Mind, Body and Spirit

It seems somewhat magical how practicing tai chi and have such a calming effect on your spirit.  In my experience as a tai chi instructor for 20 + years I have found that everyone one I know who practices tai chi for personal enjoyment has similar somewhat mystical experiences. After Tai Chi, those who practice report feeling inner peace and calm.

Picture by  Olga Lednichenko

Picture by Olga Lednichenko

Although everyone seems to experience similar sensations of indescribable peace (like his or her heart is smiling) it has been challenging to explain the genesis of this phenomenon.  I will offer my personal ideas as to why this feeling of deep inner peace is such a common occurrence among tai chi practitioners around the world.

The world as we know it operates in a constant rhythm of polar opposites exchanging energies. There is a continuous flow of give and take that creates this rhythm. In quiet times we can listen to it in our heartbeat and our breath – the expansion and contraction of each beat or breath.  The same rhythm is everywhere in the universe, from the tiniest molecular structure to the vastness of outer space it is still there.  Everywhere!  Even computers operate on this same exchange of electrical impulses known to computer programmers as the binary system.  It is everywhere.

The ancient Chinese understood the forces that create the rhythms of the universe and called it the Yin and the Yang .

Many Tai Chi schools have adopted some form of the Yin/Yang symbol and for good reason.  Tai Chi movements with mindful awareness replicate the same constant rhythmical exchange of energies found everywhere in the universe It is the smooth rocking back and forth movements found in tai chi that comfort us on a visceral level and affect our subconscious minds in a way that is very pleasing in a reassuring sort of way.  We instinctively rock crying babies to comfort them and we in turn enjoy the feeling of swaying back and forth in a hammock or rocking chairs – it comforts us.  We may not be able to explain why rocking back and forth is so comforting but nevertheless the comforting feeling is universal.

Practicing tai chi gives the same sensation of comfort and well-being as swaying in a hammock only better.  I believe one of the fundamental reasons tai chi practitioners experience this deep sense of inner peace and contentment is because tai chi movements bring us into harmony with the rhythm of the universe, giving us such a deep feeling of inner peace that is virtually impossible to describe to someone that does not practice tai chi.

When one is at peace with oneself, one can be at peace with others


Troyce Thome.

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