What is the art of Tai Chi?
The art of Tai Chi is the art of letting go of stress. Letting go means to let things be, to trust that everything will work out in the end. Letting go really means to give up your control. You all know that it is very difficult to do that.
Why can it be so difficult? Does any of the following sound familiar? Everything has to be done your way because it’s safe. You know where things are, you feel invincible, strong, all-knowing when you’re in control, bad things don’t happen because you won’t let them.
Then you may have tendencies of controlling what you wear, what other people wear, what your kids wear. If you’re a nagging parent, you can control what they eat, when they eat, when they finish their homework, when they switch off their lights. You can control your life by holding onto things and accumulating items. Over time, you can control your outcome like success, accomplishments… and then it becomes a struggle when you control your life because you’re doing it all on your own.
You don’t want to rely on anybody because there’s a certain level of quality that you’d like to maintain. Well, then things start to slip. Your grip starts to loosen. There are cracks that are happening and you realize that you can’t control your life. Things happen that are outside of your control. Then, you may have anxiety or stress that can lead to getting panic attacks. You may feel overwhelmed or burnt out.
Well, fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to let go of stress.
First, you can walk into the forest and you can observe the trees and be in nature. Looking at trees and being in the forest is important because they grow the way they are meant to grow. That’s how you should be. Then you can switch off your iPhone or your tablet and quit being absorbed by the outside world and forget about the fear of missing out.
Then you can trust in the universe. Trust that tomorrow will be another day and have no doubt in allowing life to take over. Notice your breathing becomes aware and it calms the monkey mind. This is where Tai Chi comes in because you focus on breathing and your breathing is the key to your movements because the movements follow your breath.
Exhale, sink down, relax. Inhale, and make your shape. Be present. Be mindful with your movements and just be yourself, not anyone else. That is freedom.
When you do Tai Chi movements, they may be small, they may be slow, but it’s humbling. You feel alive. You have feelings of abundance because at this moment of time, you are truly present and you are feeling what you’re feeling now, not what you felt a day ago or a week ago…
NOW – this is your greatest moment.
So when you do Tai Chi, it’s nice, slow and soft. You’re relaxed when you’re doing Tai Chi, but you’re still active, you’re making shapes and you’re holding yourself up. So it’s not like you’re going limp or you’re dropping your guard or you’re kicking back on the couch, but you are actually in the flow – in the zone.
So raise your hands and observe your structure that you are holding up. Feel your feet. Where is your weight? Feel any tension that’s in your body. Maybe it’s in your shoulders – relax the shoulders. Maybe it’s in your elbows – relax the elbows, and start to feel your body. By letting go, you can start to feel and deepen your awareness of your structure. Then you’re taught to maintain to be relaxed in your posture. There is a passive way of doing things, not a very aggressive way of moving. Each time you do it, you increase your efficiency of being nice and relaxed in the ‘let go’ state.
Pay attention to what’s within your body, focus on the tension anywhere. In your movements, focus on where there may be some tense moments, where there may be some resistance and observe the resistance because your body’s not used to moving in this way.
Naturally, there is that resistance. Where there is resistance, you can think about letting go. You may let go of taking things personally. You may let go of what others think and say about you. You may even let go of trying to be something you’re not. And maybe you feel the need to let go of being perfect.
When you let go of stress, you are moving with the flow.
What if you can be kind to yourself? What if you can accept who you are and not try to be anybody else? Take a deep breath and let it all out. Let go.
Now that you have a taste of what it means to let go, physically, you may be asking yourself: How can you let go of your emotions such as anger, fear, or jealousy?
I will cover these topics in later posts, so stay tuned. Check out my blog at theartoftaichi.com or check out my YouTube channel for more videos related to how Tai Chi can improve your life.
I hope to see you there.