We live in a world where many people would rather opt for a pharmaceutical treatment, or even cosmetic or prosthetic surgery, than to live a life of healthful disease prevention. Even those who do physical exercise are so often focused on running hard and lifting heavy that they can barely walk by the time they’re 50.
Yet, there are many simple, low impact physical practices that are healthful and positively energetic which help us to maintain strength of mind and body; and when we make them part of our lifestyle, we generally find that we don’t have those health problems arise.
The Benefits of Tai Chi
“Tai Chi is a health technology evolved over thousands of years of research in China, and are now growing in popularity worldwide. They are used in hospitals, businesses, prisons, schools and other institutions. They have been shown in research to reduce anxiety, depression and chronic pain conditions. They boost the immune system, improve respiratory function, burn calories, dramatically improve balance, provide cardiovascular benefit, provide powerful stress management tools, slow aspects of the aging process and lift spirits.” ~
Tai Chi is a powerful ancient practice that keeps the body healthy and strong, and yet most anyone can do it, regardless of existing physical conditions or limitations. There really is no other practice quite like it; it is unlike anything and yet compliments everything.
The long forms of Tai Chi cleanse your whole energy field. It is an exercise in grounding to the Earth, and in doing so it increases your negative ion charge. It does not increase your negativity of course, but increases the grounded negative charge within your energetic being. When we are grounded, the harmful energies (positively charged ionization, which creates anti-oxidation in the body) that hinder us and others do not connect with us, just like grounding helps to prevent against electrical charges/shocks. It is quite simple and yet tremendously profound.
Although known as the gentlest of the martial arts, in Tai Chi (for example, the Wu form of Tai Chi that I practice) there are also movements that involve stomping the feet and numerous movements involving brushing the knee, toes, arms, hands and head, both literally and energetically.
Learning the long form of Tai Chi is extremely rewarding, and is so because it is challenging. Tai Chi is healthful, it is meditative and medicating, strengthening and relaxing. It feels like ‘home’.
The most fundamental benefit of Tai Chi, though, is that it helps to integrate the mind, spirit and body. Perhaps that sounds too esoteric, but it’s true. From a physical perspective, learning complicated yet flowing movements enables us to develop a new intimacy with our bodies, and to later move in more refined manners. However the power of Tai Chi to develop the power of the mind and spirit is found in heighten intuitive awareness.
As a long time practitioner, it really is amazing how many layers there are to Tai Chi. I like to compare it to a deep well where the deeper you go, the more layers and substance you find.
One of the many wonderful concepts in Tai Chi is the old saying, ‘Tai Chi makes the weak strong and the strong gentle.’ I would add that Tai Chi makes the strong and the gentle alike intuitively intelligent. As you refine the postures, the timing, and the flow of your movements, your brain literally grows. Dendrites or the connections between synapses in the brain grow and expand and new connections are made within the brain. This results in expanded awareness (consciousness) as well as improved memory and thinking.
The Benefits of Bone Tapping
One of the simplest healing arts – a primal uncle of Tai Chi as I was taught – is called bone tapping. In my experience, this practice is so primal and natural that it is easily embraced by children and ‘masters’ alike.
Bone tapping is about healing yourself using your own touch. The basic premise is that, by tapping vigorously close to the bones using any part of your hands and fists, vibrations are sent far and deep into the body, eliminating tension and inflammation (which can lead to all sorts of distress and disease), allowing the body to self-correct according to its natural intelligence.
The bone tapping procedure is both an important healing and grounding tool. Beside the more immediate benefits to the physical body, such as reducing inflammation, bone tapping (like Tai Chi) fosters a sense of body consciousness that keeps us connected to the source energy of our Earth mother ~ a vital element of energetic and physical healing.
The following is one method of bone tapping that anyone can do, at any time.
Begin with your calves and shins, the harder the better, but keep it reasonable. You can exhale out the taps throughout the series, and particularly as you begin tapping the abdomen. Breathe out the tension, do not tense up. Hit the sides of the calves, the backs and even knock on the shins and/or rub them downward. Hitting the back of the knees is said to stop varicose vein formation. Even though it’s called bone tapping, one primarily taps next to the bones. Continue up, including the thighs and legs all over. Proceed to the coccyx and the lower back, then the front equivalent and continue upwards tapping chest, back, shoulders, arms, neck, chin and head (as hard as it can take) all the way to the crown of our head. Then – and this is considered a moderate secret – end by tapping the softest bones of our body, the clavicles or collar bones.
The Heart Chakra Coach provides instructions and visual chart to help you understand more about tapping to remove energetic blockages. There are also instructional DVDs you can use at home such as The Tapping Solution.
Develop Your Body’s Sensitivity
Currently I live in Maine and the infestation of parasites here is the worst I have ever seen. I found myself thinking about how these healing practices are applicable to the art of battling energetic intrusions of all kinds.
Every Tai Chi movement has meditative, healing, martial, intuitive and energetic applications – it is all about literally and energetically connecting to our center and cleansing ourselves of external attachments. Therefore, I believe, Tai Chi offers application in identifying and preventing against all the nasty little infection vectors that can invade our being on both physical and non-physical levels— whether it is chronic disease, chronic bullying, or spiritual, mental and physical parasites.
There is an old expression from the Tai Chi classics which embodies such broad applicability: “Be so sensitive that you feel the tiniest mosquito land on you.”
In our overtly-masculine culture today we tend to dismiss sensitivity as a weakness. But in fact, it is only when we’re sensitive to the subtle changes in our physical and non-physical worlds that we realize what is actually going on. If our consciousness is dulled and our sensitivities closed, we won’t notice the mosquito or tick that lands on our body. We won’t realize the intrusion of energetic or psychic attackon our being, and we don’t take action to guard against any dis-ease we may feel until it has well and truly begun to manifest.
Whether the intruders are little or large, physical or spiritual, we are more capable of defending against them when we are sensitive and conscious of their intrusion into our being. So be sensitive! Develop your sensitivity. By adopting practices such as Tai Chi and bone tapping into your daily routine, you not only improve your physical health and Earth-connection, and increase your sensitivity and therefore empower yourself to take control of your body, emotions, thoughts, your experience your life.
By Ethan Indigo Smith