REASONS TO BE CHI-FUL!
“Is Taiji Quan practice the reason for your longevity?”
“Not directly. Taiji Quan helps cultivate a relaxed spirit. Having a relaxed spirit is the secret of longevity.”
– INTERVIEW WITH 105 YEAR OLD TAI CHI MASTER WU TU-NAN
∞ The most obvious benefit of practicing Tai Chi is that flowing movement, performed daily, prevents the physical stiffening which results in lack of flexibility.
∞ Tai Chi also promotes a sense of poise and balance which becomes reflexive, reducing the risk of falling, something which becomes of particular benefit in later years.
∞ While Tai Chi is a very slow and graceful art form, it has sound physiological principles, moving stress loads from one part of the body to another in a smooth rhythmic manner which causes overall physical strengthening while increasing physical stamina.
∞ Infinite Tai Chi is a moving meditation in which connecting with the breath facilitates an inner sense of connection to ones core essence, therefore each individual practising this form ‘listens’ to their own internal energy flow and moves to their own essential rhythm. This connection with True Self expresses as a beautiful sense of being Home which promotes balance and calm even in the most stressful of environments. Daily practice ensures everyday life is infused with this sense of BEING, as one is held and supported from ‘within’.
∞ Jing, Chi and Shen are The Three Treasures of Chinese Energy Medicine. Chi Kung and Tai Chi are systems devised over millennia to martial these particular energies. This is where the term martial arts derives from, the internal management of energies which are essential to Life. Keeping the flow of energy unblocked is the secret to maximizing ones physical, emotional and spiritual potential.
∞ Infinite Chi Kung, Tai Chi and Meditation, when properly learned, can become a beautiful and enjoyable way to reverse emotional and physical imbalance, thereby leading to increased health, strength, longevity and overall enjoyment of life.
“Anger causes chi to rise, joy causes chi to slow down, grief causes chi to dissipate, fear causes chi to descend, surprise causes chi to scatter, exhaustion causes chi to waste away, thought causes chi to concentrate.” From The Yellow Emperor’s Classic
JING: The Essence of Life
Jing is the energy concerning physicality; with blood, hormones and synovial fluids in the body. Blood essence concerns all the vital elements carried in the bloodstream: red and white blood cells and the nutrients absorbed from digested foods in the small intestine. Hormone essence comes in two forms, life-essence and semen essence.
“Life-essence includes all the vital hormones secreted by various glands throughout the body’s hormone endocrine system, and which serve as master regulators for growth, metabolism, sexuality, immunity, aging and so forth. Semen-essence refers to sperm and related male hormones in men, ova and related female hormones in women. The third form of essence includes the heavy fluids such as lymph and lubricants surrounding joints and other connective tissue (synovial fluid), as well as tears, perspiration and urine. The latter are primarily involved in excretion of waste products and dissipation of stagnant energy. These three forms of essence, along with CHI, are called the ‘Four Vital Bodily Humours’.”
CHI: The Energy of Life
Chi in the body is moved by the breath. Universal Chi, The Breath of Life, is the universal energy source, a dynamic whole, partly manifest, partly unmanifest. As every artist knows, Form, positive space, can only be perceived when set against background, or negative space. Existence is dependent on the interplay between manifest and unmanifest Chi. We take chi into the body in the form of food, visible chi, and breath, invisible chi. The invisible energy of breath controls the movement of blood, proper breathing ensures essential circulation. Unhindered flow of chi through the meridians ensures physical and emotional health and balance. As energy follows breath and focus, the internal awareness practiced during Infinite Chi Kung and Tai Chi, movement practiced with awareness, ensures the flow of energy through the meridians. We are born with an abundance of Jing which dissipates over time if not recharged through the constant induction of Chi. We draw from Universal Chi, the sum total of all the energy of the cosmos: gravity, magnetism, electricity, solar energy, radio waves and so on, to fuel our physical chi, the bionic energy which fuels our corporeal form, the living organism. Infinite Tai Chi comprises knowledge of the Taoist energy system together with the Indian CHAKRA system to amplify and balance physical, emotional and mental processes.
SHEN: The Spirit of Life
Traditionally Shen is thought to encompass “all of our mental faculties, including rational thought. Intuition, spirit, attention, will and ego. Traditional Chinese thought distinguishes four major aspects of spirit: hun, the human soul, associated with Yang and Heaven; bo, the animal soul, associated with Yin and Earth; yi, thought and awareness; jir, intent and will-power.
Unlike Western Dualism, which sanctifies the spirit as an independent entity above and beyond the body, Taoism regards the spirit as the flowering blossom of the Taoist Trinity, with essence (body) serving as the roots and energy (chi) as the connecting stem. Only well nourished roots planted in fertile soil generate strong stems and beautiful blossoms. Weak, undernourished roots and dry, brittle stems produce weak withered flowers”.
It is my impression, gained through experience, that Shen, the unmanifest interconnected aspect of the Self, which comprises the eternal, infinite Higher Self is available to be experienced at a deep, almost tangible level through applying spiritual intention to the practice of Infinite Tai Chi Tao.