Tai Chi & Qigong
Tai Chi Chuan as a spiritual practice reveals the wisdom of the ages. A timeless philosophy from China based on living and acting in accord with nature’s cyclic patterns of change.
For over 2,000 years, Chinese have practiced Tai Chi for health. The ancient Taoists invented this system of exercise to preserve their health, mind and body to prevent aging. Today Tai Chi is practiced to cultivate physical fitness and spiritual harmony within oneself and as a system of defending oneself against disease or “defend oneself from oneself”. Only with correct instruction can one benefit fully from the healing aspects of the art.
Tai Chi and Health
Tai Chi enables students to cultivate “Chi”, the intrinsic energy of life force of the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine many ailments are considered to be signals of a temporary fault in the flow of Chi and are treated by carefully manipulating and balancing this flow.
Some areas of self treatment are:
Respiratory – Common colds, coughs and asthma.
Digestion – Nausea, weight problems, indigestion, ulcers, irritable colon. Tai Chi balances energy and massages internal organs, reducing disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
Nervous System – Manage stress, anger, worry, insomnia, listlessness, depression, anxiety and fear. Increase mental focus and clarity of thought, improving memory and concentration.
Circulation – Helps to normalize high and low blood pressure. Reduce palpitations and heart murmur. Increase vitality and stamina.
Bones, Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons – Relieved: arthritis and back pain caused by tension and fatigue. Improves flexibility of muscles, joints and connective tissue.
Immunity and Regeneration – Increased T-cell count enhances the immune system. Increase in Chi retards aging.
Tai Chi creates beneficial changes in breathing rate, oxygen absorption, blood circulation, digestive activity and metabolic rate. During Tai Chi practice energy is generated and stored, not consumed.
The objective of the introductory class is for students to:
Achieve an innate understanding of the essence of Tai Chi and Chi Kung(Qigong)
Learn and understand basic Chi Kung breathing.
Learn the basic 24 movement Tai Chi form.
History and philosophy are also discussed.
Tai Chi classes run on a regular schedule and class schedules at different training locations can be viewed here.
A typical class begins with 10 to 15 minutes of gentle warm-up exercises. The next 10 to 15 minutes is devoted to Chi Kung(Qigong) practice which teaches the students to identify and control their Chi. The remaining class time is spent learning the Tai Chi form.
Instruction emphasizes a relaxed mind and body while guiding the student through the physical motion of each movement.
Combat applications are demonstrated with each new step of the form to enhance student understanding of the movements; however, self defense is not taught in the introductory class, but will be the focus of future courses.
Classes are informal and casual, yet structured. Although no prior experience is necessary, students need a certain amount of self discipline and self motivation. Best results are achieved with 10 to 15 minutes of daily practice at home.
Over hundreds of years China has developed an extremely effective system of breathing exercises for controlling both body and mind. These exercises called “qigong” (pronounced chi gung), are performed for maximum health, strengthening the body, warding off disease and prolonging life.
Today, millions of people practice this ancient therapy. The Chinese character “qi” means respiration; “gong” means regulation of respiration through the power of the mind. Regulating the flow of qi, which also means internal energy, promotes both internal and external healing.
Qigong can be described as a combination of controlled breathing, focused concentration and simple movements for health, relaxation, stress reduction and healing. Moving qi throughout the body enables the body to heal itself.
How Does it work?
Qi, the vital essence, is not something you can see or touch but its effect can be felt both physically and mentally through the practice of qigong. Building on the knowledge of clinical practice in China, modern research has begun to establish material basis for the existence of qi, the internal energy that is channeled throughout the body.
Unlike Tai Chi, which involves memorizing a series of movements, qigong incorporates simple, natural postures with various breathing techniques. These powerful, yet gentle exercises unblock the passage of the qi by opening the body’s network of channels and building strength to defend against disease and aging. Through the power of the mind and constant practice, the student learns how to direct the flow of qi.
Qigong exercises are designed to accommodate individual differences in age, body type and physical condition. They can be practiced in both motion and stillness to cultivate internal energy. These exercises require a student to relax, to be calm, natural and free from distractions, so that stress is reduced and tensions dispelled. They assist the body and mind to work together to produce a healthy individual.
Grandmaster Hoy K. Lee teaches what is called the 18-movement qigong form. It comprises regulation of breathing with movements that are simple and easy to learn. It does not require any special knowledge or complicated technique, any hard stretching or stressful movement. The movements are slow and gentle, they can procure good curative effects. It is especially good for those who are weak or in poor health.
- Boosts energy
- Improved circulation
- Retards aging
- Lubricates the joints
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces tension
- Enhances relaxation and calmness of mind
- Improves metabolism, appetite and digestion
- Wards of disease
- Massages internal organs
- Maintains weight control
- Strengthen central nervous system
- Balances external and internal energy
- Promotes self-control
- Improves quality of life