Tai chi – better back, better balance

DirectionChang6Put 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

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But how shall I practice master?

beijing-tai-chi_1695_600x450No 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

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