Practice Tai Chi to Train Your Mental State
When focusing a well developed tai chi practice (article on that soon to follow) on effecting our state of mind we emphasize certain tools and intent in our training. Breath work is one of the most fundamental keys both to our state of mind and the internal arts practice in general. Additionally, we use the movements of the body to serve as a focus point for the mind. The mind can be a very chaotic thing when ungoverned. By finding ever finer detail and quality in the movements of our forms we provide our selves an anchor in all of the randomness. This lets us identify and shed negative thought loops, (Have an embarrassing or painful memory from years ago that still jars you on a regular basis?) dismiss the energy and focus drain of random distractions, and guide our own emotional states rather than have them dictated by others. The mind can be a sensitive and effective tool that helps us live the lives we want if we develop our skill at using it. To practice tai chi takes effort, but everything of quality does. Here’s a few points to think about when deciding whether that effort is worth it for you.
#1 Reason to Practice Tai Chi: You’ll live longer.
Mental and physical well being are directly connected. No matter how physically strong and capable you are, if you neglect the mind you are severely limiting your potential. A yang example: If you are quick to anger, the stress that puts on the heart and adrenal system is punishing. You can expect the heart to wear out more quickly and disrupted hormone level have harsh long term effects. A yin example: If you let self-doubt rule you, your ability to shape the life you want to life is marginal at best. This constant mild unhappiness can cascade into depression which significantly diminishes the immune system.
#2 Reason to Practice Tai Chi: You’ll be happier.
Skilled meditators tend not to feel manic levels of glee as much as some might. The trade off is a sense of pleasure in the very act of being alive. Ups and downs still happen but throughout you can find an undercurrent of savoring life. “Time moves forward. Whether you’re up or down, you move on. That’s living. When we try to hold onto and recreate past positive moments, we are trading our lives for the past. What could be new happiness slips by while we fixate and what is already past. The same is true for those oh so fascinating negative memories. Learn what you need to and get on with it.”
#3 Reason to Practice Tai Chi: You’ll be more effective.
By being able to align yourself more fully to what you are doing you will be able to produce greater results. If you are doubting your actions or just aren’t fully engaged, then you can expect mediocre results at best. We can’t walk two different ways at the same time. Yet we constantly work at cross purposes to ourselves. Learn to identify where our actions are out of alignment allows us to free up a great deal of potential. If you are going to do something it deserves your utmost ability.
“There is no try…”
#4 Reason to Practice Tai Chi: You’ll be able to make goals happen.
There is a term, “paper goals” It refers to the habit many people have of making plans, small and large, to change and improve their lives that unfortunately go nowhere. They are brilliant on paper but they never happen. When you set a goal it should be clearly defined, envision how you will live upon reaching your mark, be as specific as possible. A goal must be something that resonates with you. “I want to be healthy” sounds good but it’s not concrete enough to motivate. This is why many people fail to develop a healthy lifestyle until something dire happens. “I need to beat cancer” moves us much more deeply than “I want to be fit.” If you are going to set a goal it has to be something you can connect deeply with.
#5 Reason to Practice Tai Chi: You shape your life.
That is in the end an ultimate goal. We are constantly programming a filter that we view our lives through. We do this with our inner monologues, what we read and watch, what we hear, etc. We build an image of ourselves, attractive, overweight, unhealthy, powerful, vulnerable and so on. The image, positive or negative, is something we want to shed. By freeing ourselves from preconception we allow ourselves freedom of response.
If you’d like to discuss the practice of Tai Chi for personal development, feel free to contact us with any questions.