The tai chi legend of the falling leaf

Autumn Leaves

Our actions should be effortless in the same way that a leaf drifts to the ground by riding the wind and the pull of gravity.

What better way to spend a couple hours than to go outdoors during the autumn season on a bright, clear and crisp day to observe the colors, the clarity of the sky and watch the leaves flutter down to the ground.  It instills a sense of awe with Mother Nature and makes you realize that we are all a part of this great circle in an ever-changing environment.

The leaves change color every year and the trees shed their leaves to prepare for winter only to sprout new buds and new leaves in the spring. In our tai chi practice we must be aware of this great circle of life. All of our movements are rounded and we always return to the source; our center, our root.  Our actions should be effortless in the same way that a leaf drifts to the ground by riding the wind and the pull of gravity.  The falling leaf does not plan its path nor fight its descent; it merely goes along for the ride.

When you practice your tai chi you can emulate the falling leaves and allow your energy to flow naturally with no set agenda; your legs and feet forming your root and your upper body loose and relaxed, following your waist.

It is well worth your time to observe nature as often as you can for it has much to teach.  After all, legend has it that tai chi got its start by observing a fight between a crane and a snake.  Who knows what other tai chi legends you can start in your own observations.

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Tai chi energy is everywhere

Tai Chi Lee

Tai Chi Lee

Energy, energy everywhere! Think about it; there is energy within us, all around us and in everything we see and feel.  There is energy in both natural and man-made things.  There’s energy in your house, a tree in your back yard, your car and even the air you breathe!  The mystery surrounding this energy lies in the fact that we can’t hear it, see it or touch it.

In tai chi we speak of many different energies, including our own internal energy, or chi.  All living things possess a life force and even inanimate things, such as rocks, possess their own energy.  We speak of earth and heaven energy perhaps as we focus on our breath in meditation.  Equally important in the practice of tai chi is the notion of various energies to be aware of such as ward-off energy, sticking energy, pulling energy and splitting energy.  These forces are constantly at play and require our attention as we practice both the empty hand form as well as pushing hands.

The very existence of these energies and the level at which we must raise our consciousness is part of what makes tai chi such a profound art form.  We can practice tai chi at a very surface level, enjoying the benefits of an aerobic exercise while relaxing and toning our bodies; or we can practice tai chi at a much deeper level by incorporating the use of these energies or forces and using our creative and meditative skills to achieve a true sense of the martial aspect of tai chi in our practice.

Approach your own tai chi practice with different goals in mind.  Perhaps focus on true relaxation and meditation one day and the next day concentrate on your energy flow, followed the next day by your ability to maintain good posture.  But always stay in touch with your internal energy as well as the energy you project – it’s everywhere, within us and all around us!

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Tai chi – slow down, try it and stick with it!

gardenIt 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

Tai chi is not just an exercise – it’s a way of life

Many pewww.taichilee.comople 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

Use a tai chi approach and take it slow

Do you remember the children’s fable about The Tortoise and the Hare? The fast-moving, witty hare challenges the slow and deliberate tortoise to a raImage3ce. The tortoise consistently plods on all day, step after step while the hare races off but quickly loses focus, stops to rest and falls asleep. He consequently loses the race to a much slower opponent.  READ MORE

 

Like yin and yang, our nation must change

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, our nation and the world mourns the senseless loss of innocent young children and heroic teachers. We hang our heads in sadness but also in shame. As a united nation, we have a moral obligation to revisit and amend our constitutional right ttwofisheso bear arms. Just as the tai chi two fishes diagram symbolizes balance and change, we must now search for a nonpartisan and expeditious solution to the gun laws in our country.  READ MORE

Health benefits from practicing tai chi

Tai chi offers a great way to open your senses, express your inner energy and exercise all at the same time.

Many people have hImageeard of tai chi or seen it performed on television. Perhaps you have witnessed people practicing tai chi in your local park or maybe you have read about some of the medical and psychological benefits. To be sure, there are many advantages to gain by finding a local class and indulging in a lifelong learning experience that is tai chi.  READ MORE