An Ancient Chinese Art – Mindfulness in Movement
When the beginner comes for their first Tai Chi lesson they learn how to move mindfully. The Tai Chi sequence of movements or ‘form’ is easy to do and like acquiring any new skill it takes time to learn and is interesting to practice.
The Yang style ‘short form’ is performed in standing and consists of 37 postures and the transitions in between; many are repeated and soon become familiar. Each posture has a name which describes the movement. The Chinese derived the names from observing nature, such as, ‘Waving Hands like Clouds’, from the movements of animals, ‘White Stork spreads its Wings’ and from martial art moves, ‘Step up, block, parry and punch’. The student has a real sense of achievement when they have mastered each posture.
In addition, the beginner is taught how to move mindfully by feeling the sensations of the body as it moves through space. The pressure of the soles of the feet on the ground, the joints bending and straightening, the muscles contracting and relaxing all help improve body awareness. The benefits of Tai Chi include increased relaxation, stimulation of the mind, and increased concentration which help diminish the stresses and strains in daily life.