Taiji & Qigong
Taijiquan and Qigong (also spelled Tai Chi and Chi Kung) are ideal practices to study and embody change. They improve health, flexibility, strength, increase energy and a feeling of equanimity, and are a unique vessel to calm the heart and mind.
As internal studies the depth of these practices are infinite and expansive. Both employ the dynamics of stillness and movement, grounding and fluidity, yin and yang–the fundamental reflection of natural cycles of opposition and interdependence. Both internalize these natural cycles allowing for greater harmony, balance and connection.
Practicing these arts improves essential traits for a happy, long life including providing greater relaxation and stress relief, cultivating a tenacity of focus, concentration and clarity, increasing the connection to breath, body and spirit, and generating a deep well of energy or ‘qi’.
“Regular repetition is the key to unlocking all the benefits of Taiji & Qigong. And the ritual of a class or personal practice feeds the spirit & soul.”
Qigong practices are the intentional cultivation of energy. The word ‘qi’ simply translated means ‘energy’, while ‘gong’ refers to ‘working on a practice over time with some effort or dedication.’ Qigong practices employ breath awareness, meditation, mind intent, relaxation, movement and stillness to harmonize and create balance in the body. It is believed that chronic imbalances lead to illness and disease, and that these imbalances are regulated by the practices of Qigong–physically, energetically, and spiritually. Ideally, sincere Qigong practice provides the potential to live each moment of every day with joy, clarity of consciousness and intention, and a deep connection and sensitivity to self, others, and our natural environment.
Taijiquan or Taiji (Tai Chi) is a “kind” of Qigong, with all the benefits of a Qigong practice and it differentiates itself in that it is historically a martial art, not only cultivating better health but also one’s abilities in self-defense. Taiji trains internal awareness and also the dynamics of relationship with others through the interactive training called Push Hands. The majority of Taiji that is practiced and taught is for solo training. These include many kinds of solo ‘forms,’ or choreographed sets of movement. Solo training may also include forms that use weapons, most commonly a straight sword. This training challenges and enhances bare hand forms by changing the complexity of the movement practice and requiring the practitioner to be able to control both body and the extension of the body, as well as extension of Qi, through an object. ‘Push Hands’ or ‘Sensing Hands’ practices incorporate training with a partner to cultivate one’s ability to engage with another. The core energies of Taiji Push Hands play uses ‘Sticking,’ ‘Listening,’ ’Understanding,’ ‘Receiving’ and ‘Neutralizing’ as a way to stay connected to a partner.