I’ve learnt a lot about recovery from illness in the last 12 months. I realise now how difficult it can be, and in particular how easily muscle wastage can happen, and how quickly it actually takes place; it really doesn’t take very long at all. I taught almost every day through the 2 years of Covid. I was in front of the screen constantly demonstrating; there was no opportunity to stand back to observe how the rest of the class was doing because, with about 70 people doing
Who is Moving? Most of us think of ourselves ‘travelling through time’ – we start the day, the sun has risen; we finish the day, the sun has set. It’s as though we’re in a car and moving from A to B – starting the journey, passing various sights and events along the way, and arriving. The road stayed where it was, and we moved along it, and, in doing so, other things changed simultaneously… e.g. we passed a variety of sights, we stopped for a coffee, it rained, and so on. H
When learning tai chi and qigong, one of the first problems encountered is learning how to step correctly. Most beginners ‘fall’ into a step, without controlling how or where they step. Because they are reluctant to bend the supporting leg (i.e. the one they are going to leave on the floor whilst moving the other one), the stepping leg won’t reach the floor unless they do a ‘controlled’ loss of balance and fall on to it. This reluctance becomes noticeably more extreme as pe
Over the last year, following a bereavement in Autumn 2020, I learnt what you might call a technique that I thought was very relevant to both tai chi and qigong. Not being in a very good place at that time, a friend, who was a counsellor, offered to give me a session to try to help me. I readily accepted, and what he suggested to me tied in so closely with what I do in Tai Chi and Qigong that I thought it was worth passing it on in case it was able to help anyone else. As he
Topical. If you’re interested, I have put a number of articles on to the tai chi website here which discuss those benefits, particularly in relation to the immune system. This is only a few though, and by searching for something along the lines of ‘medical research in tai chi (or qigong) and the immune system’, I’m sure you will come up with many more. If you haven’t already seen it, you might also enjoy this.
Connecting movements in tai chi & qigong. Sitting back. Moving your energy. Try jumping!
This is easily tested: Try jumping off the floor, but before doing so, hunch your shoulders firmly up by your ears and leave them there whilst jumping. You can still do the jump, but it’s not nearly so effective. Then try doing the same but relax your shoulders.
We do this every time we walk: When placing a foot ahead of us to walk and moving the weight on to it, the pelvis sinks into
What is ‘listening’ in tai chi & qigong? Ideally, listening is very light; it is being able to sense and respond to the gentlest of touches. If the pressure of one hair were placed against your skin, you would feel its direction and give way. Setting up how to feel it…
Listening is most easily felt when you are working with a partner, but in a different way it also applies to solo tai chi practice.
To feel it, it is necessary to have a partner to help you:-
1) Hold your a
Going with the ups & the downs.
How do you ‘convert’ one movement to another in Tai Chi or Qigong?
Perhaps, if I can understand these changes, for example, when the body starts to move back when it’s been going forwards, or turns left when it’s been turning right, I’ll be able to use it as a tool to understand the way in which I deal with change in my everyday life. So, if I can make sense of that transition in Tai Chi and understand how to make it feel unforced and comfor
Who practises? Your ‘norm’.
By this I mean the way that you usually make your body move, sit, stand, function. This is the way that your habits of, for example, tensing one muscle unnecessarily when using another, are constantly repeated, so much so that it feels strange when you break the habit – the most common of these probably being the way that we use our shoulders, or our lower backs.
Practising will have effect of your ‘owning’ the new way of using your body; it’s t
Revolving doors work because they have perfect central equilibrium, and therefore use minimum energy. In movement, we are aiming, as far as possible, to emulate that feeling, noticing that when one side of us turns one way, the other side turns the other way, and that each side of us is perfectly balanced. In other words, we are trying to feel the whole of our personal universe revolving in space whilst being subject to gravity. “For every action there is …” Getting it.
When speaking, you speak in phrases.
If you take a phrase like, “Don’t you know what I want?”, by putting the stress on different words, it starts to take on different meanings – in fact you can repeat that 6 word question 6 times, stressing a different word each time, and you have 6 slightly different sentences. The same has to be true for other aspects of our lives, speech is not the only way of expressing ourselves. Artists, dancers and craftsmen have their wa
There are many reasons for stress. What stresses one person might to another be a positive drive to action. And after the emergency…
The problems begin when the sympathetic nervous system, having dealt with the emergency, doesn’t settle down again and continues to over-function; this could be because of problems at work, at home, or with life generally. When this happens, the ‘temporary’ boost of glucose and the shutting down of part of your system becomes more th
Relaxation v. De-stressing.
You might think that relaxation is the same thing as de-stressing, but there’s a difference. De-stressing can use a variety of techniques that don’t necessarily involve relaxation of muscles. It’s relative.
How relaxed you are is a relative matter; perhaps there’s an ultimate, but it’s always in comparison to either how you were before, or to how someone else is. How is ‘relax’ defined? The state of body and mind being free from tension and anx
When you sit down on to a chair, you automatically, and without forcing it, do a pelvic tilt. If you don’t, you run the slight risk of hurting your spine.
The same thing should be true in tai chi and qigong when you move your weight from the front leg to the rear leg of a Bow stance; you need to do a pelvic tilt (see previous blog). Forcing it.
Without repeating the previous blog, I’ve noticed that quite a few people force the pelvis under Stretching or rel
Walking & ‘Open/Close’.
If you picture your body as a mobile vertical line, what allows you to be mobile is your ability to split that line at the base – in other words, you have legs.
You can move a leg forwards or backwards thereby temporarily fraying the vertical line from the pelvis downwards. The arms when walking & ‘Open/Close’.
The arms do the same thing; they swing forwards and backwards as you walk. Usually this is unconscious although it obviously doesn’t have t
When seeing Tai Chi or Qigong for the first time, it appears that all those graceful movements are the result of moving our limbs into the ‘correct’ position. So in order to learn those arts, we attempt to emulate the movements as precisely as possible. The art of precision.
I know this because I spent many years being an exponent of this way of learning as precisely as possible: Once upon a time… Approaching the matter.
About 8 years ago, I had a stude