Tai Chi & Qigong Meditation
Tai Chi & Qigong
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi, a westernized abbreviation for Taijiquan, (pronounced Tie Chee Chwon) is a traditional martial art and a complete system of therapeutic exercises. Tai Chi is also form of Qigong that develops force and power used for martial art purposes. The Tai Chi form differs from Qigong in that it is a series of movements linked together like a dance sequence.
What is Qigong?
Qi is the vital force within all material things in the universe. It is the energy that circulates through the body’s tissues, organs, brain, and nervous system to make your body and mind function its best. Gong means skill that you develop from practice over time. Therefore, Qigong literally means training or working with your body’s energy. Qigong is the study and practice of nurturing your life energy. You learn how to increase your level of energy and how to circulate it smoothly and continuously throughout the body. Its main purpose is to strengthen your body’s immunity and promote health and recovery from illness and injury. This is done by calming your mind and relaxing your body through continuously adjusting your posture, so that you feel comfortable and relaxed, and by breathing slowly and evenly. The Qigong exercises can be still meditation or single, repetitive movements that are easier to learn. The simple and gentle movements of Qigong, besides being an excellent holistic practice by themselves, builds a solid foundation for practicing Tai Chi.
Tai Chi and Qigong feature:
- a calm mind and relaxed body
- correct body alignment
- deep breathing coordinated with slow, continuous movement
- whole body coordination
- balance and stability
Tai Chi and Qigong improves:
- posture, balance and coordination
- strength and endurance
- flexibility and agility
- vital energy
- stress management
Tai Chi and Qigong includes still, as well as moving exercise. Still meditation, either standing or sitting, places emphasis on mental focus and concentration to develop, restore, and maintain the balance of qi circulation in your body for health and healing, as well as for martial art training. In Qigong meditation, your mental awareness is balanced internally on correcting your posture, while maintaining an outer awareness of all your surroundings. This meditation will help you to practice the principles of a calm mind, correct posture, and relaxation while practicing Tai Chi and Qigong. When practicing this meditation keep aware of the following principles:
- When standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart, knees and hips slightly bent, and your tailbone sinking downward as if to touch your heels. Feel as if you are sitting back. When sitting, feel as if you are standing by keeping the head lifted.
- Your head and upper torso erect and gently lifted upwards and your lower body relaxed downward, your weight sinking into the ground, your toes gently grabbing the ground. Keep your back and spine straight, your nose in line with your navel.
- Relax your chest inward, keep your back rounded and your shoulders and elbows relaxed downward. Feel as if your elbows are resting on top of your knees.
- Breathe slowly, evenly, deeply, and quietly, using the abdomen and diaphragm. Touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
- Focus your awareness on the lower abdomen, just below the navel. When thoughts enter your mind, gently bring your awareness back to that area.
- While standing feel comfortable and relaxed. If your muscles become tired or tense, stop and sit down for a few moments, or move around any part of your body, while remaining relaxed and aware of the lower abdomen. Hold this position as long as is comfortable for you.
- Continue to adjust your posture and alignment to feel the most relaxed.
- You may also relax the body and calm the mind by mentally and physically relaxing the points and areas starting from the top of the head, down to the point between the eyebrows, down to the top of your shoulders, down to the center of your chest, down to your area below the navel, to the bottom of your torso to your hips, down along the inside of your legs, to the bottom of your feet and into the ground.