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 was raised to work hard, make each moment productive and set the bars high in life. What I experienced from this mental or "monkey mind" approach to life was stress, exhaustion, weakened immune system and unhappiness. I had to learn a new approach to living.
As an instructor who holds classes in the park, the weather can often be unpredictable and challenging due to extreme conditions. I sought guidance from my Gung Fu friend Mark who has years of martial arts experience. Mark shared his teacher's advice which is as follows: "Climb a mountain on a windy day. Play sword on a full moon night. Read a book on a rainy night. Never play Taiji on a windy, cold day. Why? Because of the negative effect on the Oi. The wind is introducing too much air or pressure to the lungs. Also not to play internal arts in extreme heat due to the heat that is generated from Taiji. It is better to remain idle. You must play within the rules of nature! Too cold, bad. Too hot, the same."
I am filled with wonder, gratitude and awe for the journeys we travel and for the teachers we meet along the way.