I started doing Tai Chi around six months ago and although it was mostly new to me (I had taken a few informal classes around a decade ago), I somehow felt as though I recognized it. Over the years, I had attended a number of yoga classes as well, and while I liked them when I actually made it there, I just couldn’t seem to make it there consistently. For that matter, I couldn’t seem to do any form of regular exercise (other then walking our dog of course). Tai Chi was immediately different in that I fell into a cadence from the start — both by going to classes 2-3 times a week, and by practicing the foundations daily at home.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing a blog post about Tai Chi. I have no purpose for it really. But I guess I wanted to acknowledge it in some way.
Tai Chi just seems to fit me… it calms and centers me; my body almost craves the movements and the stretch; I like the slow dance of the whole set and I like that I’m getting stronger and healthier day by day.
Last month, and again today, I had the opportunity to take video training sessions with our Master who lives in China. Practicing under his direction has brought my personal Tai Chi practice to a whole new level and I believe that following his instructions will also help me to heal. I am honoured that he has agreed to work with me over a three month period (two months left!).
Since starting Tai Chi in April I haven’t missed more than 1-2 days of practice in any one week. That is, until last week when I hit a major mental wall. Somehow I wasn’t making it a priority and I missed a week straight of both classes and private practice. I started to feel almost self-destructive and wasn’t treating myself or my body as well as I usually do. Even on a day when I tried to practice, I stopped immediately. Just couldn’t do it. My stress levels ramped up, my back and neck started to hurt, my health issues got worse, I wasn’t eating or sleeping well. Happily, a friend from Tai Chi managed to inspire me to start up again and to push through it. It was almost good though… failing to practice made me realize how much better I feel when I do. In my opinion, that’s good motivation.
I’m still really new to this, and from what I understand, practicing this is a lifetime’s worth of learning. So that is what I hope… that I’ll make it to my 80’s or 90’s, and will still be feeling the daily joy, strength and peace of practicing Tai Chi.
Just to provide a little background, this is quoted from the Zen-Tao Chi-Kung Tai Chi club:
Tai Chi is a form of whole body exercise from China that encompasses various levels of martial art and increases strength, energy, flexibility, balance, awareness, and a sense of mental well-being. In Chinese medicine the circulation of Chi inside the body is very important. Tai Chi and Chi Kung are traditionally used for this purpose.
In the 6th century the Buddhist Abbot, Ta Mo, began Kung Fu and Chi Kung at the Shaolin Temple. Tai Chi was started by the Taoist sage Chang San Feng from Wudang Mountain in the 11th century. Zen-Tao Chi-Kung Tai Chi incorporates the essence of these Shaolin and Wudang traditions. It came to Canada in 2000, and is practiced in Winnipeg, Brandon, Toronto, Calgary and Montréal.
Master Ng Pak-Ching named our club Zen-Tao Chi-Kung to honour the traditions under which he has studied. He is a Zen Buddhist who lives in China and is a Master of Tai Chi and Chi Kung. Master Ng has studied and practiced the healing arts and philosophies of China for more than 30 years. He has previously taught in Canada and by permission, Canadian students have gone to China to study with him.