Tai Chi Chih: Finding Your Inner Balance

tai chiIf you think that slow, controlled movements will have no effect on your mind and body, think again!  Successful and beneficial exercises are not just made up of intense cardio or heavy lifting – there are other ways to achieve an open mind and strong heart.  That said, we are going to introduce you to the joy that is Tai Chi Chih.  When we say “joy”, we mean that Tai Chi Chih will help you create a balance in your life through targeting our physical and mental awareness and balance.  So the next time you see some people at the park practicing some fluid and controlled exercises, do not just run past them – join them, and see the wonderful benefits that Tai Chi Chih has to offer!

Tai Chi Chih Vocabulary

Before we get more into Tai Chi Chih’s movements, let’s briefly go over some key points of this exercise and overall movement that you should be familiar with.

Chi:  You will hear this a lot when referencing things like Tai Chi or Taoism.  Chi is the Vital Force of energy that focuses on looking at your body as a source of energy.  Chi flows on the meridian channels of your body, and the best way to obtain your optimal energy is to focus on a healthy and balanced flow of your Chi.

Roots or Fruit?:  An interesting way to look at the balance and flow that Tai Chi Chih has to offer is to take the analogy of a tree.  You can spend your life trying to figure out how the tree works by looking at its roots, or, you can simply pick the fruit – which is a direct product of the tree.  Of course, choosing the move direct and easily accessible path seems most logical.

Yin and Yang:  Just like ying and yang, Tai Chi Chih strives to promote balance in one’s life.  Ying and yang represents opposing energies, such as: male or female, light and dark, or cold and hot.  Tai Chi Chih works to maintain the focus of circulating energy throughout your internal body as best as possible.

Tai Chi Chih Key Physical Points and Positions

tai chiWhen you start doing Tai Chi Chih, there are certain important points to focus on when controlling and balancing your body, mind, and spirit.  We are going to give you a little detail on each of them:

Flow and Continuity:  When you are practicing Tai Chi Chih, it is important to focus on moving your body freely without tension.  Imagine that your limbs are lose and everything is relaxed, and this will help you practice proper softness and continuity in your moves.  Continuity focuses on having a continuous motion and synchronized movement throughout your body.  If you happen feel any tension throughout your limbs or bones, simply repeat the mantra in your mind: “Let Go”.

Resting Position:  You will begin your Tai Chi Chih exercise and end in the resting position.  You may have seen this position already, as you will keep your heels close together with your feet and toes pointed outwards creating a “V” shape.  Once you are in this position, bend your knees and keep your palms facing downwards with your fingers spread apart.  Make sure that you remember to relax any tension or tightness in your body while breathing comfortably looking forward.  It is enterily up to you how long you want to stay in resting position, just make sure that you feel fully relaxed before you move on to your next movement.

Heels:  Your heel placement is very important in Tai Chi Chih.  To make sure that you create conintuous flow and movement with your positions, step with your heal using your less substantial leg.  Keep the rest of your weight on your leg that is planted firmly flat on the floor.  As you shift your eight, you should focus on maintaining a flow that is in sync with the movements of your arms.  You will eventually get a feel of this slow shift and movement balance with your heels.

Tan T’ien:  Pronounced “don tien”, the Tan T’ien focuses on the point 2 to 3 inches below your belly button at the center of your body.  This point references your energy center, where you should focus on allowing energy to flow in and out.  When you shift and move during Tai Chi Chih, focus on breathing and shifting your weight outwards from this area.

Soles:  In Tai Chi Chih, the soles of your feet refer to the bubbling spring.  Visualize the center and balance moving towards and away from the soles of your feet and dispersing themselves throughout your body.

Tai Chi Chih Movements

Now, let’s take a look at the various Tai Chi Chih movements that you can look forward to doing!

  • Rocking Motion
  • Bird Flaps its Wings
  • Around the Platter
  • Around the Platter Variation
  • Bass Drum
  • Daughter on the Mountaintop
  • Daughter in the valley
  • Carry the Ball to the Side
  • Push Pull
  • Pulling in the Energy
  • Pulling Taffy
  • Pulling Taffy – Anchor Variation
  • Pulling Taffy – Wrist Circles
  • Pulling Taffy – Perpetual Motion
  • Working the Pulley
  • Light at the Top of head: Light at the Temple
  • Joyous Breath
  • Six Healing Sounds
  • HO – Hoooo (Heart) Ho
  • HU – Huuu (spleen) Who
  • SZU – Tzuu (Liver) Sue
  • HSU – Shuu (Lungs) Shshsh
  • HSI- Shee (Three heaters) Shee
  • CHUI – Chuuee (kidneys) Chewee
  • Cosmic Consciousness Pose

What to Focus On

As you go through your Tai Chi Chih movements, remember to focus on doing these things:

  • Repetitions:  You will perform you Tai Chi Chih in a series of 9.  However, there is no real rule to this, and in the end you can just do as many as you feel your spirit and body is capable of.
  • Breathing:  Always make sure that your breathing is relaxed while practicing Tai Chi Chih.  Remember to breathe from your abdomen
  • Practice:  Your experience with Tai Chi Chih will deepen over time, and it is important to remember to practice your movements and repetitions consistently.

Find Your Balance

With all this knowledge, you should be ready to create some Chi and energy flow throughout your body.  We leave you with this course  to create your stepping stones to achieving your optimal balance of mind, body, and spiritual health!