Last Saturday’s Qi Gong and Tai Chi class in High Park was amazing. Cherry blossoms, glorious weather, a day to truly remember. Towards the end of class, a new student asked me to explain how Qi Gong and Tai Chi can be applied to everyday living. Beyond the movement and the breath and our connection with our environment, how do we apply these techniques to life as we live it?
Good question. It’s important that we challenge these theories so we can personally discover how the teachings can improve our quality of life.
The answer lies in our intent and how we reinforce it. The teachings, physically and psychologically demanding, require that we adhere to a state where mind and body are working together. Beyond martial arts and meridian theory, training the mind to observe the body will teach us how to become more sensitive and thus more adaptable to stressors.
Tai Chi form work is useful and Qi Gong theory can be exciting, but beyond the classroom, these concepts are just tools. We use them as metaphors and analogies for life as a whole.
In the basic sense, breathing techniques allow us to maintain body awareness. People talk of this and it seems obvious enough, but the secret is in the simplicity. Breath awareness allows us to maintain an understanding of the body as we move and function within our environment. Mental/emotional triggers become more obvious and, as we develop, we can adjust from subconscious (auto-pilot) reactions to reinforcing more conscious based decisions.
The idea is to break away from seeing these practices as belonging to specific and/or limited categories of your day. Fitness, meditation and even health, these concepts are a life practice. They can be applied to each and every aspect of your daily life. So the challenge is to see them as such. Be creative with your interpretations and base your intent on your physical gut reaction, not your intellect.