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 – 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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Put some spice into your tai chi practice

Practice, practice, practice. We’ve all heard that before whether it’s practicing a musical instrument, an athletic pursuit, writing, reading or tai chi.  TherMeandAliya4e is no doubt that it’s important to practice but it should not become a chore or it will become monotonous and more difficult to endure. In other words, we have to figure out ways to make our daily practice interesting and fun while at the same time achieve some small goal or make some small improvement in the process.  READ MORE