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Beginner mistake number 1 … trying to damn hard, and other tips for success.

August 14, 2017

I see it every class, especially from new students.  They try to hard.

Tai Chi and Qigong are supposed to be fun, relaxing and designed to help a person feel better.

How are they supposed to do any of these when they are stressed out from tying to be perfect, trying to “get it right”, and trying to understand it all when they have just started learning?

Stealing a line from Nike, hopefully without being sued the idea is “just do it”.

Following along as best you can, picking up skills as you go, and learning to relax as you learn.

In my classes, we always do some skill work that we use in all the movements. I tell my students practice the skills, and let your body adjust them to your ability.  Seeking perfection is the wrong approach since there is in no perfect.  There is only what you can do now and then improve on that.   “What you can do now” will increase faster than you expect, but most likely not as fast as you want.

Trying to hard causes mental stress, physical tension, inability to focus clearly and a loss of enjoyment of being in the moment.  All of which are critical aspects of the art you are working on.

In Tai Chi and Qigong the 6 important things for beginners, from my point of view:

  • Relax and have fun: Allowing yourself to let go and try not to overthink of try too hard.  It will all become better with practice.
  • Form is not critical:  I was taught and teach the idea of being in the zone, or close to what you are shown as far as positioning. Your body and interpretation will dictate how you move
  • Intent: Working with the intent of the movements and learning relaxed control and energy flow
  • Heart smiling:  letting the smile on your face come from your heart. A soft, relaxed jaw smile, like the Mona Lisa
  • Feeling center: Learning where your center is will carry across all you learn as your grow in your practice and skills.
  • Breathe: You would be amazed at how many people hold their breath while learning. I do teach breathing patterns however when first learning, let your body tell you how to breathe. The important thing is remembering to not hold it.

Remember, the bottom line is, allow yourself to have fun, take each small improvement as a major victory and enjoy your trip to feeling better.

To your health and wellness!

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