your feet together or apart. .As you inhale, lace the fingers together and bring the palms, facing the body, past the chest. As they pass before the face and the eyes, rotate the palms so that they are facing downward, then outward, and then upward toward the sky. Extend the arms upward. Rise up on the balls of the feet. Hold the position and the breath for a moment. This is called "Supporting Heaven".
Then unlace the fingers as the exhalation begins. Extend the arms outwards to the sides. Point the tips of the fingers upwards, aim the palms outward and reach out from the centre of the body to the heel of the palm as the arms are lowered. Lower the heels of the feet as well. Repeat slowly with a deep relaxed breathing.