Recently, a friend of mine invited me to check out a Tai Chi class here in Asheville. Tai chi has fascinated me for quite a while. It's fluid movements that speak of some hidden knowledge practiced my Masters of ages gone by. It has represented to me a way of being in tune with nature with respect and compassion for all, especially when used as a martial arts form. Today, it is widely hailed as a gentle yet powerful way to heal your mind, body and spirit.
So, this morning I went to my first Tai Chi class! My teacher Liz is very welcoming and warmly welcomed us to the class. The class was held inside a room with windows all around overlooking the park, which was lovely. We began with some warm up exercises with breathing in focus. And the rest of the class we learned the first part of a movement called Commencement. It was really great to follow her as she repeatedly showed us every segment of the movement. Already in the first few minutes, I started feeling a tingling between my palms. This is a pleasant sensation, soothing and healing. Liz used many analogies to help us visualize our movements such as swimming through pudding or moving a ball. What was remarkable is that throughout the whole movement, all joints are kept bent, both in the legs and in the arms. All of these movements are meant to build strength, flexibility and vitality in the entire body.
After I got home, I did some basic research on Tai Chi and learnt that this ancient Chinese art form has a foundation in the philosophies of Tao and Confucius. It's basis is the interplay of the yin and yang energy and the merging of the energy in to one universal life force, chi. In fact, the Taijitu symbol also known as the ying-yang symbol of interlocking curves with dots at the center of each fold, is also the symbol for Tai chi from the famous book I Ching.
As someone who loves meditation, Tai chi is really meditation in motion and I enjoyed every moment of it. At the end of the session, I was filled with lightness, joy and felt energized for the day. I am going back next week and if you are in Asheville area, come to Aston Park on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 for Tai Chi with Liz.