In a recent article released by Tai Chi Basics, they explore the power of meditation and your self-care. For many people it is difficult to sit and be still, or they may have been sitting for hours all day and they really need to get moving, more sitting is not appealing.
This is where Tai Chi comes in. The moving patterns in Tai Chi are a form of Moving Meditation. That is, you gain the quietness, deep breathing, and centered feeling while flexing, strengthening and spiraling the body. This approach enhances the communication between organ systems, creates whole-body movement patterns that strengthen the way you move as you age or lead a sitting lifestyle at work or home, and deepens the breath.
What are the benefits of moving meditation? Calm the monkey mind, stretch and strengthen the muscles and tissue of the body, create a storage center of energy to use throughout your day, to ease sleep challenges, to moved the breath deeper into the body for mental clarity and system support, release of tension in areas that may have been problems for years (neck, shoulder, hip, back, lower back, hamstrings, ankles), restless legs, and more.
Join a class today, celebrate with us on World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day April 29th, and join us in the park all summer long.
Here is the link to the Meditation article by Tai Chi Basics…put Tai Chi on your wellness plan!
When we choose a program for exercise, what are we really signing up for? Tai Chi is a slow, gentle, powerful transformation for living!
Most of us sign up for exercise class to help us with getting active, building leg strength, finding some flexibility we may have lost, and to be more energized. We may have tried different sports, walking, hiking, running, yoga, pilates, etc. They may have kept our interest, but not supported all the needs of the body with its aches and complaints. What do you do if your favorite activity is causing you some pain, or you don’t have the strength or flexibility to continue with it?
At this point, you may be thinking about what Tai Chi looks like in the park in the summertime, and how the slow movements look so fluid. Something you always thought of trying, but never did. Why not? What might this ancient art have to offer you and your wellness plan?
On December 3rd, Wine Country Tai Chi Society offered a special workshop to explore what Tai Chi really offers those who sign up for a class – transformation. Michelle Greenwell, of Tai Chi Cape Breton, and a Ph.D. (final) in Complementary and Integrative Health, shared the true healing power of Tai Chi. She encouraged the participants to let go of the old paradigm that they needed exercise. They explored the stress that the idea of exercise brings into the body and where in the body it influences each person. She invited the group to explore the idea of transformation.
Transformation is the opportunity for ease and flow to spread through the body as the organ systems and the energy circuits open and balance. Once in this balanced stated, the systems can operate together in harmony, and they are supported by a constant and abundant energy flow.
The group explored how emotions can appear in overload when there are blocks in the system and the body is stressed. This can lead to feelings of anxiety or fear, or judgment, or anger and resentment without real provocation. Together the group explored how simple movement patterns can harmonize the emotions and release thoughts and ideas that have been through a stressed lens.
The group also explored the power of spiral movement, found throughout all the Tai Chi moves, and how it engages receptors in the body that feed the brain and enhance its function. Through the spiral moves the group felt the difference in whole body harmony, as opposed to isolated movements found in activities that keep the movements straight.
Figure eight patterns were a favorite by the group as they explored how this energetic pattern can harmonize the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Found throughout the Tai Chi movements, it was easy to see the layers of power within simple actions.
The group was able to realize some new ideas about their own body and their stress level, and how engaging in Tai Chi daily can release that tension, open up for ease with breathing, and to expand joints, lift the spine, and balance the pelvis and shoulders.
Here are a couple of quotes from participants:
Change your thinking, Change your Chi!
I am so excited about this journey and you sharing your wisdom further inspires me.
Have you been thinking about what to do for your wellness plan in 2023? Have you considered how Tai Chi might be able to enhance your daily energy, increase your strength, expand your flexibility, help you to breathe deeply throughout the day, introduce you to a whole new group of friends with the same wellness goals?
WCTCS is welcoming new students to their classes in January and February. A great place to start is with the Friday classes that raise your body awareness and help you identify where the stress is being held in the body. From there you can expand to other daytime and evening classes based on your schedule. Check out the full schedule in the class listings. You can get connection with the group by emailing email@example.com or calling Yvonne at 778-755-0987 to speak with an instructor. We look forward to seeing you expand your wellness toolbox and build a strong plan for health and well-being success in 2023!
Just this week I heard several people refer to the anxiety and stress they were feeling about daily things, and that this was a result of Covid, getting older, or they had always had the challenges. They accepted their fate and were prepared to carry on.
What if you didn’t have to accept anxiety and stress as a paralyzer in your daily activities? What if you could change your body, mind and emotions to release stressful thoughts or behavior patterns, or even body postures related to the expression of stress or anxiety?
Check out this latest blog written by our Board member, Michelle Greenwell, about the science of Tai Chi to support and change the body, mind and emotional reactions to stress and anxiety. The science and thousands of years support the idea that we can change our daily opportunities and we can change how we feel, act and support our posture daily.
If you haven’t joined us for a FREE Tai Chi class yet, now is the time. Take a look at our schedule. We would love to show you how simple and easy Tai Chi can be to completely change your day and the way you feel.
From the moment we wake up in the morning we have the choice to be our best selves, providing the best opportunities and engaging with the love and compassion we deserve and crave.
When you look into the mirror, what is the loving thought that you share with yourself?
What gifts of life do you notice in your face, posture, and expression?
What is the first act of love that you provide?
These can be loaded questions for a person that may not resonate as a ‘morning person.’ Perhaps you were woken up or had set the alarm and wanted more sleep. Perhaps your day is full of big responsibilities, and you are dreading the start.
