The Secret Sauce Behind Tai Chi’s Success:
Exercise makes the body strong and healthy. When you have a strong, healthy body, you can prevent sickness from happening. But…
Can you really say this with 100% certainty?
I believe having a strong body is only half the equation. You may feel safe when you’re strong, but to really feel safe requires you to have a peaceful mind. A peaceful mind inside a healthy body allows the spirit to be active and alive. That’s why exercise must be practiced in conjunction with meditation and vice versa.
Meditation leads to the successful practice of exercise and exercise leads to the successful practice of meditation.
Let’s take Kobe Bryant for example. Kobe used meditation to make him one of the greatest players in basketball history. This is an example of how meditation leads to success.
Let’s also take a look at the Shaolin monks who meditated all day long and through the long practice of meditation, their bodies deteriorated over time. To counter this effect, they devised a series of exercises which became known as Shaolin Kung Fu to strengthen their bodies so that they can meditate for long periods of time. This is an example of how exercise can lead to success.
If you consciously practice both meditation and exercise, then you’ll have all the benefits of health, vigor, and longevity.
It’s important to be aware of the relationship between exercise and meditation. Unfortunately, in today’s society, there is a disconnect between the two. You’re told that exercise alone can help you keep a healthy body. You’re also told that meditation alone can help you to relieve stress and anxiety. In reality, you need the best of both worlds to be successful.
It Takes Two For Tai Chi To Work
Tai Chi is a discipline combining the practice of exercise with the practice of meditation. Tai Chi makes the body move on the outside while having your mind at peace on the inside.
Remember the yin-yang symbol. The black area, or the black fish represents yin – quiet as in meditation, while the white in the black area symbolizes movement. This is to say that meditation is not just about being completely empty. It’s not all about being in a state of stillness. The mind is used to conduct the breath moving inside of your body.
The yin-yang symbol illustrates exercise and meditation united in one symbol. During Tai Chi exercise, the movements of the body are done slowly, gently and evenly from beginning to end with each posture unfolding with the same continuous rhythm.
The result is an improvement in circulation, improvement in your respiration, and the strengthening of your internal organs.
It’s well established that general exercise improves your circulation. If you add meditation to that equation, meditation helps to enhance the circulation of energy throughout your body. At a high level of meditation, you can achieve the highest level of any skill. In the case of Tai Chi, it’s the skill of making your energy flow within your body.
In the case of Kobe Bryant, it’s the skill of playing basketball. Kobe added meditation into his routine, enhancing his skillset, and he became one of the greatest players in basketball history. By using meditation, he experienced being one with basketball.
How can you experience energy flow or circulation?
You must have an idea of the centers in your body, the points in your body that you need to connect with and the pathways and channels between these center points along which energy flows. The points, channels and meridians are invisible and cannot be detected… at least not by physical methods. This is where the mind comes into play and the use of meditation to guide the movements outside and inside of your body.
Remember the goal of meditation is to achieve unity, just like Kobe achieved unity with the basketball.
By practicing Tai Chi, your goal is to achieve unity with the universe or the Tao, to harmonize the flow of energy within your body, as well as with nature around you.
The main tool of meditation is breathwork. You’re going to use breathing to connect the points within your body. As the breath moves from your nostrils, into your throat, and down to your lungs, you can have a sense of the center points in your body. You begin to sense how the breath affects the body by feeling it to go within your body through the channels and pathways.
By using a combination of exercise and breathing, Tai Chi provides an efficient and effective method for taking in oxygen, along with the other elements of the universe. You take in the precious elements of nature, not just oxygen, while getting rid of waste and toxins from your body.
Let’s do a practical exercise – it’s best to follow along with my video here.
Start by doing the Tai Chi form from the beginning.
Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
1. Exhale – sink into your feet. Then energize the fingers up to shoulder height.
2. Exhale – sink back into your feet. Inhale – energize the fingers up as you inhale the breath down into your body.
3. Exhale back down. While you take the air out of your body, sink back into your feet. Energize the fingers up. Then exhale the air out of your body, while sinking into your feet.
- With the inward breath, concentrate the mind and use it to lift the Chi up from your lower dantien all the way upward to your solar plexus.
- With the outward breath, concentrate the mind to drive that Chi downward from the solar plexus to the lower dantien.
So let’s do this a couple more times:
1. Exhale. Then inhale – energize using the inward breath to go into your body. Concentrate your mind and lift the Chi from your lower dantien to your solar plexus.
2. Exhale – relax back down. Then inhale – energize the fingers up, going from your lower dantien to your solar plexus.
3. Exhale and concentrate your mind to drive the Chi back downward from the solar plexus into your lower abdomen, back into the lower center of your body.
One more time:
Energize and concentrate your mind. Move the energy from the lower dantien to the solar plexus. Then relax back down, exhale all the way from your solar plexus to your lower dantien.
More Than One Pathway For Your Breath To Take
This is a very simple exercise to illustrate one simple pathway in which you can move the energy from one part of your body – your lower dantien to the upper part of your body, into your solar plexus.
What if you can perform this technique every day and feel the blood circulating through your blood vessels, making you feel warm and fuzzy?
This exercise may make you curious: What are some other breathing techniques that you can use to purify, repair and clean your body to make your body strong and healthy?
Well, stay tuned for more techniques. In the meantime, you can watch my free breathing video, where I show you various movements you can do and perform while you breathe slowly, gently, and easily.
Click here and really breathe now.