You likely recognize this as the “Yin and Yang” symbol, which it is… but it more accurately called the “Tai Chi” symbol. Tai Chi is movement practice based on the philosophical ideals of Yin and Yang – balance, flow, energy, harmony. It represents rising and falling, filling and emptying, warmth and coolness – balance in all things.
Life is made up of the physical, the mental, and the essence (soul or spirit, or however you view your life essence). We often forget the principle of “balance” needs to be applied to all aspects of life, as Einstein alluded. Tai Chi will help with your physical balance as doctors and universities have claimed, but it will also help balance the mind and the spirit. It does not present any particular religious “dogma”, but enhances the understanding of life in a way that any faith will benefit from.
The slow patient mindful and artful movement of tai chi spills over into all other areas of our lives in time. As the symbol suggests, it is a way to wellness and wholeness for the body, mind, and essence.
The answers depend on the course.
For the Opening Practice (free 1 hour lessons):
We will typically meet in a park or some other public setting and will play there. You do not need a “tai chi uniform” – just dress comfortably with an eye towards the weather. Loose fitting clothes are probably preferable to jeans but not required.
I like to play barefoot when the weather is warm and the ground is safe. Otherwise any kind of sneaker or flat shoe is appropriate. Flip-flops may be a a bit of a challenge. (I probably don’t need to say that heels and boots are going to be problematic.)
If you are currently concerned about your balance, please bring a walking stick or cane – the form can be modified to accommodate.
You will not likely be breaking a sweat, but you may want to have a bottle of water handy.
For Tai Chi Tours (Scheduled excursions):
Each tour is likely to have it’s own set of recommendations. Upon scheduling, I will be sure to provide all of the needed details.
There is a lot I could say about the benefits of practicing Tai Chi (and actually, once you have joined, you are not a practicer, but a “Player” – more on playing later…)
There is also a lot that has already been said and published so I will offer you the following resources to feed your curiosity about Tai Chi.
What is it like? Watch this example:
Curious to know more?
https://www.google.com/search?q=why practice tai chi
Allow me to summarize what you will find an the above search:
Health – Relaxation – Balance – Coordination – Strength – Healing – Vitality – Confidence – Emotional Steadiness – Stress Management – Self Defense – Reduced Pain – Improved Sleep – Increased Immunity – Lower Blood Pressure – …
Don’t believe all those benefits could be found in one simple exercise program? Search again.
While Tai Chi may not be very familiar to you, it is the daily practice of millions (250+) of humans around the world. It is not a speedy miracle cure for any condition – like the very slow nature of the movements of tai chi, the many beneficial results of tai chi will not be found at a drive through window – it takes time and patience and experience with your own body. But this really is the best reason to play tai chi in my opinion – it gives you experience with your own body in a way that few other approaches to exercise and wellness can.
This all seems especially true when practicing in beautiful locations such as the Boulder River trail:
A Beginning is a magical place, especially in Tai Chi. Almost all Tai Chi forms begin with a Commencing move. It is preparation for movement begun in stillness.
As I here inaugurate Tai Chi Tours .com – an idea I’ve been playing with and developing for several years now – I find I am both excited and nervous. Every idea is much easier while it is still only an idea in your head. Now I stretch into sharing the ideas, teaching what I’ve learned, guiding the way I’ve discovered.
My next step will be an experiment. (I have found that, indeed, every step is an experiment). I will begin teaching Tai Chi lessons in various parks and public settings around the area where I live – Snohomish County in WA state. I have designed these lessons to be a safe and easy introduction to Tai Chi – and in part – to human movement.