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Tai Chi Basics
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Connecting Mindfulness and Tai Chi

  It is extremely difficult to bridge the gap between actually doing the tai chi form and improving your meditative-mindful state.  On one hand, doing the form feels good and we definitely feel better afterwards.  But how do we answer the questions from students, classmates, and ourselves such as:   What should I be thinking about when I do the form? Does your mind race? Are you concentrating on something? I will admit to you dear reader that I have historically been at a loss for ... Read More
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Using Tai Chi to Prevent Illness

  Here is the issue: I practice tai chi. Tai chi has purported health benefits. Am I healthy?   Am I healthier than average because I practice tai chi?   If not, can I change this? Last summer I was on a vacation with my family out of the country and caught the flu from a 6-year-old boy staying in the same place we were.  Vomiting, diarrhea, knocked out for 48 hours. Plus add on two days of a slow climb back to the land ... Read More
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How to Judge People’s Energy Level

  Tai chi steady improves the attention and awareness that we bring to different aspects of our life.  This same awareness can act as an early warning system for disease and illness if you are attuned to the signs.  In this essay I will share insights gathered at a seminar with Master Chen Bin.  It led me to conduct a 6-month experiment on my health.  I will share those results in next month's post. Three ways to evaluate the health of another ... Read More
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The Best Way to Learn Qi Gong without a Teacher

You thought it was difficult to find a good tai chi teacher?  Try finding a good qi gong teacher.  Qi gong is an energy art that can dramatically improve health, concentration and well-being.  It can be undertaken by people of any age and with any physical limitation.  Learning qi gong on your own is possible and valuable because the benefits are huge. Here is where the hard part comes in.  Great progress usually demands 1) a great teacher and 2) an explanation ... Read More
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The importance of the number 9 in Tai Chi

This essay is a compilation of notes taken in an interview with Chen Youze, 20th generation Grand Master in Chen Tai Chi.  Chen Youze is a consummate teacher.  As his student, you are simultaneously blown away by the level of development that he has achieved in his lifetime and warmed by the fact that he has the ability to convey his knowledge and enable you to progress.  He is typically very direct but on this unique occasion he spoke along ... Read More
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Reverse Breathing

Surprising to most of us, we don’t have just one breath.  There are several types of breathing that our body employs and it changes throughout the year, throughout our lives, and depending on our emotional state.  Reverse breathing is a natural body process that we can consciously manipulate to improve health.  Let's discuss the importance of reverse breathing to the internal arts, dispel some negative ideas, and offer some simple instructions to improve our practice. What is reverse breathing? Reverse breathing is the ... Read More
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Science Relating Tai Chi and Happiness:  Movement

            This is the second article in a two part series on happiness.  Check out Science Behind Why Tai Chi Increases Happiness:  Facial Expression for the first installment. Newcomers to martial arts ride the initial wave of excitement when they begin studying and attend class judiciously.  However, that initial excitement always wears off and we need facts to create the buy-in to keep practicing until results are felt. Secondly, beginner students follow an instructor’s commands on blind faith entrusting the instructor to lead them ... Read More
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The Science Behind One Way that Tai Chi Increases Happiness:  Facial Expression

              My aim in writing these articles is to increase the number of people who benefit from the internal arts and to deepen the rewards experienced by those who have already begun. In this essay I will: Provide research related to your facial composition  and how tai chi increases happiness Show how one additional focus during and outside of practice will enrich your life The Inner Smile – A part of History Dating back hundreds of years we have been instructed on the on the ... Read More
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The benefits of the tai chi long form over the short form

                  Most tai chi styles offer at least 2 forms:  long and short.  Some styles like Yang have categorized them into a multitude of sizes 18 - 24 - 48 - 83 - Tall - Grande - Venti... Let’s talk about the values of the different sizes of the forms.  In this article I am going to commend you for learning a short version of the form but also supply some physiological research as to why eventually pursuing the long form is ... Read More
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There has never been a better time to learn tai chi

Prominent scientist and lecturer Alan Leshner stated that “we have probably learned more about the brain in the past twenty years than in all of recorded history.”  I find this to an apt metaphor for tai chi too. More has been learned about tai chi (by Westerners) in the last 20 years than in the previous 2000 years combined. We are on the crest of an informational wave that is not only increasing the numbers of people who want to  learn tai chi ... Read More