Longevity Is Not Beyond Your Control
The practice of Tai Chi movements can stimulate blood circulation, release the physical stagnation in the body, and ultimately relax the mind.
In other words, I practice Tai Chi because it’s beneficial to my health. Not only does it help me to lead a good life but Tai Chi helps me to understand how to preserve life itself.
There’s an element of quality to your life that can be felt and determined – this is the goodness of your life. There’s also an element of quantity, which is the duration of life – the length of your life, which is less determined.
In a nutshell, this is the essence of Taoism. Taoism, stripped to its bare bones, is the study of longevity. It’s the study of the duration of life.
You and I have something in common. We both want to live a healthy and long life. So how do we get there?
The Secret To Long Life
The theory behind Tai Chi practice is based on the Tao. The Tao is the joining together of two opposing forces. These opposites represent the foundational principle of Taoist philosophy.
The two opposing manifestations of the Tao are called yin and yang, and they have universal significance. They’re found in all phenomena in the cosmos. They are found also in the operations of your human body, down to the cellular level.
Let me give you examples of yin and yang on the large scale, the macrocosm.
- In the cosmos, you have heaven and earth. Heaven is yang. Earth is yin.
- We experience life with the dimension of time. There is day and night. The day is yang. The night is yin.
- We also experience life in weather patterns. Bright and clear, sunny days are considered to be yang. Dark and rainy, stormy days are considered to be yin.
Let me give you examples of yin and yang in the microcosm, at a smaller scale, down to the parts of your body and their functions.
- At the level of the human being, there is a male and there is a female. Male is yang. The Female is yin.
- Around a human being, there are energies that emanate from your existence. There’s your spirit, and there is just your body. Spirit is yang and your body is yin.
- Within your body, there’s the circulatory system. You have arteries and veins. Your arteries are considered to be yang. Veins are considered to be yin.
- As a human being, you breathe air. Exhalation and inhalation are respectively yang and yin.
- Finally, all human activity consists of both movement and rest. Movement is yang. Rest is yin.
I want to talk to you about human activity. It is the basis for Tai Chi practice. In Tai Chi, you are in both movement and at rest.
When you move the limbs externally, you are expressing the basic movement of the Tai Chi form. You’re also moving the energy within your body when you do Tai Chi, internally and this is not visible.
This is where you have the opportunity to make your breath and your mental concentration work for you by moving the energy when you’re physically at rest.
The Relationship Between Movement and Rest
Taoism is the study of these relationships of yin and yang. Taoism describes our relationship to the environment. It describes our relationship to ourselves – our inner selves, and it describes our relationship to the universe.
Yin-Yang principle has been the basis of the Chinese understanding of health and sickness since ancient times.
Good health requires a balance of yin and yang forces within your body. If one or the other is predominant, then sickness can result. It’s our aim to discover the source of imbalance and to restore the forces to their proper proportions in your body. This is where Tai Chi can help.
In Tai Chi, the movement of your limbs guides the circulation of blood so that the tissues in your body can be repaired and cleaned more efficiently. The movements also lead the breath in and out of your lungs so that the oxygen can be inhaled effectively, energizing your body. The stale air can be exhaled or released more efficiently.
Movement is the foundation for better health.
Tai Chi movements guide and lead your bodily functions to a place of balance where you can have a stable approach to living.
Essential to Tai Chi practice is the way in which the movements of your limbs are combined with breathing. Breathwork can lead you to concentrate, to be quiet, and to have a peaceful mind.
Breathwork can lead you away from your stirred-up emotions. It can lead you away from being scattered, being all over the place.
The combination of movement, breathing and mental concentration is used to increase the energy levels in your body.
The vital energy is then transmitted through the psychic channels to every cell in your body.
This is where you give yourself the possibility of living a long life.
This is the aim of Tai Chi. It’s the aim of Taoism and Taoism has long stated that this is actually possible…
Increase Your Energy Levels With Tai Chi
Let’s do a quick exercise. Follow along with my video (starting at 7:20) and move with me through this exercise:
1. Stand on your left foot. Exhale, open your arms out. Then inhale and step forward with your right foot, raising your hands in front of you.
2. Exhale, relax, and open out your arms as if you’re opening up to the universe. The universe is sending you energy and you gladly take it in with your body.
3. Direct the energy, and energize the fingers forward. Exhale, relax again, and open your body to the gift of energy being given to you by the universe. Then take that energy and connect it to the centerline of your body – front and center.
4. Exhale one more time and open your arms out. Allow the energy to flow in from the universe. Now gather this energy within your body, along the front and centerline of your body, as you raise your hands.
5. This is the ‘raise hands posture’ in the Tai Chi form, where you open your arms and receive the energy from the universe. Energize and step forward and reach out with your fingers.
That’s our quick exercise for the day.
Let me ask you this – what if your regular practice of Tai Chi can result in longevity, good health, vigor, mental alertness, and even enhanced creativity beyond what is experienced by most people?
Since it is essential to understand Taoist principles underlying Tai Chi practice, what are some of the other Taoist principles you should be aware of to keep in mind for best practice?
Stay tuned. Follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel to get more videos like this one, as we continue to explore yin-yang, movement and rest, in order to prolong life and enhance your creativity as an individual.