I came to my practice from a need to quiet my mind, de-stress, heal and bring about self-awareness. In our busy lives we often find it hard to connect with ourselves or the present moment. I used to live more in my mind and less in body awareness. I would go through my days unaware of the stressful pace I pushed myself to make each moment count. I seldom gave myself time to rest or to check in with myself. I never noticed my tight muscles, my quick shallow breaths, the exhaustion setting in and the disappearance of joy in my life. I held the belief that I could not afford to rest.
I did not understand that tai chi was more than just a bunch of movements and breath work. Yes, I felt the benefits from doing tai chi such as being more aware, feeling more relaxed, happier and uplifted in spirit after doing the slow movements and deep breathing, but after a few hours, I would return to my hectic pace of living. I would forget what I had practiced. I did not integrate the principles of tai chi into the way I moved through life.
During this time of the pandemic I have had to practice on a deeper level the art of tai chi and qigong. I have had to slow down the pace of my days, pause and listen, come to awareness that pushing through to accomplish things does not really achieve any worth when it is at the expense of my health or my enjoyment of the day. I need time and space to breathe, to allow things to unfold naturally and effortlessly, to trust that all things will happen when they are meant to, to smile, to be. This approach is more in sync with the spirit of tai chi. This is when my tai chi practice truly supports my life. The slow movements and breathing of tai chi and qigong assists me to live in this awareness.