Healing T’ai Chi
…the award-winning blog of seated exercises to balance mind, body and spirit for people of all ages and levels of fitness.
“The greatest virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.
The Tao is elusive and intangible
Oh, it is intangible and elusive, and yet within is image.
Oh, it is elusive and intangible, and yet within is form.
Oh, it is dim and dark, and yet within is essence.
This essense is very real, and therein lies faith.
From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten.
Thus I perceive the creation.
How do I know the ways of creation?
Because of this.”
Tao Te Ching #21, translated by Gia Fu Feng and Jane English
In this exercise we will be loosening and relaxing our shoulders. Don’t try to breathe in time with the movements just breathe normally. However, it is always a good idea to take 3 to 6 slow diaphragmatic breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth before beginning each exercise.
Shoulder shrugs and circles:
Begin seated as usual with your feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart, hips tucked under.
Lift your shoulders toward your ears and then let them drop, remaining completely relaxed so that they drop of their own accord.
Repeat the shoulder “shrugs” 6 to 12 times then circle both shoulders backward for the same number of times you “shrugged” them.
Reverse and repeat the same number of circles forward staying relaxed throughout.
Complete the exercise with 3 repetitions of Centering Ch’i as described below.
Breathe in through your nose tightening your abdomen as you do so. (Note that this is the opposite of the way we breathe during the other exercises.)
Lift your arms out to the side, slowly twisting them so that your palms will be facing the ceiling when over your head (toward the back of your head so that your hands are directly over the 3 major pressure points).
Your arms are twisted so that the ch’i is “locked”. Look upward as though you can see your hands through your head.
Breathe out through your mouth and release the ch’i quickly by turning your hands so that the palms are now facing downward.
Lower your arms slowly as you breathe out and release just your lower abdomen, returning your arms to the position in front of the lower dan tien. Remember – this lower ch’i storage area is about 3 finger-widths below your belly button in the center of the body.
(illustration from Michael Reed Gach’s Acupressure’s Potent Points)
Gates of Consciousness (GB20) is located at the back of the head below the base of the skull. You can find this point in the hollow between the 2 large vertical neck muscles.
Press firmly on one point or on both points at the same time for no less than a fulll minute as often as necessary.
Benefits: This effective pressure point will relieve a stiff neck, a headache or arthritis of the shoulders and neck.
Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty. A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician.
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~The exercises in this blog are intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.~