T'ai Chi For Dummies
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Mind-body movements rely on a good and full energy flow. But even non-mindful movements require the power that comes with a surge of focused energy!

Ever turn on the hose to water your garden or lawn, only to have a mere trickle of water dribble out? Chances are, the first thing you did was size up the length of the hose for a twist or a kink. Like a kinked water hose, a body that isn’t aligned, relaxed, breathing, and visualizing can’t let its energy flow smoothly and efficiently.

In mind-body arts, energy is described many ways, from simply energy and chi (which translates loosely to “life energy” in the Chinese forms) to power, intrinsic energy, vital life force, breath of life, and so on. It is called energy or chi (pronounced chee).

Note that you may also see chi spelled as qi. Both are acceptable, although some practitioners lean more toward one or the other. But don’t let that confuse you. Whether you say chi or qi, it’s the same thing.

All the descriptions of energy mean the same thing, no matter how esoteric or concrete the term: Everybody is born to this Earth with a life force or energy central in their core within their body. Many people block the energy because of cultural or physical reasons.

Feeling the energy flow can be an emotional and even a healing experience, perhaps even scary. But nurturing a full and unkinked flow of chi is the goal of all mind-body movement. Without a free internal chi flow, these forms are not mind-body movement, but simply body movement.

Now, if all you want is a little gentle exercise, forget this chi stuff. But if you want to gain more benefits in the long-term, think about and work on connecting to the earth, to yourself, to others, to the heavens, and on feeling yourself flow.

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Geraldine Woods is the author of more than 40 books, including the popular English Grammar For Dummies. She has taught high school and middle school English for over 25 years.

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