Maybe someone has recommended Tai Chi or Qigong for you, or you've read some article that claims it's excellent for health or wellbeing or your particular health situation. Nine times out of ten the writers or recommenders do not practice themselves, so can't tell you exactly what amazing wonders are in store for you. I've written this guide to help you understand what you're getting into before you start.
A general caveat: Tai Chi and Qigong are not a quick solution to anything. They both take time and discipline to learn, but for those who take it, this journey is amazingly rewarding. Most people know within a few classes whether it's for them. You have nothing to lose by trying.
Any questions? Email me. I offer Qigong and Tai Chi classes each week. View the schedule and find out about my extremely reasonable fees here. I also offer occasional Sunday workshops. View upcoming workshops here.
Tai Chi and Qigong Can Help You:
Build a Better Relationship With Your Body
Modern living tends to disconnect us from our bodies. Most of us work at jobs that require us to sit for long periods of time, process information, and otherwise behave like floating minds barely anchored to the physical realm.
While any form of exercise will help your body, Tai Chi and Qigong are unique in their ability to increase body awareness so you can begin to remember how to enjoy having a body again.
Learn more here.
A while back, one of my students had a big grin on her face at the end of class. I asked her what was up.
"Everything feels like it's tingling and warm," she said. "Is that chi?"
"That's amazing," she said. "I've never felt anything like that before."
Learn more about feeling freaking amazing.
Use Your Mind Effectively
Through Tai Chi and Qigong, you learn to settle the mind down and focus it on what you are doing. I've learned over time to put a stop to the mental grinding and restless negative thinking that are the mind's favourite tricks. You can too.
Learn about becoming a Jedi.
Let Go of Your Baggage
Chances are you've got quite a bit of baggage. It's okay: we all do. It's part of the human deal. Unfortunately they don't hand you a pamphlet at birth that tells you that your job here is to let all of that go. Tai Chi and Qigong can help with that.
Here's how you can learn to let go.
Tweak Your Genes in the Right Direction
Every day, scientists are learning more about why genes express themselves the way they do. As it turns out, some genes are turned on or off according to what's going on in your environment. Surprise, the key here is stress: genes will tend to work in your favour if you are having more good experiences than bad. Tai Chi and Qigong are a way to ensure that you are getting in some solid, uplifting, energizing, feel-good experience each day.
Learn more about the fascinating research into the relationship between stress and gene expression.
Stand Up for Yourself
Tai Chi is a martial art, and I teach it that way. That does not mean that we start kicking and punching you on day one and requiring you to defend yourself. It means that stepping onto the Tai Chi path means that you will learn a better, stronger, more relaxed and confident way of being in the world.
I've written more about Tai Chi and the emotional implications of standing up for yourself here if you want to learn more. Go here to read a longer post about Tai Chi as martial art. Go here to learn for some quick info on Tai Chi and self-defense.
Tai Chi method is martial art; Tai Chi purpose is healing and optimal health.
There is an enormous body of evidence to suggest that Tai Chi and Qigong both support healing on all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Learn more about some common health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong.
For more specific information about using Tai Chi and Qigong for Health Recovery, see my series on that topic.
Distinguish Between What You Need and What You Don't
Tai Chi and Qigong work to enhance your "radar" - your intuitive sense of the world around you - at the same time as they increase your body awareness. All of a sudden, your body and emotions can talk to you in ways they haven't been able to in a long time. Sometimes they have a lot to say. This is a good thing, although it can be strange or a little uncomfortable at first.
Read more about developing discernment through Tai Chi and Qigong here.
Practice Something Deeply
We are a culture of samplers. One weekend we are skydiving; the next, we're learning shiatsu; then it's on to fly fishing and wine tasting and cheese making and and and. There is nothing wrong with trying new things, but after a while, all this experimenting, tasting, and flitting around is going to make you feel a little unreal. You owe it to yourself to sink into one thing for a while, and explore it thoroughly.
Learn more about sinking deeply into the world of Tai Chi and Qigong here.
Stop Being a Muggle
I'm going to be honest with you, this is the part of Tai Chi and Qigong practice that I had the most difficulty accepting and now it is the part through which I have learned the most profound lessons. The more you practice Tai Chi and Qigong, the more you become immersed in a perspective on life that is...different from the common, regular, mundane, material way of looking at things.
When you enter the world of chi / energy and start to really work with it, you gently and gradually shift your perceptual abilities, and the terms with which you interact with the world.
Read more here.