May 23, 2024


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Mindful Meditation And Tai Chi: A Match Made In Heaven

Mindful Meditation And Tai Chi: A Match Made In Heaven

Both mindful meditation and Tai Chi are wonderful practices based on ancient Asian practices that have been used in healing for thousands of years.

Western medicine takes a very different view of health care than Asian culture. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that everybody has a qi (chee) or energy that flows throughout it, and when the qi is blocked or not flowing freely the body suffers “dis-ease.”

 In TCM, prevention of “dis-ease” is key through regular practice of healing that support the flow of the qi. Western medicine takes a different approach to health care, most of which is based on treating symptoms once disease has occurred that typically involves pharmaceutical medications, like the seriously overprescribed psychotropic meds for various mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Today, Western doctors are learning and accepting that TCM and its principles and healing methods can be of great benefit to anyone’s overall health and wellness.

Mindfulness meditation and Tai Chi are two such Asian practices that have been used in Eastern culture for thousands of years, and are enjoying immense popularity in the modern world in supporting health and well-being, making them viable and favorable techniques to prevent “dis-ease” or as complementary therapies to existing medial conditions.

These two techniques are based on practiced breathing and looking “inward” through meditation, which in turn, lead to an emphasis of disease prevention and the mind-body connection that has been shown in many studies to have serious benefits for the mind, body, and spirit.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is the perfect mind-body exercise. You go through a series of fluid meditative movement that along with breathing brings about a wealth of health benefits. The movements are based on Tai Chi as a martial art, but in this case, they are performed slowly in a meditative fashion, mainly because such movement is conducive to healing and overall wellness.

It has been found that Tai Chi is an excellent healing art that helps mental illnesses, heart disease, arthritic and fibromyalgia pain, digestion, stress, just to name a few. 

The practice promotes the flow of the qi. The meditative and breathing element allows one to calm the mind and illicit the relaxation response that benefits one long after a particular practice session is over.

Mindful Meditation

For people who want an added benefit, the use of mindful meditation can help along with Tai Chi to manage negative feelings and increase the flow of qi energy. 

Mindful meditation is often done sitting in a comfortable chair or on the floor with your feet on the ground in order to ground your body. Like Tai Chi, you need to strongly focus on the in and out of your breath, turning your mind inward to relax all of you muscles in a progressive fashion. 

Mindfulness meditation is unique in that it is not directed toward changing who we are; instead, it focuses on gaining awareness of our own essential reality in each and every moment. One term to describe it is “unconditionally present,” or to remain in the moment no matter what is happening.

Buddha’s teachings focused on the belief that the source of all suffering is a lack of acceptance or our constant desires and attempts to escape from our own reality. Sitting in mindfulness allows the opportunity to be present within that reality and who we really are, and this allows us to become aware of our own wisdom and to stop dwelling in our suffering that stems directly from trying to escape and deny pain and discomfort that is an inevitable part of life.

The Perfect Match

Both practices yield calm of mind and enlightenment and while either Tai Chi or meditation is effective alone, you can maximize your mind-body connection and affect healing by doing both practices. 

The two complement each other perfectly and by practicing each one several times per week you will improve your ability to cope with life, stress, and your overall wellness and health.

For example, many people practice Tai Chi in the morning as a way of increasing flexibility and balancing the yin and yang energies within the body. You will be more refreshed in the morning after doing Tai Chi and can get on with the rest of your day with a more peaceful state of mind.

Meditation can be practiced any time of the day. Because it involves no specific movement, you can practice meditation behind your desk at work, on the bus, or at night before getting ready for bed.  It can take as little as 15 minutes of meditation to calm your blood pressure, heart rate, and mind and to focus on acceptance of the moment. 

Tai Chi and meditation are both similar and complementary one another. Modern Chinese people often turn to these practices in order to manage qi energy, and to prevent or control disease.  Westerners have caught on to these ancient principles and it is estimated that more than 15 million people practice meditation in the US alone to enjoy its positive effect on health, wellbeing, and happiness. 

About the author: Richard Hackworth is a full-time professional martial arts, Tai Chi Instructor and Life Coach in Ocoee, Florida who helps people restore their health and improve all aspects of their lives. He is the U.S. Director for the World Martial Arts Congress and was the first American to become certified as a teacher of the Yang Sheng (Healthy Life) Tai Chi system by graduating from the Masters Course in Beijing, China.