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Tai Chi and Qigong: My oh my, the learning never stops

May 16, 2018

Years ago I asked my sensei when I know the forms he was teaching me.  He did his sly smile and said, “your last breath will be the end of your learning the nuances”.

You know what, here is is 18 years later and I am still finding he was right.

In classes I teach technique and forms.  We work on individual parts to get the movements down enough to work the forms.  Then we work the forms to start on timing of the flow and to continue with the learning of the pieces.

The question I always get is “how do you make it look so smooth?”.  The answer is simple.  Hours and hours and hours…..  or easier said, years of practice.

A secret:

The flow of Tai Chi and Qigong comes from developing the feeling and connection of how you move than in trying to perfect the pattern.

When you feel it, the pattern falls into place

But when will this magic of feeling begin to happen?

Ah, I am glad you asked.  The answer; I can’t tell you.  It could be your first time through a movement.  It could take 1, 5, 10 or 20 years.

You, the person performing (playing) at Tai Chi and Qigong have your own qualities of learning, focus, concentration, awareness and attitude that come into play. You also have the mechanics of movement themselves.  Some are more coordinated naturally so things fall into place quicker.

What type of learner are you.  Some types take longer to process and internalize the movement principles.  Other feel them immediately.

This learning Tai Chi and Qigong is a process.

As I mentioned,  these arts have steps and various pieces to them.

For Tai Chi, it is like learning to dance.  Tai Chi forms are groups of movement that flow from one to another with steps, turns and lots of coordinated limb movement.

  • you learn the steps
  • you work on nuance of the movements
  • you begin to work on the breathing to coordinate the timing of movement with inhales and exhales
  • you begin working with the energy aspect
  • and you do this for rest of your life, continuing to learn more about your mind, your body,  the forms, and enjoy the health benefits you gain from all of it.
  • you find the more you learn, the more you find you need to learn.  It really is a lifetime of learning.

For Qigong it is similar except without the dance.  Qigong is not a walking set of movements, or walking “forms”.  There are grouped exercises with most being standing in place with step or two in each individual piece.

The great thing about Qigong is that is easier to learn and you can gain benefits quicker than from Tai Chi.  Even so, it is still a process which will teach you more about yourself than you would imagine.

What changes?

The main change is the continued connection to your body.

  • Learning to relax more completely
  • Learning how to open the joints and move from internal control points
  • Learning better and more complete breathing
  • Learning to feel and develop better Qi (energy)
  • Gaining better health internally, externally and mentally (emotionally)

If the word commitment comes to mind than I have done my job

The idea of moving is a health oriented idea. The ideal of moving in Qigong and Tai Chi is a proven way to move to increase and improve overall health and wellness.

The only missing is you. When you make the commitment, and hold to it, the process works. And you get to enjoy new and increased benefits for the rest of your life.

 

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