Most people are fairly familiar with Tai Chi as a low-impact, healthy exercise, and meditative martial art form. Qigong is tai chi distilled to its essence. It’s an excellent way for seniors and anyone recovering from an illness or injury to get exercise: it improves balance, strength, flexibility, and more without straining the joints. It’s also a practice that can help your body make periodic adjustments and realignments—just as you would with a musical instrument or vehicle. In Tai Chi and qigong, this is accomplished with a practice called a tuning.
So, what, exactly is a Tai Chi tuning? In short, it’s a way of connecting to the natural world and keeping your Qi or energy in balance by helping your body become more in tune with seasonal changes. In the early stages of Chinese medicine, there wasn’t much technology—such as electricity or indoor temperature control—for offsetting the weather in each season. The thought in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) was that rather than fighting against nature, people should align their minds and bodies with its patterns.
Part of Chinese philosophy is a five-element framework on which feng shui, the martial arts, and the I Ching are based. Each of the elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) is associated with a season as well as with specific body parts, physical sensations, emotions, tastes, times of day, and cardinal directions. Each seasonal tuning guides participants through Tai Chi and Qigong routines related to the season’s element and other qualities. It’s a great way to adjust the mind and body to changes during the year.
If you’d like to try Tai Chi tuning join us for the free upcoming Lion Dance tuning for summer as we get in touch with the Fire element. Fire is about love and joy and the warmth of the human connection, which we need more than ever in this social distancing time.
In summer plants come into full bloom. So do human beings when we laugh together
and feel equal and loved. We mature and become able to fully manifest ourselves.
What brings out your joy to move and love to dance?
How long do you need to allow your true being to shine?
What brings out your laughter?
Give the qigong a chance and you will succeed.
Fire always goes to the highest manifestation it can reach.
Let it open you up as it may for others in the Tuning.
There are over 200 TCF-affiliated instructors teaching Tai Chi classes in 30 cities around the world. Find a class in your area, become a member, and support TCF in making the world a healthier and more mindful place today.
By External Affairs Committee, Tai Chi Foundation