Back-to-school Checklist for Your Tai Chi or Qigong Classes
Aug 28, 2010 - As for the school kids, a back-to-school checklist will help you become better prepared for the upcoming new learning session, whether you will just start to learn Tai Chi or Qigong or resume the study after the summer break. Even if you have been taking Tai Chi or Qigong classes through the summer, there is an item in the list showing you how to make seasonal adjustment for the classes in the fall.
Prepare Your Seasonal Qi for Autumn
In the philosophy of Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM), Qi is seasonal. For example, in summer, Qi is on the Yang side, ruled by the Fire element and related to the Heart, while in autumn, Qi is on the Yin side, governed by the Metal element, and related to the Lung and the intestine.
In the summer, your mind and body may enjoy more external and Yang energies: warm temperature, sunshine, travelling, a lot of outdoor activities, etc.
With the fall approaching, however, you need to direct your Qi inward for more self-reflection and also to pay special attention to the two cleansing organs, the Lung and the intestine. The Lung is responsible for mental cleansing: to let go of the thoughts of the past, whether it is some bad feeling or the indulgency over the summer-related funs that are slipping away, and to perform deep reflection of how you will embrace the coming winter and spring. The intestine gets rid of the waste from your body and strengthens your physical energy.
Because of this seasonal shifting of Qi, you will need to adjust your Tai Chi and Qigong practice accordingly for the coming new learning session.
By doing this, you will be harmonizing yourself with the rules of the nature, exploiting those characteristics of autumn's with your practice, and consequently enjoying the benefits that the nature has to offer to the fullest.
Have an Open Mind
You may be skeptical of what you can really get from learning Tai Chi or Qigong, how much more you will learn when returning to the same teacher's classes, or how you may get along with the students whom you will first meet in this new learning session.
No matter what kind of skepticism or preconception you may have, unload the psychological baggage before the new session starts.
Keep in mind that when you practice Tai Chi or Qigong in a group, you will receive the augmented Qi from the group and the augmented Qi is more powerful than your individual energy. You want to help drive that augmented Qi to the positive direction so that everyone in the group gets strengthened, not weakened. To do that, you will need to have an empty mind that is ready to receive what you will be taught without prejudice (but feel free to ask your instructor questions if something does not make sense to you). You will also need to be open-minded to everyone in the group, even if some of them may have different learning style or pace from yours. The harmony in the group will bring out the best of the augmented Qi.
Persistence and Commitment
As human beings, we all tend to desire instant results from any effort we made. While many people did feel some differences in their body or mind immediately after starting to practice Tai Chi or Qigong, the optimal effects may require more persistence and longer commitment from the practitioners. In fact, most Tai Chi or Qigong programs tested in medical research last at least 8 weeks, and their participating students received instruction once or twice a week and also practiced at home. So, prepare yourself with a mindset of being persistent and staying committed over the course of this session.
(Re)Set Your Daily Rituals
Practicing Tai Chi or Qigong with a full stomach may hinder your ability of concentrating or interfere with the abdominal breathing, so plan your meal time accordingly, especially on those days when you have classes.
For the days on which you don't have a class, try set aside at least 15 minutes each day for self-practice.
Comfortable Clothing and Shoes
Unlike many other exercises, you do not have to wear any special clothes or shoes to do Tai Chi or Qigong. You do need to wear loose clothes that allow the flow of your Qi and won't restrict your range of motion.
Flat or thin soled shoes are also necessary as they can help support your balance.
If you prefer practicing in bare feet, you may want to have a second thought. You will not only lose the better support that a pair of shoes can provide but also expose your feet to cold, which may interfere with the flow of your Qi.