Tai Chi – A soft Martial Art that is also a Meditation
It would not be wrong to say that be it our personal or professional life, we are faced with innumerable situations of fight or flight syndrome. In fact, we often come face to face with war, even if it is just waged in boardrooms and conference rooms. In such cases, the best weapon to face it would be Tai Chi, which is not only a soft form of Martial Art but also a form of meditation.
Tai Chi – A Martial Art?
If you’ve been feeding on Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies, then you would be wondering about Tai Chi being at the workplace rather than in a monastery. And you would be right.
Tai Chi is a soft form of martial art that began in the monasteries. It is a practice based on the principles of Tao, the way of Nature. It aims to harmonize the body, mind and spirit through the smooth and powerful flow of the Qi or Life force throughout the body.
Though we talk of martial art as being an external art form, Tai Chi is actually an internal art form. But like all martial arts it has an offense and defence movement. It requires you to focus, discipline and know yourself. You begin to know compassion and joy. As a result, you begin to radiate equal compassion and love in the outer world too.
Tai Chi empowers you to gain mastery over yourself, enhance your focus and expertise and perform well under pressure – something that all martial arts seek to teach!
Tai Chi – A Meditation?
Cicily Thomas of Vital Force Tai Chi Academy, who has been practising and teaching Tai Chi for more than two decades, tells us how as a child she was very fidgety. Even the yoga practice she took up later left her confused and unfulfilled. “It was inconceivable for me to sit down quietly and meditate. That’s the reason I was drawn to Tai Chi. I could move and meditate and that was a huge plus for me,” she says.
The most primary reason for it was that Tai Chi was a blend of everything, for Cicily, the gentle flow of movements and as you move, your breath and your body becoming in tune with Nature (or the Universe).
As she demonstrates the various steps of Tai Chi, we are mesmerized. She describes her visit to Chicago where she had to get a few seniors in wheelchairs to perform Tai Chi. Though they ignored her in the beginning, they came around slowly, when she too sat down in a chair to understand their position better. Her takeaway was that the elders felt relieved they could practise this art slowly and gently.
Perhaps our hurried, always on-the-go lifestyle is to blame for much of the physical and mental ills that abound in society today. But thankfully, we can counter this with a daily Tai Chi practice.
Benefits of Tai Chi
Watching Cicily performs the Wuji – the stepping into Nothingness using fluid movements, the ying and yang of solid and empty forces, it teaches us to be in silence and go inward and activate the core of our power.
Put a finger on your pulse after the 21-minute sequence and you will notice that it has not altered.
This is the secret that makes Tai Chi a very effective remedy for a host of ailments including:
- Chronic back and knee issues
- Immunity-related ailments
- Emotional issues
- Stress-related ailments
Current lifestyle choices have brought many debilitating illnesses to the doorstep of even young persons, as young as mid-20s. This is worrying. But as Cicily says, “The practice of Tai Chi is not just a physical one. It is a way of life. And the message is: Be gentle with your body; Be fluid with your movements.”
Sonia Rao is Editor in Chief at Thriive Art & Soul