In a recent article in the Huffington Post, tai chi is described as an ancient form of moving meditation that has numerous benefits to its countless practitioners. Interestingly, contemporary research seems to substantiate many of these claims, including tai chi’s ability to help prevent and fight disease, relieve stress and battle depression, improve flexibility and range of motion, and slow down the aging process.
In a sense, this is not profound news… Millions of people for thousands of years have been providing remarkable amounts of anecdotal evidence supporting the notion that any daily religious practice involving rhythm, meditation, breathing, stretching, and cardiorespiratory engagement is going to have profoundly beneficial results.
Perhaps this is old news – perhaps we’re a bit late to the party?
Perhaps the real question is not whether or not practicing tai chi, or any substantive and/or traditional martial art, is a worthwhile pursuit… Rather, we may want to look more closely at what is interfering with our willingness to get involved each day with a more responsible self-care regimen. What is it that interferes each day with our willingness to make time to nurture ourselves? How can we raise our consciousness in such a way as to be more present with our need to slow down, be more mindful, and get in touch with the basic aspects of who we really are? This is the conversation that I believe many of us are ready to have… This, ideally, is the information that needs to be flooding our blog space…
Tai chi, in and of itself, is lovely… Tai chi, however, is simply one of literally countless daily religious practices that we can choose to engage in to find our way back to some degree of peace and serenity. The antiquity of tai chi, or anything, for that matter, does not ensure its usefulness and efficacy. While my own personal experience of practicing tai chi has been valuable and rewarding, there is always room for innovation, development, and improvement. In fact, as the founder and developer of my own moving meditation system, Warrior’s Dance, I’ve noticed that the creative and long-term process of exploration has been at least as valuable as the obvious daily benefits that I enjoy when I train with my students.
Tai chi must be the culmination of the exploration and inspired work of various martial arts students throughout history, and I would venture to guess that any one of these pioneers, could they speak to us today, would encourage us to maintain an open mind to the remarkable body of existing knowledge, learn from what has come before, and, at the same time, go within to find what is most useful and true for ourselves as we continue to evolve, explore, and create.