At its highest form, Tai Chi is a moving meditation, where the mind is completely relaxed and empty and the movements come as if the body has always known them.
This meditative component starts out small in beginners with focus on breath and movement co-ordination. This encourages the Tai Chi Practitioner to pause and be reflective and importantly, focus on the movements.
Tai Chi offers the opportunity to reconnect the body and mind. As the movements are very slow and require a high level of focus, the mind-body connection is fundamental to Tai Chi.
By reconnecting the body and mind through practise we find that practitioners have better overall reflexes, better spacial awareness and are present in their daily activities.
Our breath is our life force. When it is controlled and mastered out life follows suite. In Tai Chi, we connect the breathe era deliberately to a movement in order to regain control of our life force.
A focus on breathing helps practitioners to find a rhythm and flow in their practise, this helps the momentum of the form/movements as well as the memory to remember what comes next.
So many of us feel the weight and significance of our own heavy bodies. This comes form the mind as well as from a disconnect from the body. Through Tai Chi you will find your own inner lightness. Where the body moves gracefully and without effort or resistance.
Protect Your Joints
Tai Chi asks you to move slowly and deliberately, for some, this new type of movement might highlight problems in the body not previously realized, especially relating to alignment, mobility and joints.
To ensure that the joints are protected we loosen and relax them before every session, this should also be done during self practise. We work on the muscles and tendons that support the joints, making sure they are strong and flexible and then finally we work on alignment on the body, making sure that the joint is not taking the strain of a misaligned bad habit that has been ingrained in muscle memory.
During a practise a joint should never be over stretched or pushed beyond its range of motion. Respect your body, work within your limits and over time your range of motion will improve. Tai chi should never be painful or harmful. Always relax the stance and work to a place of ease. Find your own lightness.
In Tai Chi we use 3 different parts of the foot. The heel, the ball and the toe. These are specifically different and need to be considered whilst practicing. When we walk we don’t often think about our foot movement in Tai Chi we work with the different aspects of the foot for balance and movement.
The foot has a heel, the ball of the foot and the toe. By rocking back and opening up on our heel we can make space for movement, by turning on the ball of the foot we can ensure stability and by placing the toe first we ensure proper alignment.
Good posture requires a strong core and back muscles to support your body column. Many people suffer from a weak core which results in a posture with an unhealthy anterior pelvic tilt. This promotes a weak back and poor posture. In Tai Chi we are constantly working to move the hips into a posterior pelvic tilt position, engaging the core and strengthening the lower back. This allows you to find your true core and better your back health.
Throughout class we work on foundational stances, blocks, strikes and kicks as used in the tai chi form and as can be seen in many martial arts.
I do not specifically focus on fighting but I do understand and can break down when necessary the martial application of the different movements within a form