Tai Chi Classes: Should You Sign Up?

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Tai Chi is an extraordinary mind-body practice. It builds a solid bridge between your body, mind, and spirit.

Tai Chi, or Taijiquan as it is often called, is a respected member of the oriental internal arts, within a long tradition of martial arts, health, and spiritual disciplines. It is popular, even here in the west, because it is so flexible in its applications and levels of training. Anyone can learn Tai Chi regardless of their current fitness level.

I would like to tell you how magical Tai Chi practice is, but that is something you have to discover for yourself. What I can say is…

The benefits of Tai Chi will surprise you

You can do Tai Chi, for simple relaxation; to gain optimal health and vitality; as an advanced martial art; to learn about internal energy and energy healing; and you can employ Tai Chi as a personal esoteric awareness practice.

The best part about Tai Chi is: there are no limits to how far you can take it in your quest for personal development. You could easily spend a lifetime enjoying Tai Chi, and still be in awe of what you learn each day.

Choreographed sets of movements, called “forms,” are the foundation of practice. In Tai Chi then, you move — as in your everyday life — but with a meditative, fully focused, present-moment awareness. This solves the problem faced by many meditation practitioners.

Beginners in meditation (and the term “beginner” applies for many years) often find it difficult to carry the peace, clarity, and power, of meditation into their daily life. There is too great a gap between the silent, controlled environment of sitting meditation, and the physical hustle of the day to day.

The essence of meditation is full present-moment awareness, or mindfulness. Tai Chi takes these skills ‘on the road’ by employing them in a physical moving form coupled with focused mental intent. It is the ideal bridge between meditation and the physical realities of everyday living.

After practicing Tai Chi for some time, you will develop a keen sense of body awareness. If your commitment to your practice is high, you will also gain a strong sense of your internal energy. You will be able to feel the connection between your intent, your internal energy, and its physical manifestation.

Tai Chi teaches you how to be aware of yourself on all levels, from the outer physical to your personal universe of internal energies. Most importantly, it helps you to incorporate that awareness into your daily life through the physical nature of its forms. Tai Chi is truly magical in that sense.

Just as a lifetime can never exhaust the possibilities Tai Chi will offer you, this small article is just a humble overview. I am perhaps biased, as I have practiced Tai Chi for decades, but I must say that it will exceed all expectations you might have.

10 good reasons to learn Tai Chi

In future articles I will delve more deeply into Tai Chi and the internal esoteric arts that compliment it, such as Chi Gung. For now, here are 10 good reasons to join a Tai Chi class:

  1. Relaxation and stress management is a snap for Tai Chi practitioners.
  2. Health and vitality are improved naturally, by relaxing the body, stretching the muscles, improving posture and body mechanics, and strengthening the energetic foundations of the body.
  3. Enjoy a stimulating social environment with like-minded people. You will look forward to your twice-weekly dose of this positive, relaxed, group energy.
  4. Learn a personal ritual that will stabilize your life through daily practice. Never underestimate the special power of personal ritual.
  5. Body awareness will develop in quantum leaps. You will learn to be present in your body and engaged with the moment. The practical advantages of this are endless.
  6. Learn to merge intention with action in your daily life. The core of Tai Chi is to express your intentions in powerful and productive ways that are in line with the nature of circumstance.
  7. Become aware of internal energy through consistent and correct practice. Learn to sense your intrinsic energy, and to apply it with intent, calmness, poise, and power.
  8. Meditative clarity will enter your daily life because you will absorb your Tai Chi sessions deep into your bones and psyche. You will find yourself moving more freely, more calmly, and with more power and clarity than before. The difference will astound you.
  9. Gain access to deeper esoteric practices such as internal Chi Gung, or Qigong as it is also called. When you enter the world of Tai Chi, you will become aware of the range of practices available to you that may further your personal path. Chi Gung is an especially powerful discipline. It will both deepen your Tai Chi practice, and lead you to the most advanced meditative and internal energy practices possible. Chi Gung is also a primary route for advanced energy healing.
  10. Live a happier, healthier life in every way possible. Tai Chi stimulates and strengthens all aspects of your body, mind, and spirit.

So there you have 10 good reasons to sign up for a Tai Chi class near you. I hope that you do. I promise you that if you train with discipline, spirit, and intelligence, you will know that I am understating the advantages listed above.

