T'ai Chi For Dummies
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Chi, your energy source, flows throughout the body. By practicing mindful awareness through standing or walking, you become aware of your chi and encourage free movement through the body.

Mindful standing

You use this to figure out how to move your chi in its orbit through your body. At first, you let your hands and arms take part in the circling to help move along your chi. Then you stop the movement of your hands and arms so you can try to feel the chi circulating on its own.

Truly controlling and feeling the orbit of your chi without your arms can take months. When you first experiment with this, you may want to try only Steps 1 through 4, and then add Step 5 when you’re comfortable. After you feel at ease with these steps, you can move on to Step 6.

  1. Stand centered over both feet with your hands relaxed at your sides.

  2. Inhale through the nose, feeling the breath and energy move with the breath from the base of the spine up your back to the Bai Hui acupoint in the crown of your head. As you inhale, let your hands and arms move freely and loosely upward as if tracing the circular path on the outside of your body.

  3. Exhale and feel the breath and the energy move from your crown back down the front of your body to your perineum at the base of your torso between your thighs. Let your hands and arms simultaneously mimic that path down the front as they continue their soft circle toward the front while remaining at your sides.

  4. Do 9 full cycles as your orbit “warm-up.”

  5. After your chi is moving, forget the pattern of the breath. Just feel your chi and imagine it circling in your body on its own.

  6. Drop your hands, let your body and mind take over the job, and continue the orbiting.

There are no preconceived notions about how your body reacts to Step 6. Some people may not move their bodies. Other people may sway, rise, and sink as if possessed. Just let your body move comfortably. Don’t force it one way or the other.

Mindful walking

Walking, schmalking — this movement isn’t your normal heel-toe gig. This forward-moving motion is more meditation than transportation, and it certainly isn’t fitness walking. So abandon the thought that this kind of walking can take the place of any real aerobic activity.

When you first do this exercise, you may have to focus harder on the actual movement than the accompanying meditation. That’s okay. Then, when you get the details and stability down, think about your inner peace and your energy flow.

This movement is also great balance training, which is good for anyone prone to sprained ankles or for seniors who may be prone to falls.

Here are a few walking guidelines:

  • Try to practice your Mindful Walking outdoors where you have trees, plants, animals, and green around you, if possible.

  • Find a smooth surface so you can let go of focusing on the ground and on where your steps are going.

  • You may find yourself more successful at Mindful Walking if you’ve done a few moments of standing meditation first.

About This Article

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About the book author:

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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