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LifeStyle with Tai Chi and Qigong >> Tai Chi Qigong for Daily Life

The Four Enjoyments in Tai Chi and Qigong
by Sandy Brewer   

Movement, balance, concentration, and grace. These four elements are embodied in the practice of Tai Chi and Qigong. In fact, they are the essence of these ancient forms of exercise and art that reproduce one another in practice.

Movement. In our electronic age, we often spend too much time at a desk, or driving long distances. The idea of enforced exercise, while healthy, people often dislike – especially those people who eschew team sports, and dislike competition. Many people do not like to "work up a sweat." Medical practioners tell us movement aids muscle tone, circulation and joint flexibility needed in our daily lives. The sweeping, gentle movements of Tai Chi and the relaxing stretching of Qigong provide that movement.

Balance is more than not falling down, though that is important. Balance is also desirable in our lifestyles. The study of Qigong and Tai Chi, with their accompanying philosophies, can help bring a natural balance to our lives. We learn that each action has its controlling form – a balance. What’s more, the other balance – that of not falling down - is greatly improved by the study of Tai Chi and Qigong. The "walk" of Tai Chi develops stability. Movements emphasize stability. Qigong, especially BaDuanJin, develops ones physical balance. I have a friend who is afflicted with Parkinson’s. When she began studying Tai Chi, she could not walk well at all. Simply using a Tai Chi walk has improved her balance. She now also practices a Qigong BaDuanJin routine, and it has strengthened her muscles and given her greater balance.

Concentration. The clearing and relaxing of the mind and its application to matters at hand are enhanced by the study of concise routines. In our studies, we perform 8, 16, and 24 Form Tai Chi. Performing to standard music, especially with other students, we quickly discover that we must concentrate, but with a certain relaxation, if we are to keep together as a group. It takes concentration to remember the movements and their sequence. That concentration is wonderfully clearing to the mind. Troubles and frustrations take a back seat while we perform a routine. This spring, our class, mostly people over 55, began learning BaDuanJin Qigong. . We were delighted to attend the 4th International Health Qigong Tournament and Exchange in Vancouver, B.C. this September, and to compete in BaDuanJin Qigong. Imagine our thrill at achieving 2nd place in this tournament, due to the concentration we developed in practice.

Grace in movement is the essence of all Tai Chi and Qigong practice, and is the result of combining movement, concentration and balance. When performing routines properly, the movements are done with balance, concentration, and flow. When balance and concentration are maintained, the grace achieved follows in daily activity.

Movement, balance, concentration and grace. Each one leads to and supports the other in the constant circle of health and enjoyment we practice as Tai Chi. That’s why Tai Chi and Qigong are my passion.




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