Or perhaps you see the sunshine through the window. Hear the birds in the trees. See the trees and leaves blowing in the wind. Feel the movement of your feet. Hear your heartbeat. Sense the joy of the day.
I have painted my room yellow so that when I open my eyes the sun is always shining, even on the dreary days of rain or storms. My bed and window provide me with a treetop view of the yard, so I feel like I have a secret view from my ‘treehouse.’ My room is filled with pictures I love, memories I cherish, and which bring me joy. My scarves and jewelry are on special display cases so that I can see them easily and remember to wear them.
Each day I start with two glasses of water as a thank you to my body for the detoxifying it has done in the night and the opportunity for me to help release these toxins through my kidneys and bladder. It is one more sign of gratitude I am deliberate about.
As I descend the stairs, I am reminded that I am human and that my joints may not be as freely moving yet as I would like, some days I am pleasantly surprised at how spry I can move. With this movement, I am reminded that how I move for the remainder of the day will be up to me.
Now I have a choice that is a little tougher for me. Do I go to my computer and start in on the ideas in my head? Do I check my emails? Do I make a cup of tea? Do I engage in Tai Chi? This is where my deliberate setup of the bedroom and drinking water has begun my self-care. However, my love of writing always draws me to my computer to get started while it is quiet, and the world is still asleep. I know that if I do a little Tai Chi before I start, the whole body is opened, and the thoughts will flow easier. So simple, no, not when the head does not always do what the body and spirit need.
My father has made it his daily mission to devote the first hour of his day, which starts at 2 am with an early morning job, to his Tai Chi practice. He has a clear routine that he does to make sure he is strong, flexible, clear-headed, and energized for the work ahead. He is an inspiration to me with his dedication. What is his secret? Two knee replacements. For his body to be its best he must make sure that the knees have all that they need to function optimally. He made this commitment to himself when he had the surgery.
Why is it that we can be inspired by challenge and illness? Why do we wait until there is a crisis to do better with our self-care? Do we believe we can ignore warning signs and things will get better? What is the point at which you will stop, listen, and act? Good question, isn’t it?
No one can do our care for us. It is up to us to create space, time, and energy for our well-being. As you consider how you have made self-care your responsibility, take the time to celebrate the gestures you have made so far, and the awareness of what needs to change to be more for today and tomorrow.
Michelle Greenwell, BA Psych, MSc CAM, Ph.D. (final) Complementary and Integrative Health, is passionate about supporting others to be the best they can be. A Tai Chi instructor and enthusiast for almost three decades she has reaped the rewards of her daily and weekly practice by gaining clarity of thought, energy, enthusiasm, strength, agility, and joy for living. To learn more about the FREE resources she provides, along with her specialty courses, check out her links here. Michelle is the leader of the Tai Chi Cape Breton group and sits on the board of Wine Country Tai Chi Society, as well as her volunteer activities for the instruction and promotion of Tai Chi.
Have you registered for the World Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Healing Arts Congress, Sept 24 – 27? The 4 days of events have over 100 speakers and is FREE. You can register here.
Michelle Greenwell will be presenting on the 26th of Sept. from 2-4 pm Pacific or 6-8 pm Atlantic. Please join her and support greater learning with Tai Chi and movement opportunities.
We have three events leading us into the fall and we would love to have you join us there. This is a great chance to learn more about Tai Chi, try a few movements, and then follow it all up with a Wine Tasting from our favorite sponsors!
One of our regular mindsets is to do an activity with the same vigor that we have always done it. The question is, do you have the same strength, flexibility, or skill as the last time that you did that activity?
Gardening, shovelling, small jobs, and repairs, and moving boxes and furniture are the usual suspects. For each season or activity, we assume we have the same skill or strength as the last time we did the task, but do we? How often have you been lifting boxes repeatedly and carrying them into different positions? How much time have you spent kneeling and pulling at objects for hours in a row? How many times have you reached into odd postures to paint, scrape, or hammer to repair something? How often have you wondered how that shoulder, back or knee has pain when you haven’t done anything? You forgot about the over-extension of activity or the simplicity of a movement that used a poor movement pattern to provide you with the means of completing a task.
As time passes each year, our level of activity changes, as does our flexibility and our strength. In order to support our well-being and support our body we need to train to move for the best possible range of motion and endurance with decreasing muscle mass in mind. This is where Tai Chi comes in.
Tai Chi is the study of movement to maximize strength and flexibility. To move easily and wisely with the least amount of strain and injury. How do we do that? Spiral action, support postural positions, support of the body through the feet, position of the hands.
Many people comment how beautiful it is to see people in the park doing Tai Chi together. What they don’t realize is that the muscle memory and the strength that is built during the daily practice of the Tai Chi movement patterns. These patterns provide the body with the tools needed to do daily chores and activities with ease and flow.
Injury Prevention begins with breathing. Deep breathing provides support to the muscles for oxygen and circulation to support the muscles and activity. Commencement is one of the first movements we learn and practice daily with Tai Chi. To learn more, check out our video series: Tai Chi Wellness and discover how “Commencement” can help you to prevent injury for your body doing regular or seasonal activities. Click here for the breathing video that uses the commencement movement.
Michelle Greenwell is a movement specialist and Tai Chi instructor for Tai Chi Cape Breton. Working with Doug and Yvonne Waines, also Tai Chi instructors for Wine Country Tai Chi in West Kelowna, BC, to create the Tai Chi Wellness series, they have supported your well-being with free resources to learn the superpower of Tai Chi. What are you waiting for? Take a look and change your daily self-care habits. Tell a friend and create an accountability buddy that helps you share more than a conversation over a cup of coffee or tea. Together you can help each other be empowered by movement for wellness.