TAI CHI IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST MOVING SLOWLY. IT’S AN ENERGY LANGUAGE THAT SPEAKS THROUGH YOUR BODY.
It can let you speak to your body again and feel all throughout yourself.
Can you breathe deeply and keep your chest still at the same time?
Can you put your mind inside your body and feel your internal organs?
Can you place your awareness in your spine and feel how many vertebrae you have?
Most of us can’t. Most of us have difficulty feeling anything more than skin-deep within our bodies, unless it’s hurting. I’m amazed each day at how much more there is to feel within my body. When I started Tai Chi I couldn’t really feel a large portion of my back, I knew it was there of course, but were the muscles tight or relaxed? Where did they run from and to? Where did my bones start and stop? Could I move my shoulder blades independently from each other? The only times I did get any real sense of feeling from within my back was when it ached!
At the time, I didn’t realise I couldn’t feel it; because it was numb I had no awareness of it, just as most people have no awareness of their liver, or blood vessels, or indeed chi. Ultimately, if you can’t feel something, you can’t move it, you can’t control it. If I wanted to move my back muscles I would physically bend and stretch so that parts of my body that I could feel and move would pull and push on the bits I couldn’t.
I also suffered from four separate punctured lung incidents (known as spontaneous pneumothorax) in my teens and early twenties, and a subsequent surgical operation on my lungs. I held one shoulder higher than other and slumped into my low shoulder in an unconscious protective gesture I didn’t even know I was doing. Tai Chi has enabled me to reconnect with my body; through simple movements that are built upon over time, I have deepened my ability to be within my body and feel it. The Tai Chi Effect aims to help others live long and happy lives and to reconnect with relaxed and open bodies.
We offer weekly tai chi classes in Sussex.
My father and I have also set up an online course called Exercises For Life, which helps to work through the whole body and keep us loose and mobile, without having the in-depth choreography of Tai Chi.