10 YANG STYLE (TAI CHI) SKILLS

LET THE HEAD FEEL LIGHT AND SENSITIVE: Like a thread holding it up, or a top knot of hair tied to the rafters and your body weight loosely hanging from it. Also, as if someone is supporting you under the occiput and jaw.

SINK THE FRONT AND RAISE THE BACK: Melt and soften the chest, feel like your spine and back are ‘charged’. Let the front of the torso sink to the belly and the hips (kwa), whilst lifting and focusing on the back

FEEL FULLNESS AND EMPTINESS OF THE LEGS: Relax the muscles of the belly, hips and thighs. As you shift your weight, you will feel the leg with the weight on it is fuller, heavier than the leg without the weight. Focus on the different feeling of the legs, know which leg your weight is on – this is the full leg. Keep the knees aligned with the feet, weight spread evenly through the feet and sit in the kwa. Pause before stepping

.SEEK STILLNESS IN MOVEMENT: Pause before stepping, only move the empty leg when you are fully rested on the full leg. This pause should be encouraged. Giving yourself the time to pause before stepping is good for you. You can also feel the stillness of the central pole of balance by being aware of the twisting of the body. Focus on the Dan Tien, around 3-4 finger widths below the navel, just inside the belly.Do dissolving / softeningLink the breath with the movement.

UNITE ABOVE AND BELOW: Find your alignments (wrist to the ankles, elbows to the knees and shoulders to hips, also, elbow to the hip and hip to the feet) like a string connecting them, or a thread going through the body, or simply a direct link. The energy is rooted in the feet, developed in the legs, directed by the waist and manifested in the hands.

MOVE CONTINUOUSLY, MOVE WITHOUT BREAKS: Look for circles, move like water or through water, ‘chan ssu ching’ – silk reeling cocoon – spirals.

RELAX THE SHOULDERS AND SINK THE ELBOWS: Just keep your attention on it, keep going back to it and you will retrain your body.

RELAX THE WAIST: drop the hips to open the waist. Then the hips (kwa) can lead and the waist can turn freely.

USE MIND NOT STRENGTH: Soften the muscles and use mind-will to move. Through knowledge of the applications, consciously direct your body whilst looking for softness and clear direction of intent.

UNITE THE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL: Be aware when you practice. It is the ‘Shen’ the amalgam of thoughts, spirit and consciousness that move you. Unite internal and external means unite Spirit and body. This is done by having a spacious awareness of your body, mind and environment.

Relax

The Chinese word for relax is ‘Song’. It can be translated as relax, but also, soften, loosen, to let go. If you watch a teacher in China demonstrate ‘Song’, you can see them actively checking their body and softening the musles, letting go. They then take that state into their Tai Chi practice.

One way to relax is to do the Qi gong practice of dissolving. This is where you focus on the outer border of an area of tension and feel as if it can melt like wax becoming warm, melting and dropping down. You can also visualise ice melting to become water or even steam and come straight out of the body. This is best developed in a natural standing posture. This melting practice can be done for anything from 2 – 10 minutes to start with.

By far the biggest trick to relaxing is to keep your mind on it. Just a gentle, casual awareness of the process of relaxing / softening. In the little pauses in life, check and relax, soften, let go. The magic of relaxing is in returning your attention to it. If you keep glancing back at yourself through the day, seeing what you can soften, you will change your awareness to one of watchful, kind attention. This will change your state and eventually effect those around you.

Water

To move like water is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself when doing Tai Chi. To be still like a deep fjord, or constantly moving and untamed like a stormy sea is a wonderful feeling. Water can be fluid, ice or steam. It can change. It can change whilst keeping it’s nature. That is what you can do. You can change, flow and adapt. In Tai Chi you can be contracting then expanding, slow then fast.Don’t get fixed on one way of doing Tai Chi, be open.

There are so many opportunities to be free from tension and pain if we allow ourselves to change like water. Tai Chi is the physical embodiment of change if we let it be. If you are lucky enough to live near the sea, mimic its nature. Stand where you can see the water and be with it, letting it guide your movements. It is liberating and unifies you with nature. You can focus on a pond or a lake, then the clouds – that’s a lovely one to do. It is good to go back to the same spot on different days and witness the changing states of the environment.

