Tai Chi is often referred to as fluid meditation or meditation in motion. The gentle slow movements are relaxing for the mind and body. This practice is great for a sense of well-being and inner peace. As the earth blossoms forth with new energy and life, I like to practice outdoors. Spring is a very special time for outdoor practice since the fresh air is filled with the fragrance of spring time blossoms. Whatever you choose to do for your self-care practice make sure that you connect a bit with nature as she awakens from her winter slumber. Best to your health!
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it is important to embrace the practice of self-love. Self-love leads to self-care. Self-love does not equate with selfishness. Self-love is a spiritual principle. This spiritual principle can be applied to tai chi practice as well as to daily life.
In Taoist teachings humans are the connection between heaven and earth. Standing in the Universal Stance we honor our place as this connection. We practice moving from our center. Our center is one of balance. I like to coin it as center of self-love. In tai chi, as in the rest of life, we practice moving from our center. When we do this we do not over do, but rather conserve our energy. We don’t force or control, but we deflect forces coming towards us that could harm us. We listen to our limits. In life if we have absorbed too much news, we turn it off. If we are exhausted, we replenish ourselves by resting more. We are aware of our active and worried minds or “monkey minds” and how our monkey minds can cause us to lose our center. We calm our monkey minds. Tai chi can help us reconnect back to our center. The slow and gentle movements with deep breathing help to calm our bodies and our minds so we can practice self-awareness and self-care. Then we can practice the spiritual principle of self-love. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Movement is important for health. From a Chinese medical perspective if there are blockages energetically or physically, the flow of Qi is inhibited and our health starts to diminish. The key to beneficial movement is always to listen to what our bodies can handle. Tai chi is great for enhancing balance, stamina and flexibility as we age.
Happy Winter Solistice! Enjoy all the beautiful celebrations during this Season. Peace, love and light in 2022!
My next door neighbor had an attempted car jacking in our alley. There have been over 660 car jackings in 2021 in Minneapolis and over 3,000 auto thefts. Living through the George Floyd riots, the pandemic and now the rise in crime can really tax the nerves and leave me feeling run down and anxious. A lot of us are probably feeling a sense of uncertainty and exhaustion.
So what am I doing for self-care? Yes, my tai chi and qigong is a huge part of my daily routine to calm my nerves and release the tightness in my body. Another thing I have been trying to do is to take walks and capture the beauty of my neighborhood. Here are two photos that I took on one of my walks.
I saw this street on my walk back from practicing in my pine grove today. I actually did my tai chi barefoot on a bed of soft pine needles. Soaking up the sunlight took my sore throat away and being in nature felt incredibly healing. So beautiful today!
Are you a highly focused person driven to get things done? Do you forget to do self-care? For the past 4 days I have been in front of my computer. My body was frozen into a sitting posture. This morning I actually had to battle my mind to allow myself to do some tai chi and qigong. My mind wanted to jump into the mentally etched list of tasks for the day, but my body was pleading for loving attention and care.
Today while doing my qigong postures and tai chi form I could feel my body releasing tension and dissolving aches that I allowed to accumulate. I marveled at how the slow movements and deep breath work were in sync to bring me back to my happy place. I felt more relaxed, stretched out, and centered to tackle another day of computer work. Hope you too have a self-care routine which brings you back to your happy place. If not, tai chi and qigong might help you too.
I love lotus flowers and being among them. Lotuses are symbols of purity as well as being beautiful. Google states, "The Lotus flower is regarded in many different cultures, especially in eastern religions, as a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth. Its characteristics are a perfect analogy for the human condition: even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the Lotus produces the most beautiful flower."
Photos courtesy of my friend Becky Duchon, who gave me the gift of a spectacular afternoon among the waterlilies. Tai chi was inspired by observing the patterns, rhythms and beauty of nature.
I have to admit that sometimes when I listen to negative things, I can perceive the world as a negative place, which is not the whole truth. If I turn my attention to the present moment, I realize that all is okay. Tai chi and qigong helps me to put my attention on the present moment. Where we put our energy and focus does matter.
I am filled with wonder, gratitude and awe for the journeys we travel and for the teachers we meet along the way.