“Why should I learn tai chi?” It’s a question I’m often asked.
I answer, “For me, there’s nothing like a few minutes of tai chi to help me slow down, relax, center myself, and let go of worries and random thoughts.”
Relax and breathe. While this guidance would make sense in most of life’s moments, it was particularly valuable to me as I took my first steps in tai chi last April. The world had completely shut down from COVID; I had just left my secure job in corporate brand management, and my savings were crumbling as the stock market was tumbling. Relax and breathe.
Morning light awakening to stillness.
It’s a moment of perpetual grace. We’ll be forever inside it for the rest of our lives.
The dantian grounds me, stabilizes me,
a keeper of expressions I never knew I possessed.
Relax. Breathe. Connect to heaven and earth. Move from my center. Breathe. Relax.
My friend likes tai chi because it is exercise that doesn’t hurt.
Single whip sinks down stretches my back, bringing my dantian closer to the earth.
On 13 October 2020, I finished walking the South West Coast Path (SWCP), a journey of 630 miles that I’d started on 4 May 2016. The SWCP is the longest and finest of Britain’s National Trails, starting at Minehead in Somerset, going along the north coast of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, around Lands End and along the south coast of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, finishing at Poole. It took me 67 walking days, which averaged out at 9.4 miles per day. Not long distances, but quite enough for that sort of terrain where you are continually going up and down.
Spring is the season of the wood element, a season of birth, new growth and hope. The lavender crocuses and ruffled edges of daffodils are opening their delicate lips to the light; the slender, furry poppy stems and buds are emerging, preparing to explode into crepe papery reds and oranges. You may be graced by the bluebirds, wrens, yellow-breasted songbirds, woodpeckers, or ruby-throated hummingbirds depending upon your locale.
I have been on the path as an actor-singer all my life, and my field of interest and investigation has been singing. Singing demands a highly attuned and developed listening ability, without which you cannot reach the level of a virtuoso, someone who has mastery over her voice, especially when performing for a live audience or under stress. I have found that listening, a more advanced skill than hearing, must be developed with one’s relaxed will or awareness.
Over the last 5 or 6 years I've participated in the occasional introductory tai chi class when teachers from the School of Tai Chi Chuan in Spokane have volunteered to support our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Cancer Survivor Wellness Program. Their offerings have been well received by our program participants and I've continually been surprised by the impact that individuals have experienced even in a single session. While I enjoyed the classes, I never really "got it".
South China Morning Post
18 December 2020
Tai chi, a centuries-old Chinese martial art and an internationally popular form of exercise, has been added to UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.
For more than 10 years (its initial application was rejected in 2008) China has been trying to have tai chi – also known as taijiquan – recognised officially by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
My first acting teacher in a conservatory setting was an elegant Jamaican man named Cedric Scott. My acting partner and I had just finished presenting a scene from Antigone that we’d been working on for a number of weeks, and I was feeling pretty good about myself. I leaned forward in my chair to receive his comments (his style of critique was brutally frank).
This ancient practice, which consists of sequences of fluid movements, can improve your balance and help you prevent falls.
Tai chi is a form of gentle exercise that experts say can help improve your mood, reduce your stress level, and help keep your heart healthy. It can also benefit your bones.