Tai chi and qigong are two of the major grounding sources in my life. I've been practising tai chi for well over a decade now. That's what it's called: tai chi practice. Always something more to learn, always something more to explore whether in honing the physical movements or in the inner journey of sensations or emotional states.
Our instructor Hu tells newcomers to think of it as 'Chinese yoga.'
Tai chi and qigong promote health, strength and balance yet are easily adaptable for everyone and can be done in a chair, for instance. The series of hand exercises alone benefit the whole body by stimulating meridians (pathways) to enhance the flow of qi (energy) throughout the body. And that is the bottom line of practising tai chi and qigong, for me at least and especially in our western culture, to increase and positively direct the flow of qi.
Tai chi refers to a sequence of movements generated to move qi whereas qigong is a repetitive movement more designed to cultivate qi. I find both meditative and extremely beneficial. Originally I turned to tai chi when I thought I was losing my memory. I thought having to remember a set of movements would help. Whenever I tried to learn by video, I ended up falling over or contorting myself into a pretzel so turned to a local community hall group. No mirrors. Hu was our mirror. I'm very grateful to have learned this way as I had to truly internalise the movements. Plus I didn't have to face the other-worldliness sensation of adjusting to seeing myself moving around in front of a full length mirror. I could concentrate only on the postures.
I soon realised that tai chi worked for me.
I could feel the energy, see it in the increased blood flow to my hands and enjoyed the challenge of remembering the postures and the sequence. Qigong soothed me. The combination became increasingly meditative and grounding.
In 2009, my husband had a sudden massive heart attack at work. I was a wreck as they worked on him at the hospital and tried to stablise his heart. I couldn't stop crying. Finally they were able to stabilise him enough to put three stents in his arteries. Part of the procedure involved 'chilling' him for at least several hours, almost to the point of hypothermia. (I'm sure there's a technical term for this but I have no idea what it is) This allowed his heart to not work as hard as it didn't have to pump blood all through his body.
As you can imagine, the day had been extremely traumatic. Eventually all the family left. One of my step daughters was coming back to stay overnight with me. Alone in the empty waiting room late at night, I dimmed the lights and practised tai chi and qigong. Their familiarity and the steady rocking rhythm of one qigong in particular, comforted and calmed me like nothing else could that day. At one point, a janitor came in to clean the garbage. He apologised for disturbing me then when he saw what I was doing gave me a thumbs up.
I practise tai chi anytime and anywhere. Sometimes at work on my midnight shift, I tai chi walk down the hallway. Off view of the security camera!
Despite knowing how much tai chi and qigong benefit me, I sometimes find it difficult to get myself moving, to make myself practise even though my body may be craving it. It doesn't have to take very long. Three cycles of International Eight Form takes about 9 minutes. But I feel better, more centred, more grounded and simply healthier every single time. And stronger, physically and mentally. As such, tai chi and qigong are indispensable tools for me. Worth pushing through resistance.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.