We get fixed, we get so fixed all the time, we get buried in ourselves. When we are guided by water in its different states, we release ourselves from that fixed state. Then we are free to merge with nature whilst remaining embodied and present.

Learn Tai Chi

How Do I Learn Tai Chi

As a beginner, you start by learning the tai chi form. There are teachers in the group who are very patient and will take time to repeatedly explain the moves and their purpose to you.  Whilst learning the movements and applications you will quickly benefit from increased coordination, balance, flexibility and a calmer mind.

Where Can I Learn Tai Chi

Our Weekly Classes which normally include Qi Gong, are usually attended by Mark personally and are in Hastings and Bexhill.

Here beginners and the more experienced are able to work on their practice and learn new skills.

Click here for places, times and more information

Tai Chi for Fitness

Improve You Fitness, Balance And Develop a Tranquil Mind with Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an excellent practice and exercise for the young and the old  a like, increasing and maintaining overall strength and suppleness of the joints. The Calming and medative aspect is ideal for today’s busy life styles promoting balance and quiescence.

Tai Chi is an internal martial art that consists of a series of moves (form) that are based on Kung Fu moves, but are carried out slowly, gently and with precision, whilst manipulating the chi around the body to promote good health.

Tai Chi has its origins in China in the sixteenth century and was developed by Taoist monks. Tai Chi as it is practiced in the West today, can best be thought of as a moving form of exercise and meditation combine.

Many of the movements were originally derived from the martial arts, although they are carried out slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth even transitions between them.

It is said the Tai Chi moves emulate the natural movements of animals and birds and the meditative nature of the exercises is calming and relaxing in itself.

The benefits of practicing Tai Chi are many, not least acquiring the skill to ito relax and quieten the mind, which is popular with today’s busy society. The aim of most practitioners, apart from a tranquil mind, is improved health, fitness, balance and suppleness

What Is Qi Gong?

Qi gong (pronounced chee-gung) is a method of movement and breathing developed from Chinese medicine.
Practices range from simple breathing techniques and gentle movement through to dynamic and physically demanding forms – you simply learn the forms appropriate to you needs.

There are forms which benefit arthritis and skeletal problems, also forms which greatly help emotional and mental ill health – the range of forms covers the whole spectrum of health.

Qi Gong is quite easy to learn and ultimately empowers you to affect your own medical conditions and improve your energy.

Qi Gong Exercises

“People of all ages and levels of fitness can learn and practice Qi Gong, so developing and maintaining internal vigor good levels of health.”

The many different Qi Gong exercises that have specific uses in improving your health often have colourful names, for example:

Ba Dua Jin
Eight Section Brocade
For Improving the Constitution and and ideal when recovering from an illness.

Yì Jīn Jīng
Changing Tendons Method
For improving tendon strength and muscular and nervous system health.

To name just two from the many different Qi Gong exercises available, each tailored to improve a specific part of your health.
Mark is happy to advice you on what might suit your specific needs

Qi Gong

Improve Your Health, Vitality and Fitness
with Qi Gong

Qi Gong, a set of exercises, movements and postures is aimed at improving your overall health. This can be in general well-being terms or aimed at a specific ailment. The many practices and sets form an important part of Chinese Medicine.

Qi Gong is a series of exercises that have been developed over the centuries. The combination of choreographed movements, in Qi Gong, help to open and cleanse the Energy Meridians (as used in acupuncture).

Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese practice of cultivation the Qi (Life Force) that flows through all our bodies. Practicing

Qi Gong brings together; Mind, Body and Spirit by combining aerobic conditioning , meditation and breathing techniques.

Through the mediation in Qi Gong one can illicit the feelings of happiness and inner peace while the Qi Gong exercises stimulate the circulation of the blood and Qi.

Within Qi Gong mediation, where one is not in a trance, the feeling of wellness and well being is enhanced.

Tai Chi On The Beach

Bexhill beach

From time to time we go to a location like, Bexhill beach to practice Qigong and Tai Chi.

“The tide was out and the wind was very strong so we found a spot where the rocks offered some shelter. It was a real joy to be near the sea, feeling the wind around us with the sun coming through the clouds.”

Practicing the principles of balance and harmony just seemed effortless for a change! The undulations of the beach, the feeling of the wind and the sound of the waves kept the attention in the present, open and tranquil.