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Eliciting the Relaxation Response with Tai Chi

While the name Herbert Benson might not ring a bell, his research is essential reading for anyone looking to understand eastern practices through the lens of western medicine.  His book, The Relaxation Response is a scientific validation of age-old wisdom.  It is a scientific study of how meditative practices can encourage the body to release chemicals and brain signals that cause the musculature and organs to slow down and increase blood flow to the brain. The Relaxation Response In his book he ... 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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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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Meditation: Quickly Reap the Rewards using Brainwave Entrainment

              When people ask me why I do qi gong, tai chi or meditate, I always start by explaining the benefits you receive after practicing for awhile.  People are genuinely interested in beginning but there is often a hesitation because of the commitment of time and learning that is needed before you really start to reap the rewards. I always wish that I could jump the skeptic ahead so that they could immediately feel the difference that internal work causes: better health, ... Read More
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Tai chi and Buddhism – Limitations of Having a Teacher

“Not for one moment did I doubt that you were the Buddha, that you have reached the highest goal…  You have done so by your own seeking, in your own way, through thought, through meditation, through knowledge, through enlightenment.  You have learned nothing through teachings, and so I think, O Illustrious One, that nobody finds salvation through teachings.  To nobody, O Illustrious One, can you communicate in words and teaching what happened to you in the hour of your enlightenment…” Siddhartha’s ... Read More
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How the Buddha’s Teachings Relate to Tai Chi

                        Is Tai Chi Intended to be Spiritual or Religious? Tai chi can be as spiritual or non-spiritual as a practitioner makes it.  It has a heavy sense of good will and absolutely has a sacred feel.   Quotes and references abound about the similarities between tai chi and Buddhism/Daoism/Confucianism.   Some go as far as to say that Tai Chi is based on Daoism or that it runs parallel to the teachings of the I Ching (Book of Changes). On the other hand, ... Read More
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How Tai Chi Influences our Life – Jumping Outside of the Form

There is this general idea that tai chi influences our lives positively after a while.  You practice the form diligently and somehow the tranquility and understanding that ensues flows like water out of your backyard and pervades all aspects of your life.  Aaaahhh. Malarkey you scream!   Way too touchy feely. Like every good tai chi concept, the answer is yes and no.  My non-tai chi life has benefited immensely from my practice.  Let’s use this essay to describe how the benefits of ... Read More
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Five Elements Theory 101

          There is an esoteric side of tai chi that dips in and out of the Tao, the I-Ching, yin-yang theory, and Buddhist philosophy.  Are these terms new to you or confusing?  Join the club.  This is an amazingly large body of knowledge and very few practitioners have completely wrapped their mind around all of these topics.  Unless coming from a philosophical background or having acupuncture knowledge, nearly no new practitioners have this stuff figured out.  Gaining philosophical understanding is a ... Read More
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The Origin of Tai Chi (in 68 seconds)

              The goal of this article is to: 1) introduce you to some names and places that will eventually become critical. At some point in everyone’s development an understanding of the origin of tai chi becomes essential.  Typically you begin to be in a conversation about yoga/work/religion/running and you say; “that sounds like tai chi.”  A need arises to understand how tai chi can be related to so much simultaneously and your historical pursuit begins. 2) give you confidence in the great tradition that ... Read More