Put your back into it! Oh, my aching back! Aren’t we always talking about how our backs feel or we can’t do something because our back hurts or we didn’t get a good night’s sleep because our back bothered us all night?
Let’s face it; we use our back a lot! In fact we use our back for just about everything we do because it’s our postural support mechanism. It provides us with support and the connectivity of our upper body. Clearly it plays an important part of our overall health and well-being yet many people ignore the importance of this structural load-bearing system.
Tai chi emphasizes good posture, good foundation and whole body movement. The back plays a key role in all three of these elements. Once we establish a firm and relaxed root with our feet, we allow for the free flow of energy, or chi, to our waist. Our waist then controls this movement of energy and directs it up our spine and through our loosened and upright back. The entire body is connected as the internal flow of energy acts like a whip, moving in unison to release stored chi. Read more
It seems that our society is all about quick fixes, quick responses and quick solutions. We are so over-connected these days that normal conversation has been replaced with texting and our notion of getting away on a vacation is nearly impossible because of our attachment to cell phones, lap tops and work pads. Everything is fast paced and very often if we can’t learn it or do it quickly, it isn’t worth our time. What a shame!
It’s time we all stepped away from our computers, put down our cell phones and other electronic gadgets and took the time to “smell the neighbor’s garden.” There is so much to enjoy out there when we squelch our high-intensity lifestyles and stop fighting with the normal frustrations of life. Read more
Arches are fine examples of man made and natural architecture that display elegance but at the same time great strength and expansiveness. Picture some of the arches you have seen in person or in photographs; the ancient arches of Rome and The Arc de Triomphe, the modern Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the many natural arches across the West. They all exhibit great beauty and because of their inherent strength, have withstood the test of time. In tai chi we make use of the arch all the time by practicing the bow stance and the horse stance. These strong, graceful stances are the very foundation for the tai chi form. READ MORE
Many people have been fascinated with the slow, deliberate movements of tai chi and the grace and beauty of the postures. They are mesmerized by the softness and the intense focus of the tai chi player and enticed by their meditative actions. They can clearly see the physical nature of the movements and how it appears as if the body is getting a complete workout. But what they cannot see is how this form of exercise for the mind and the body simply becomes a way of life. Read more
No matter what athletic pursuit, hobby or skill we enjoy, there always comes a time when we wonder if we are practicing correctly, spending enough time honing our skills or even over-practicing. It’s our natural human instinct to desire improvement regardless of whether we compete with others, because we are still competing with ourselves.
To improve at anything requires diligence and dedication. We don’t necessarily have to become the absolute best at our chosen skill, but in order to satisfy our thirst for self-gratification we must put in a certain amount of time so that we continue to make small steps forward. And importantly that is exactly how we should practice; one small step at a time, focusing on a particular goal. Read more
Its February already and we’ve all had an opportunity to start our exercise and fitness programs for the year. Whether you’ve joined a local gym, started jogging, or enrolled in a group fitness class of some sort, you are well on your way to treating your body to a more healthy lifestyle. You will tone your muscles, lose a bit of weight and increase your stamina. But wait a minute! Haven’t you forgotten something?
Very often we get so focused on our bodies that we forget about an equally important part of our being; our minds. After all, what is it that controls all aspects of our perceptions, our reasoning and our thinking, both conscious and unconscious? That’s right, our minds! So why do we often neglect mind exercises? READ MORE
Are you truly listening? What’s that you say? Have you ever stood listening to a friend tell you a story or talk about a problem and then when all was said and done you wondered what it was she was talking about? Have you gone to a concert then afterwards tried to recall or hum some of the songs?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all ‘listen’ to things but many times we don’t actually hear them. We are either exercising our selective hearing or perhaps we are relying too much on our ears to hear.
Of course we have to use our body’s auditory instrument to listen but there is another way to actually hear, whether it is spoken word, music, natural phenomenon (like thunder) or any other sound. Read more.
Many people are surprised to hear that tai chi is in fact an ancient Chinese martial art that could help you fend off an attacker. People are even more surprised to hear that tai chi may also help you fend off an attacker of other sorts; viral attack. This year the flu seems to be running rampant particularly in the Northeast. Read more.
What is it that makes us better, gives us confidence and provides us with a sense of accomplishment? For many of us, taking on a challenge or confronting an obstacle and finding a way to persevere and overcome is a sure-fire way to give us a sense of achievement. Thomas Edison once said, ‘The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.’
Tai chi can easily provide a challenge for anyone. The trick is the stick-to-itiveness part of the equation but traveling the long road has its benefits. Read more