“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change”

During my years of Tai Chi study and practise my teacher would often say ‘You must relax’. I knew that in order to really execute the postures I needed to let go, relax, and let the energy flow. One of my first lessons I learned was the harder you try to hold on to something in life the more difficult it becomes.

Often people don’t recognise what a really relaxed state in their own bodies feels like. They will say that they are relaxed and yet show obvious tension in their bodies because this is the state of being they have become used to.

Previous to starting my Tai Chi studies I was aware that periods of quiet and meditation were beneficial for my mind and body. I also knew that life is about movement and facing up to your self in a busy and sometimes complex world. After practising Tai Chi for a while I came to realise that this ‘meditation in movement’ offered me just this – a gentle, slow safe way of facing up to myself, combined with body movement and relaxation. I found that Tai Chi’s entire body experience commanded relaxation and a clear focussed mind. Through deep breathing, proper posture and muscle relaxation, the exercise was calming and focussed on connecting with my body, while stress and tension became less.

The intention of Tai Chi is to allow one the opportunity to become more aware of the natural laws that govern change. Not just changes in the body as affects physical movement, but also principles of change and movement that govern every aspect of our lives and the world around us.

Tai Chi is a low impact, weight bearing, and aerobic, yet relaxing exercise. It began as a Martial Art, and as it developed it took on the purpose of enhancing physical, mental and spiritual health. It involves slow, gentle movements, deep breathing and a ‘moving meditation’. It has been shown to improve the flow of energy through the body leading to a range of benefits, which include improved strength, conditioning, coordination, flexibility, enhanced sleep, and a greater awareness, calmness and overall sense of well being.

Stuart’s classes are held every Tuesday evening at Isleworth Town Hall, from 7-8.30 p.m. The classes are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The syllabus includes Yang Style Forms, Chi Energy Flow, Chi Kung and Breathing Techniques.

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