Concentrate On This When You Do Tai Chi

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An Unexpected Way To Meditate Everyday

Are you having a hard time meditating? Do you get discouraged and say to yourself – “meditation just doesn’t work for me.”

When meditating, you may get distracted.  You may get more and more restless as time goes on. It’s difficult to sit in a chair and not move, let alone sit in a lotus position.  Try getting out of that one!

I used to think and feel that way about meditation. I would get bored out of my mind while meditating. I would even fall asleep. Or it was just hard for me to spend time alone with all of my clutter, my heavy thoughts, and debilitating fears. I had an enormous amount of stress back then.

Yet, there was something about meditation that fascinated me, and I was sure that there was something there to help me with my stress levels because when I get stressed, I tend to be dominated by negative thoughts that influence my mind to such an extent that I would no longer be capable of being productive and effective at home, or at work.

Honestly, these things still happen to me to this day.  Stress is part of my life.  And negative thoughts make me blow with the wind.

While I face my challenges, I want to learn to deal with my environment in a calm or more tranquil way. I don’t want to feel helpless and paralyzed.  And I don’t want to blame others anymore for my own situation and circumstances.

I wanted to learn if there was another way to meditate.

That’s when I discovered a new approach to uncluttering my mind.  This approach is called Tai Chi.

Tai Chi has taught me that being restless and wandering off track is actually part of the journey. Tai Chi is about moving from moment to moment in non-judgmental awareness. As a result, I have a better relationship with my body.

I have better relationships with others too. I have a better sense of my own limits, and I stay in tune with myself. I’m now aware earlier of when stress is building in me and Tai Chi gives me the tools to work with stress.  Once I do this for myself, it helps me to tune into others.

How do you become more aware earlier to avoid unpleasant experiences? To cope with stress or even to avoid sickness? Or at least to prevent it from becoming a real problem? 

Ask And Seek

As a Tai Chi teacher, I often get this one question – “what do you focus on or concentrate on when you do Tai Chi?” The answer I give often is this:  

I don’t focus or concentrate on any one thing. 

I don’t look for anything when I do Tai Chi. I just simply look.

Meditation is not about concentrating on a particular object, nor is it really about focusing your attention on a particular thought. Focusing on an object actually clutters your mind.  And having one thought can fill your entire life.

Meditation is the opposite of concentration.  And focus is its result.

When you’re doing Tai Chi, you gaze far into the distance. Your peripheral vision expands.  This enhances your perception. 

Tai Chi is actually about seeking.  You are seeking, but the object of your search is not important. What is important is feeling, sensing, observing, and to do those things without making judgment. You’re taught meditation through practical body-centered exercise.

Tai Chi is commonly known as meditation in motion, because you’re becoming more aware of what’s happening within your body and mind at any given moment, when you move. When you begin to sense any one part of your body, your Chi moves there. 

By contrast, when you’re concentrating or thinking, you’re just sending “chi” to your head… And that’s a lot of activity for your brain to handle.

When you meditate, your brain activity levels are very, very low. 

So I invite you to be more aware and to be more mindful of what’s going on in your body right now. Notice what you’re sensing right now. If you’re sitting or standing, I want you to feel where you’re touching the chair or where you’re touching the floor.  Feel the soles of your feet.

Take notice when standing: Are you having more weight on one leg than the other? Are your feet saying they are comfortable enough so that you can stand for a longer period of time? 

Take notice when you are sitting: Is your tush cushioned enough so that you can sit for a long period of time?

Shift Your Circumstances

Then, while standing, begin to do a simple exercise of shifting your weight.

Shift your weight from left to right.

As you shift your weight, feel and imagine as if there is water pouring down one leg and then pouring down the other leg. Or imagine you’re pouring rice down one leg – the barrel of one leg, and then down the barrel of the other leg.

When you move in Tai Chi, you’re shifting your weight from left to right, from forward to backward when you have one leg in front of the other.

In fact, watch the video right now and follow me.

Step forward and shift your weight to the front leg, then shift the weight to the back leg. Shift the weight to the front and shift the weight to the back.

Switch your legs, and continue to shift.

Feel your feet. Feel the pouring of water down one leg and into the other. 

Then feel your ankles. Sense what your ankles are experiencing. 

Feel your knees. What’s happening in your knee joints?

As you move from one leg to the other, feel your hips. Are they participating in the shifting from one leg to the other?

Feel your abdomen.  Feel the ocean of water within you, ebbing and flowing.

As you shift the weight from left to right, and forward to back, feel your spine. Is your spine participating in a manner that helps you to shift from one leg to the other?

Feel your neck and your head.

And then finally, feel your arms. Are they following the shift or are you still manipulating your arms? 

Concentrate Your Chi

Then move back inward and sense what is happening in your belly and lower dantien.  Oftentimes, your teacher is going to tell you to pay particular attention to your lower dantien which is in your belly region. It is located right above your pelvic floor and that is where you concentrate your Chi.

When you can occupy that space within your body, you can then develop a peace of mind. 

As you continue to practice your Tai Chi, shifting your weight left and right, maintain your consciousness in your abdomen, in your lower dantien. As time passes, you will feel this warms your body and strengthens your Chi.

Having done this exercise: What happens when you encounter unpleasantness, stress, or tension in your body?

What happens when your fight or flight response is triggered? What do you do?

I want you to consider returning to your awareness, your attention to your breath, as you shift the weight from left to right. 

Now, what if you can purposefully be aware of things you ordinarily would never give a moment’s thought to? 

Tai Chi provides you with a systematic approach to developing new kinds of body and mind control.  And I would like to invite you to a new kind of wisdom in your life today, one that is  based on your inner capacity for awareness.

Stay tuned and keep reading for more Tai Chi tips. If you’re interested in taking a Tai Chi class, I have a special offer for new students – UNLIMITED Tai Chi classes online for $30 for the next 30 days.
If you sign up, you’ll get to take any class you want on the schedule for $30. Come take a class with me and learn to do more meditation in motion. I’m excited to see you there!

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