The Amazing Power of Tai Chi and QiGong

What is it about this mysterious art form that sparks the imagination, inspiring an almost insatiable curiosity, awe and wonder from deep within.  The fruits of Qigong and Tai Chi practices have guided dynasties and elicited great works from artists, poets, saints, scholars and sages across millennia.

I’ve been a trainer in the Forest Qigong practice of Shin-Sun-Do guiding classes, workshops and wellness retreats (such as this summer’s retreat on Hornby Island) since 2003.  I love it and have ample opportunity to observe and appreciate the wonders and healing that its practices unfold in my studio and other environments each and every day.

Around the world, seniors gather to practice in parks to cultivate wisdom, connection and longevity.  Bold young athletes enter gruelling martial arts practices – where even the brashest show great respect for their trainers, desiring to better themselves by cultivating self-discipline, inner power and mastery.   Mothers, business people and healers practice to take time for self, releasing the stress and demands to bring forth their best hearts and minds while caring and serving others.  Monks and scholars train daily, year after year to attain stillness by perfecting the postures and movements for the betterment of themselves and humanity. Even our children are fascinated with the beauty, lessons, feats and adventures depicted in shows such as Karate Kid and Crouching Tiger, Sleeping Dragon. Those who suffer from chronic pain find the movements powerfully therapeutic yet gentle enough for their tired beings and aching or brittle joints.

Depictions of Masters of limitless power, heightened intuition and high character bring forth a desire to hone body, mind and spirit from deep within us all.  They awaken dreams of limitlessness and touch something deep within us that yearns for connection and expression.

So why this timeless, wide spread, cross sector fascination to flow with or master this inner ki, qi or chi that looks so gentle and seemingly benign?

The Tao

Reconnecting to the rhythms and flow of your inherent nature…

The Tao is a science and philosophy, referred to as ‘The Way’.  Living Tao means to flow harmoniously with the Laws of the Universe and ways of nature.  My practice; “Shin-Sun-Do” dates back 9,700 years with data recorded in petroglyphs using deer hoof style markings from 4,500 years ago.  It provided a method and philosophy that informed Asian culture, governance, health care and even ancient seed languages.

The study and practice of the Tao Healing Arts is a process of returning to one’s true nature.  By restoring balance between Heaven (your brain) and Earth (your body) through development of your Internal “Ki” energy, one becomes integrated and whole, quickly re-building the foundation of health, happiness and peaceful creativity that the human brain is always striving for.

Qigong is very enjoyable, it connects us to ourselves, our environment and each other, and to a place both exciting and familiar.  It centers us, and assures us we belong.  The movements are as simple and soft as they are powerful and strong allowing ourselves to immerse ever more deeply as we develop skill and acumen.  Simply put, Qigong tempers and tones us, physically, mentally and spiritually.

When properly guided, the process systematically awakens every cell in our brain and body, unlocking long covered and forgotten wisdoms of humanity and life, the joys of creation in the present moment and limitless hope, confidence and possibility for the future. 

Developing your center-point of balance

It is a law of nature that everyone and everything continuously seeks balance.  One could say that most yearning and pain in life is in direct correlation with the being’s imbalance and distance from its true nature, whether by lack or surplus.  We complicate it by over analyzing and rationalizing, but it is really very simple.

Everything balances from its center, everything!  Whether a branch, 2 bags of beans on a scale, a rock on a ledge, or you.  The laws of the universe and ways of nature apply.  Once you experience this fundamental truth and choose to apply it, the way becomes simple. You just need to make it your center!

The first step is to develop your main center-point of balance, your physical body, to build a strong foundation.  Then you can balance your body, mind and spirit as a whole.  You need to develop it, re-training your brain and body in the process.

You will know your physical body is balanced when it feels strong, vibrant and healthy, like a pyramid.  When your mind is balanced, your heart becomes open, compassionate and joyous and the emotions are rich and mature without sentimentality.  Your spirit becomes peaceful, productive and creative.

It doesn’t take long to develop; once aligned your body, mind and spirit immediately begin to work together on the same team, helping you achieve your goals.  After the initial stage as any accumulated stress releases, you will feel centered and soon after, as you continue to practice, a joyful adventure opens and your life becomes a precious and divine creative expression of your ‘true self’.

In no time your challenges, emotional and physical discomforts really do become opportunities, and you will be surprised to see yourself developing the resilience to gratefully recognize them as your guides, beckoning you ever inward to release what doesn’t serve, unfolding your inner beauty and true potential.

Once you learn a few sequences and balancing techniques you can practice anytime & anywhere. It’s also very transportable and affordable, requiring only the equipment you were born with… your brain and your body.

While I always offer Qigong during my retreats, this year during The Tao Of Hornby Island Retreat we will learn a few extra sequences and practices that you can take with you to quickly centre and balance for practice anytime and anywhere.  It’s also a perfect match with the other water and forest sports we’ll enjoy, and great way to bond with other retreat goers.

If you are interested in joining us this summer on Hornby Island,visit Heartdrumbeat/The Tao of Hornby Island.
Arrow Gonsalves is a guest contributor to the Herbal Collective magazine. Read the July’17 issue online now. Access all new and over two years worth of back issues by joining the Herbal Club.