The Practice of Tai Chi

- Christine T. Morgan, February 2018

“Whoever practices Tai Chi Chuan regularly will gain the pliability of a child,
the vitality of a lumberjack, and the wisdom of a sage.”
– Ancient Chinese Adage

Tai chi is often referred to as “moving meditation”. In direct contrast to the fast-paced, hectic lives many of us lead today. Our current lifestyle has many negative effects on our bodies and minds. Tai Chi is an integration of mind, body and spirit and is practiced by millions through the world for health, longevity and as well as for self-defense.

There are two very important internal components to effective practice of Tai Chi. First, let’s talk about song which translates to loosening and gently expanding the joints. This strengthens the joints and relaxes the mind and body. By loosening and expanding the spine, we often become more positive as well as physically and mentally balanced. This usually results in thinking more freely and increased flexibility.

We also need jing the other internal component, which brings about quieting of the mind, mindfulness, tranquility, and serenity. Jing “state” involves being mindful of the inner self without judgment, according to Dr. Paul Lam of the Tai Chi for Health Institute. Tai chi engages both the mind and the body. However, both song and jing are needed to strengthen qi (energy).

To fully reap the benefits of song and jing, our movements should be slow, smooth and continuous. Internal strength is achieved by moving gently as if there was mild resistance, such as moving through water. Correct alignment and weight transfer are also essential. In this way, Tai chi exercises the entire mind and body and strengthens joints, muscles, ligaments and internal organs.

It is suggested that one practice at least 20 minutes per day most days of the week. The goal of practice is not perfection. The goal is qi.

Using Tai Chi Principles to Achieve Health and Wellness

- Christine T. Morgan, January 2018

There are various forms of Tai Chi (or correctly: Tai Chi Chuan) and various approaches and focus. According to Dr. Paul Lam, a medical doctor and internationally renown Tai Chi expert, “Tai Chi is an internal art that integrates mind and body, cultivating internal energy, and promoting health and harmony”.

Although I teach two different forms, the focus of all my classes is improvement of both external and internal health, harmony, and wellness. No matter what form or style you practice, the underlying principles are of utmost importance.

To experience the full power of Tai Chi, movements should incorporate most (if not all the principles). Therefore, a form (or sequence) does not have to be long in order to benefit the mind and the body. It isn’t about how many movements you do. What counts is the quality of the movement (what are the underlying principles) and how you adhere to the principles when practicing the movements.

With consistent practice, you will be able to feel the internal energy and continue to generate even more. The result is balance improvement (and thus fall prevention), improved relaxation, pain relief, and numerous other positive effects on the mind and body. The more you practice, the more you will benefit. You are taking control of your health and wellness.

More discussion on principles in the following months.