Tai Chi & Qigong are ancient mind/body cleansing exercises designed to process the stress loads we accumulate
each day, so that we can release them to enable
the mind and body to operate in its highest
mode of efficiency and health.
Tai Chi & Qigong combine deep breathing
techniques, gentle body movement,
and visualization techniques.
When combined, they provide the metaphoric
equivalent of running your central nervous
system through a car wash. The gripping,
clutching mind and body you start
with on one end of your Tai Chi exercise,
is left behind as you exit this mind/body
cleansing with a fresh, more sparkly
and clear perspective of life.
Let's examine the three main elements
of Tai Chi, in a more detailed way, through
the following free tutorials you can enjoy
on the internet right now, before, then
beginning a class in your area. (See top
of menu on right for "Find Local Classes")
Or if you don't have access to classes in your area, or your schedule won't permit, try the world acclaimed DVDs from our Official Sponsor in the menu to your right.
Let's get started ...
Tai Chi is a form of Qigong (Chi Kung), which
means breathing exercise, or energy exercise.
Ancient Chinese researchers found that when
we get stressed we constrict our breathing.
In fact, our natural response to stress is to
hold our breath. Part of this is inherited from
our pre-historic ancestors who would "freeze up,"
hoping a lion or tiger looking for lunch would not
However, our modern world stress is not fooled
when we tighten and hold our breath. All that
habit does now, is lock up the stress deeply
into the fifty-trillion cells of our body, which
. . . yes, that's right . . . waits until we try
to go to sleep at night to evaporate
through our tired mind.
So, by learning to breathe fully, even when
stressed, is a powerful response to modern
stress. That is what Qigong is designed to
teach us. You can now enjoy the below video
entitled Qigong Breathing - Video Tutorial,
which is a free tutorial, provided by
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, a
worldwide health education effort
that provides free resources to
a stressed out world.
Once you experience the above "breathing tutorial," and learn to practice full diaphragmatic breaths that can allow your entire torso to begin to unlock its grip on itself, you'll now be better equipped to enjoy a deeper visualization experience. This 17 minute experience below will allow you to go a bit deeper, and enable your mind, body, and heart or emotional awareness to begin to release and un-load your accumulated stress loads at even deeper levels.
When you begin this process, your mind may spin with thoughts such as, "I don't have time for this," or it may come up with a hundred other things you should be doing instead. Realize this. If you don't process your stress loads now, you'll be doing it when you lay down to go to sleep. Investing 17 minutes a couple of times per day, may help gain you many hours of restful sleep in coming days and weeks. Now, you can sit back, close your eyes, relax, and enjoy this below 17 minute exercise. Breathe, relax, enjoy.
The third aspect of Tai Chi, and other moving Qigong exercises, beyond breathing and visualization techniques, is the gentle movement series. Gentle movement massages the body, as we breathe and let go of old rigidity we feel as we move. However, Tai Chi has a regimen or repertoire of movements that are always the same, like a dance move. The purpose of this is to engage the mind, so that it cannot run off and worry about the fears and stresses of the day.
When you do purely physical exercise like the stationary bike or the treadmill, etc. the mind often isn't "here and now" with you. In fact, at the gym you'll see people reading or watching TV while they do it. Even runners around the track often have headsets telling them the business news, or reading books on tape, or pulsing music into their heads. This is completely different than Tai Chi, for Tai Chi is a mind/body exercise that is all encompassing.
As you flow through the Tai Chi movements you are becoming deeply aware of your breathing, and using visualization techniques with that breathing to deeply release subtle stress loads your body, heart and mind have accumulated. Would you like to experience a free Tai Chi lesson? World Tai Chi & Qigong Day's effort to distress the world, also offers a free video Tai Chi lesson on line.
Now that you have completed the "breathing tutorial," and the "sitting qigong relaxation therapy experience," and now a couple of "tai chi movements" on the video tutorial, you are probably feeling much better than you had in a long long while. I'd be willing to wager you are definitely feeling the best you have since the market began collapsing.
Okay, now don't stress out about that. Continue coming back to the free video tutorials on the above pages every day. Keep expanding the sensation of safety and ease those exercises provide. WorldTaiChiDay.org also provides a national and international directory of Tai Chi and Qigong teachers and schools, which is free to both you and teachers worldwide, to help connect a stressed out world with stress solutions.
Now, Tai Chi isn't a drug, and it won't make your problems go away. Our world is changing, and we may need to change too. What we will find, is what Mr. Jagger told us long ago, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try some time, well you just might find . . . you'll get what you need."
Decades ago, back when I was first learning Tai Chi in Southern California, like millions of others, I'd get stuck in the 405 freeway traffic each morning. A morning DJ would come on between songs and do what he called the morning mantra. He'd engage all of us on the freeway to join him in chanting, "EGBOK, EGBOK, EGBOK." EGBOK was the acronym for "Everything is Going to Be OK."
No one knows what America or the world will look
like on the other end of this financial crisis.
But one thing we should all know is that
the Chinese character for "crisis" is
made up of two other characters,
one is "danger" and the
other is "opportunity."
Our world is changing. The danger is that we will hold our collective breath, tighten our gripping fists, and resist change that is necessary for our world to evolve into its greatest mutually beneficial potential for all involved. An opportunity is we learn time tested tools to relax, and breathe, and open to change as dynamic surfers of a new world.
As far as the crisis, it always was and always
will be true that . . . this too shall pass. Our
only choice is, do we get beaten and victimized
by the changes coming at us, or do we allow them to
evolve us into something wiser and more true
than we were before.
Now, all together, take a deep breath, and when you let that breath out, let every cell in your body let go, letting your shoulders relax down and away from your neck. Two more nice full breaths, and on that sighing exhale as every cell lets go right at the deepest roots of your being, let the morning mantra flow through your lungs, throat and mouth, "EGBOK, EGBOK, EEEEEGGGBBOOOOOOKKK."
Welcome to World Tai Chi & Qigong Day !
Bill Douglas is the founder of
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day,
and author of, The Complete
Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong.
Bill began teaching mind/body stress management techniques for many of the world's largest
corporations, after leaving a career in human
Bill reached an epiphany, and decided he could
spend the rest of his life refereeing stress-induced
conflicts in HR . . . or . . . could share highly
effective stress management techniques with
the world by exposing governments, corporations,
and health institutions to the work of Tai Chi and
Qigong teachers, and researchers worldwide.
WorldTaiChiDay.org connects hundreds of thousands
of its visitors to local Tai Chi & Qigong teachers
and schools worldwide. (See top of menu on top/right)
Bill and World Tai Chi & Qigong Day have been
a Tai Chi source for The Wall Street Journal;
The New York Times; BBC World Radio;
The South China Morning Post;
USA Weekend; and media worldwide.