So, Why Should You Practise?
Chief Instructor Brett Wagland
Tai Chi is different from many western forms of health and fitness. Its
training methods are based on Chinese philosophy, traditional Chinese
medicine, qigong (cultivation of energy and meditation) and martial
Many people do not understand how Tai Chi training affects the body and
mind. Recently, I was talking to some students after class. They
commented that they are all experiencing the benefits of relaxation,
improved flexibility, greater strength and deeper concentration. These
are good results but they could go much further if they simply practise
a little every day. I asked if they were practising regularly. Some
practised every second day, others only once or twice a week.
The rewards of this training are cumulative – the more you practise, the
more you benefit. It works on the mind and body in a holistic way. It
also affects the nervous system, the joints, sinews, muscles, organs and
qi (internal energy). This is where Tai Chi and other internal arts
(Xing Yi and Ba Gua) differ from running, swimming, aerobics and other
forms of physical training. These systems have evolved over thousands
of years and have absorbed the essence of Chinese culture. After
centuries of development, they have risen to the status of an art form.
Training the mind by focusing on movements improves concentration. An
untrained mind is unruly and easily distracted. It spins unrealistic
stories and is affected by everything around it. Regular practice stabilises the mind and develops self discipline. It helps to establish
an oasis of calm which allows us to restore balance to the nervous
system. We become emotionally balanced. Most people live on an
emotional roller coaster. Living this way creates problems with health
After a stressful day, just twenty minutes of the Hun Yuan Qigong will
relax the body, calm the mind and renew energy. Now that is good
value. The best way to find out if this is true is to try it for
yourself. Tai Chi masters always state that cultivation of qi requires
daily practice. They use the analogy of a balloon. If you leave it for
a few days, it will deflate a little. This is what happens to our
energy. Constant practice helps to build the qi. In Tai Chi, the more
you do, the more you feel. At first, you may not find it easy to
establish a regular routine. However, you know you always feel good and
refreshed after a practice session. Gradually, you feel stronger and
more peaceful. Eventually, you find you enjoy your daily training so
much that you would not want to do without it. It has then become a
positive, lasting influence in your life.
The Taoists and Buddhists believe that we live way below our full
potential. With consistent effort, we can realise more and more of this
potential. Training every day will develop the self discipline and
inner strength necessary to discover the treasures of Tai Chi. Similar
to cooking, driving or building, words are insufficient when it comes to
explaining a feeling or a particular way to perform a task. You can
only know through experience. There are also different levels of skill
and development. For example, there is a difference between driving
around town and driving in a car race. This is the same for Tai Chi.
Turning the waist and feeling the qi are only concepts at first. Once
you have done the practice and gained understanding, they will have real
significance for you and your life.
Enjoy your journey along the Tai Chi path.
Never give up on yourself!