With an increasing awareness of the value of philosophies more commonly associated with eastern religions, there has also been a rise in the popularity of the exercises and movements associated with them. Qigong, Tai Chi and Yoga are now practised regularly in western countries, and their benefits, along with meditation, have now become well-documented.
Often associated with the slowing-down of body and mind, Tai Chi is sometimes described as a moving meditation. Tai chi itself is said to have been created by a Taoist monk, Zhang Sanfeng, in China at some time between the 11th and 14th centuries, when he developed a system he named taiji (Tai Chi).
Like Qigong, Tai Chi was originally a martial art that is now performed for its physical, as well as spiritual benefits. It is sometimes referred to as ‘internal Kung Fu’. As a practice, Tai Chi has been shown to reduce stress; increase flexibility and balance; improve general mobility and aid holistic health and fitness. The movements themselves are slow and measured, often practised in sequence, and produce a balletic beauty that is less often seen in a series of yoga moves, for example.
The name Tai Chi translates as “supreme ultimate”. Seen from a spiritual perspective, this describes the sheer vastness of the universe and our connection to it, each and every one... The yin and yang elements of the practice work harmoniously together to reflect this in our own daily lives.
Tai Chi at the School of Meditation is currently led by our resident expert, Colin Irving, who has been practicing the ‘White Crane’ sequence of movements daily for years. Most commonly referred to as the 'Shuang Yang', this is the soft style of tai chi that trains your body to be elastic and supple, yet strong and grounded. It also teaches the practitioner to focus on relaxation and use correct breath work.
Over July and August, we are offering weekly sessions in our beautiful garden here at the School, weather permitting. Those who follow our meditation technique will find it a helpful addition, while those do not meditate will experience the stillness in action that is at the core of meditation.
With no previous experience required, it offers a wonderful way to meet like-minded new friends, as well as getting bodies moving, improving strength, fitness, flexibility and presence of mind. The sessions take place every Saturday morning at 11am. Donations are welcome and will be used to invest in the work of the School of Meditation, a registered charity. Spaces can be reserved in advance on the following link: https://schoolofmeditation.org/learn-to-meditate/. We hope to see you there.