Monday, May 19, 2014

Tai Chi – The Best Exercise to Make Friends

While Tai Chi can certainly be practiced in solitude, it also contains a special exercise performed in pairs called “pushing hands.”  This routine involves two people, each with unique movements in a circle while interacting with another person at the same time. Tai Chi practitioners use pushing hands to work on their form and improve their overall understanding of Tai Chi. Here are some benefits:
1. Pushing hands promotes a healthier lifestyle because it encourages people to go out and enjoy this natural exercise with friends.  They breathe, stretch, and enjoy the sequence and rhythm of the movements. Afterwards, they feel satisfied and build stronger friendships through mutual help.
2. People who do pushing hands have a positive attitude because they know they will improve and grow every day within the form. As I tell my students, “Even the slightest improvement should be a motivation to continue your Tai Chi.”
3. They are also better team players because they work in pairs and enjoy helping each other to understand the form and movements.
4. Pushing hands promotes moving with careful consideration and sensitivity. With slow and light movements, participants improve their listening power as they tune in to their partners’ movements.
5. This exercise helps improve balance and encourages interaction with others. Someone may have good balance individually, but it can be thrown off when that person is suddenly pushed by someone else.  Pushing hands teaches us to relax in this situation rather than panic. It’s a great way to root our feet to the ground and strengthen our posture in order to keep our balance.
6. People who do pushing hands build trust and form stronger friendships. A person who has mastered this exercise won’t want to be alone all the time or be a couch potato. With time, the partners will practice more and more, thus building trust. 
No wonder Tai Chi is called the “supreme ultimate” exercise (literal translation from Chinese.)

2014 Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tai Chi Improves human body by applying The Law of Use and Disuse

The French scientist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) is famous for one of his laws which summarizes his evolutionary thought. It’s called the The Law of Use and Disuse - The parts of an organism's body that are used become more developed; parts that are not used become smaller and may disappear. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) made extensive use of this special Lamarck's law.

I found many things I benefited from Tai Chi may not happen to any regular person. I used them often. I gain it to let it become part of my life. With people who never do it, they may lose the ability to do so. Here are some examples:

1. Walk backwards and sideways
Without learning the movements repulse monkey and waving hands like moving clouds, you will probably never walk backward and sideways as easily. You will also lose this ability as you grow older. When you need it in a sudden situation, you could easily fall.

2. Open and relax your shoulder
Regular exercise such as lifting weights won't train you to open shoulder joints such as “Jian Jin”( The well of shoulder) acupuncture point. With Jian Jin opened, you will have less shoulder pain and less tight shoulders as you get older.

3. Quiet down at the beginning
In modern lifestyle, people tend to catch one thing after another and have a “Go, go, go” lifestyle. Tai Chi teaches you to quiet down and relax at first before you take a task. This is one thing I benefit most from Tai Chi.

4. Elbow and Knee move together
With your elbow and knee moving together, your body parts are supporting each other. It makes you move with ease. Without doing Tai Chi, it's hard for you to understand how body parts coordinate with each other.

5. Take a deep breathe
Herbert Benson MD from Mass General Hospital mentioned that when you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and you will notice that your lower belly rises. The ability to breathe so deeply and powerfully is not limited to a select few. This skill is inborn but often lies dormant. Reawakening it allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms.(Harvard Health Publications in consultation with Herbert Benson, M.D.)

If you are always in hurry, your breathe are not deep enough. While doing slow movements in Tai Chi , it will enhance your breathe to a better deep breathe. A deep  breathe involves relaxation, quietness, with slow and gentle approach, and continues with concentration and many other techniques while doing Tai Chi. 

Use or disuse? They are all in Tai Chi.

If you like this article, you may also want to read Lao Tzu's Secret to Extend your Life
Copyright Huan's Tai Chi 2014