It is most important though to find a good teacher. Many teachers have learned only the surface levels, and of course they can offer only what they understand and have developed within themselves. The onus then is upon you, the student, to take charge of your learning. Read all you can about Tai Chi, especially the classics. That way, you can learn to discriminate between right and wrong practice.

The most common form to learn is the Simplified 24 movement Yang form. It is easier to learn for beginners. Down the line, you may want to tackle the 120 movement Long Yang form. From this basis in learning forms, you then learn to move with full spirit and internal energy. And then…

As tempting as it is for me, I won’t go further into Tai Chi in this article, as it would rather quickly become book-length. In future articles we’ll explore specifics of Tai Chi practice, if you are interested.

We will also explore Chi Gung, perhaps more so. Chi Gung is a powerful health, internal energy, and spiritual/meditation practice. Chi Gung can lead to the highest forms of inner alchemy and energetic or spiritual/meditation attainment. But more on that another time.

So do we have any Tai Chi practitioners out there? Or have you wondered what it might be like to take Tai Chi lessons? If so, then just go out and do it. You have my guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments. And if you have any questions – fire away.

Over to you now…

6 thoughts on “Tai Chi Classes: Should You Sign Up?

  1. Jamee

    Hi there,

    Very nice article on the benefits of Tai Chi. I’ve been studying Tai Chi for quite some time now and every single time it’s about being present to the moment you are in. So, in a way I can begin anew each time I practice. I became an instructor a few years ago and agree that to begin it’s a good idea to find a ‘short form’. Simply because once you are familiar with the moves, the choreography, then you can pay closer attention to the flow of chi and access a deeper experience of self. Master Mantak Chia once said – “If you do it, you get it, if you, don’t you won’t”.
    Each time I practice I learn something new. Thanks again for this post. I look forward to your future postings on Chi Kung. Peace, Jamee

  2. John R. Post author

    Hi Jamee,

    After so long in Tai Chi, when I speak of the basics, I often wonder if I have covered it properly. Thanks for your comments.

    I agree with you that focusing on a simple form in the beginning gives a person the opportunity to develop the spirit , intent, and energy behind the form. I think the most important thing to remember in Tai Chi is to keep working on the basics.

    The long form is advisable to learn as soon as possible, but once learned, a person is wise to stick with it and develop their energy within the form.

    Learning too many forms prior to the development of full internal energy just serves to dilute the focus and delay true development.

    There is beauty and power in the basics 🙂

    John

  3. banji

    Nice write up about tai chi.. I am not a student of the art, but I am sure a thousand year old of practice must be truly beneficial for it to survive the modernization and time

    Maybe I’m a bit biase since I wrote an article today about being in the “now”, but I think practising Tai Chi will also help us being more aware with what we are doing now since we deliberately do the move however small it is. That require a lot of focus and concentration.

    Is this interpretation’s correct?

  4. Loraleigh Vance

    Living in Vancouver, I often see the graceful figures of the Tai Chi students as I walk by alot of our parks.

    It’s something I always tucked away in my mind as something I would like to do when I get older. Guess what? I’m older now! LOL

    Seriously though, I’m quite interested and you’ve just whetted my appetite further.

    Thanks for the info.

  5. John R. Post author

    Banji,

    Yup, your interpretation is right on the money. Tai Chi requires being fully present and focussed on the intent of each move and transition, while also being keenly aware of your surroundings and other people. That’s why it is so useful for living well. Thanks for your comment Banji.

    Lorleigh,

    Well there you go then, serrendipity tip toes in to remind you. Fortunately for you, there are some great Tai Chi classes in Vancouver.

    Two suggestions: 1) Go to Sun Yat Sen Gardens and enquire about teachers. 2) Go to Sun Yat Sen Gardens and enquire about Master Shouyu Liang. Master Liang is world renowned in the internal arts. His skills are profound and he is a very nice person.

    Also, Sam Missich studies with Master Liang. Sam is highly accomplished. He lives on Bowen Island I think, but he may have classes in Vancouver, or at least workshops.

    I’m glad I whetted your appetite 🙂

  6. Sue Taylor

    I currently practice Wudang style TaiChi. I also practice Shibashi (18 movement) Qigong. LOVE them both! I cannot more emphatically urge everyone to give it a try. It is a real blessing.

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