Friday, June 1, 2012

A Simple Tai Chi Technique to Calm the Mind


One of the signature movements of Sun style tai chi is the open and close hands. On the surface, it is just a simple movement of the hands. Start by holding your hands in front of you, about chest height or head height, as if you were holding a ball. Hold your hands about 6 or 8 inches apart. Slowly separate your hands to about shoulder width. Slowly bring your hands back in to the starting position.
That's it. Or is it? Let's look a little deeper.
Find Your Qi
This is an exercise to help you become aware of your qi. First, stand in wuji. Raise your hands in front of you at a comfortable height. Cross your arms at the wrist with the insides together. Hold the inside of your wrists near each other, about an inch or so apart but not touching. Slowly move your wrists past each other in a small circle without touching. Repeat about 10 or 15 times. Focus on the feeling between your wrists. You may or may not feel anything.
Next, hold your hands close together with the palms facing each other but not touching. Slowly move your hands past each other in a small circle without touching. Repeat about 10 or 20 times. Focus on the feeling between your palms. Many people start to feel a warmth or tingling or pins and needles while this is happening. This is your qi.
Open and Close Hands in Depth
Learn to manipulate the qi that you feel between your hands. Start by holding your hands in front of you, about chest height or head height, as if you were holding a ball. Hold your hands about 6 or 8 inches apart. Feel the qi between your hands. Inhale slowly while you move your hands apart (open) to about shoulder width. Concentrate and feel the air moving through your nose and filling your lungs. It may feel like there is resistance to movement. It can feel like it takes force to separate your hands.
Slowly bring your hands back in (close) to the starting position. Exhale slowly while you move your hands together to the starting position. Concentrate and feel the air moving through your nose and emptying your lungs. It may feel like there is resistance to movement. It can feel like it takes force to push your hands back together.
Calm the Mind
Open and Close Hands is very effective at helping with relaxation and calming. Whenever you feel stressed, take a moment to practice open and close. Take slow, gentle breaths and open and close your hands. You will find that your stress level will immediately be reduced.
© 2012 Eric Borreson