Tai Chi is very simple – you just do it. Over time, with regular practice, you start to embody TAO ‘The Way’ and come into a natural state of harmony.
Tai Chi includes a complete set of tools to work on your whole self (including body, emotions, mind and spirit), manage your health and gain understanding of life. The principles of Tai Chi were developed centuries ago by Masters who had a deep understanding of the nature of life. This understanding came from looking inward – by understanding themselves they understood the universe. This approach is summarised in Lao Tzu’s Tao Teh Ching:
Without going out of your door,
you can know the ways of the world.
Without looking through your window,
you can see the Way of Heaven.
The farther you go, the less you know.
Thus one of deep virtue knows without going,
sees without looking
and accomplishes without doing.
Tai Chi is represented by the Tai Chi symbol (see What is Tai Chi). In this symbol the two opposing aspects of Yin and Yang are in a state of flow, creating balance and harmony.
In Tai Chi practice we bring awareness to the two opposing aspects (or yin/yang) of our own life and work to restore balance. For the body we can begin by balancing exercise with rest and move on to exploring improved postural alignment whilst letting go of tension … becoming softer. For the mind we can start by balancing external awareness with internal awareness (switching away from a focus on what’s going on around us to watching our mind, feeling our emotions and ‘being’ in our body). We can move onto balancing incessant thinking with quiet meditation.
The process of becoming more balanced is ongoing. To practice Tai Chi is to constantly transform oneself and to create a simple constructive life.
Golden Flower Tai Chi operates around the world with an established school in Oxford. Classes generally cover the four ‘pillars’ of Tai Chi: form, standing, pushing hands and meditation. Form focuses on flowing movement through a series of postures, standing is about alignment and stillness. Pushing hands allows students to test themselves with other people and introduces self defense applications – in a calm way. All the practices involve meditation, slowing down and becoming fully present.
I am lucky to study with a Master who embodies the principles of Tai Chi whilst being very generous with his knowledge and clear in his communication. Master San Gee Tam supports me in my process of development and this flows into the classes in Oxford. I enjoy working with people and helping them to work on themselves in an ongoing process of self cultivation…moving towards harmony.