Tai Chi Classes in Portland for Health, Vitality, Longevity and Self Defense
Tai Chi is a practice with several facets.
Physically the training from our Portland Tai Chi classes cultivates a supple strength and flexibility. One develops grace and balance as the postures condition core support muscles. The body becomes less susceptible to damage as the weight bearing exercises gradually increase bone density and the stretching movements make a person more pliable. The breath work counteracts stress, improving blood pressure and heart rate by calming the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Mentally the principles from Tai Chi training of redirecting force prove invaluable in everyday life. With practice one develops the ability to maintain a calm center regardless of circumstance.
Spiritually, our Portland Tai Chi practice cultivates ones energy. It can be a key piece of an internal arts practice to elevate your spirit; which is to say, gaining greater clarity and awareness, becoming less susceptible to petty distractions. With a clear mind one learns to put their full intent into their movements. Energy follows this intent extending the movements beyond their regular potential.
Tai Chi martial training requires intensive practice. An adept practitioner can handle an opponent of greater size and speed. It is the combination of a responsive healthy body from the physical, the clear mind and sensitivity of the mental and the heightened energy and awareness of the spirit that make Portland Tai Chi training effective. With the right timing, one doesn’t need raw speed. With actions that are responses to opportunities, one doesn’t need raw strength. With this understanding you can see that a Tai Chi practice can be adjusted to meet your goals and abilities.
Though originally practiced as a martial art, Tai Chi can be considered a “lifestyle enhancing practice” with a range of approaches to the training. Each individual’s Tai Chi and Qigong falls into a part of the spectrum, ranging from medical/therapeutic, martial and philosophical, to spiritual. While any practice will contain components of each, your chosen focus will determine the shape of your training.
Your Portland Tai Chi and Qigong training develop the body to a baseline of health, responsiveness, and efficiency of movement. Mentally, we build to a baseline of clear-headedness, presence and purposeful movement. From this core skill set you can see how well primed you will be to pursue your individual goals.
The slow, weight-bearing movements of the Tai Chi forms develop structural ligament strength, bone density and promote a healthy free range of motion in every joint of the body. Practicing Qigong involves a basic mindfulness meditation, which means training our minds to stay present and fully focused on our present actions and environment. Simply put, when the mind wanders, you bring it back to what you are doing. This improves our ability to focus and center ourselves while reducing stress.
Breaking down further the approaches to Tai Chi training:
Our training involves regular deep breath work that can help improve your energy levels, as well provide health benefits. Stance and formwork may be modified to accommodate previous injury and can actually help rebuild structural strength and quality of movement. We will also help relieve stress and enhance your immune system with our meditative work and training. We can tailor your practice to support external treatments such as acupressure or acupuncture and address specific issues. The general goal of the training is to promote a high functional and healthy life.
The martial art side of Tai Chi is a subtle, yet effective approach to self-defense. Tai Chi Ch’uan is a close fighting style that utilizes softness and following movements to lock and disrupt an opponent. One of the key principles of martial art tai chi is yielding to an opponent’s force and redirecting it to a disadvantageous position. This technique is combined with Fa Jing (the explosive release of force with the whole body) to take advantage of the opponent’s inferior position and structure. Martial training involves intense posture training to develop strength and endurance. Qigong builds a high level of clarity and energy while conditioning the muscles and tendons.
The spiritual approach to internal arts means constantly striving towards enlightenment. Buddhist and Taoist monks use Qigong as a vehicle towards finding and maintaining peace of mind. The goal of this kind of training is to live in perfect harmony with the world. For most of us, this approach to training is simply about being more at peace with ourselves and learning to quiet the mind and live a smooth and psychologically healthy life.
The philosophical approach of Portland Tai Chi training shares some similarities with the spiritual approach. This training focuses on reaching high levels of clarity and focus.. We develop the ability to work free from distraction, our thoughts coming from an unfiltered source without being diminished by negative mental habits.
If you’re interested in signing up or learning more about our Portland Tai Chi class, then please call us today at 503-235-3435.