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HEALING T’AI CHI
“If you open yourself to insight,
you are at one with insight
and you can use it completely.”
Tao Te Ching #23, Translated by S. Mitchell
Regardless of when or where you practice your T’ai Chi exercises, it’s always beneficial to spend a few minutes clearing your mind so that your exercise session will be more effective. I always recommend to my students that they clear their minds first and then do at least a couple breathing exercises before practicing standing or seated T’ai Chi or Qigong.
If you do your exercises first thing in the morning, you’ll want to clear your mind of any fuzziness or memories of unpleasant dreams. If you practice in the evening, it’s a good idea to spend a little time ridding yourself of the irritations and stresses you’ve experienced throughout the day.
Below is a brief meditation to help you clear your mind, followed by a repeat of the instructions for Balloon Breathing and Flower Bud Opens so you won’t have to scoll so far down the page to find them.
Mind Clearing Meditation:
Begin to bring your whole self into balance by visualizing a rapidly flowing body of water. Imagine the ripples and waves as your day or night with its ups and downs. Concentrate on this image as you calm the waves until the water is as clear and smooth as glass. When you feel sufficiently relaxed and centered, begin your breathing exercises.
Sit comfortably in your chair, feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Press your shoulders down and lift your rib cage and your head so that you are sitting straight and tall but without strain. Place your hands on your abdomen so you can feel its movement as you breathe in and out through your nose. Remember to let your abdomen expand as you breathe in and tighten it as you breathe out. Take about 9 deep breaths concentrating on the movement of air in and out of your lungs.
Flower Bud Opens:
Begin in the same seated position, upright but comfortable. With your hands folded in a prayer position, bring your arms up in front of your face but above head level, at the same time breathing in through your nose. Arch away from your chair as you breathe out and bring your arms down stretching them as far back as possible. Bring your hands back to rest on your thighs and then begin the exercise again. Repeat 9 times.
To enhance your session, try using the acupressure point called Sun Point. This pressure point is located in the depression of the temples about hal an inch outside your eyebrows. Press gently but firmly for 30 to 60 seconds while breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. The benefits from regular use of this point are improving memory and concentration and relieving mental stress.
~~~This blog is intended for educational purposes only. Please talk to your health care professional before beginning any new exercise program.~~~
The illustrations above are by Jane Ramsey from my book, T’ai Chi in a Chair.