TAI-CHI

Tai-chi also known as Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as the ‘Supreme Ultimate Force’. The notion of ‘supreme ultimate’ is often associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang, the notion that one can see a dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding, etc.) in all things. ‘Force’ (or, more literally, ‘fist’) can be thought of here as the means or way of achieving this ying-yang, or ‘supreme-ultimate’ discipline.

Tai Chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. There are a number of so- called forms (sometimes also called ‘sets’) which consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements are originally derived from the martial arts (and perhaps even more ancestrally than that, from the natural movements of animals and birds) although the way they are performed in Tai Chi is slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions between them.

Another aim of Tai Chi is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution of these exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for learning about such things as balance, alignment, fine-scale motor control, rhythm of movement, the genesis of movement from the body’s vital center, and so on. Thus the practice of Tai Chi can in some measure contribute to being able to better stand, walk, move, run, etc. in other spheres of life as well. Many practitioners notice benefits in terms of correcting poor postural, alignment or movement patterns which can contribute to tension or injury. Furthermore the meditative nature of the exercises is calming and relaxing in and of itself.

Try the below different stance to get familiar with tai-chi (Rhythmic breath in and breath out are always part of all your stance and any movement).

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

                                                                        -Lao Tzu

Meditation – Gibberish and Let-Go

“Gibberish is to get rid of the active mind, silence to get rid of the inactive mind and let-go is to enter into the transcendental.” Osho

First Stage: Gibberish

While sitting, close your eyes and begin to say nonsense sounds – any sounds or words, so long as they make no sense. Just speak any language that you don’t know! Allow yourself to express whatever needs to be expressed within you. Throw everything out. The mind thinks, always, in terms of words. Gibberish helps to break up this pattern of continual verbalization. Without suppressing your thoughts, you can throw them out. Let your body likewise be expressive.

Second Stage: Moving In
After 15 minutes of Gibberish, at which point the Gibberish stops. Imagine a voice then guides the listener into a space of deep silence, stillness and relaxation, saying, for example, “Be silent, close your eyes…no movement of the body – feel frozen. Go inwards, deeper and deeper, just like an arrow. Penetrate all the layers and hit the center of your existence.”

 Third Stage: Let-Go

Another 15min and, without arranging yourself, just allow yourself to fall down “like a bag of rice,” so you are lying, utterly still and relaxed, on your back as you are guided even more deeply into a silent stillness.

 Fourth Stage: Coming Back

At the final 15min, imagine a voice guiding you back to a sitting position, with the reminder to carry the glimpse of silent awareness one may have had into everyday activities.