( Taijiquan | Qigong )
– Arts in Rejuvenation & Qi Cultivation –
WHAT IS CHI KUNG?
Chi Kung (more appropriately written as Qi Gong – see What is Pin Yin?) is an ancient Chinese exercise treasured for its rejuvenating principles. ‘Chi Kung’ (pronounced chee gong), emphasizes mental focus, deep breathing, still meditation and body movement that will promote mental clarity, coordination, self-cultivation, and improve chi circulation and health.
Chi (more appropriately written as Qi and pronounced – ‘Chee’) translates into energy or bio-electricity and Kung means ‘time and effort’ implying the study of energy. Chi is considered a vital life force that courses through specific pathways throughout the body. Yin-Yang theory, a method of identifying opposing forces and bringing them into harmonious transition is fundamental to Chi Kung.
WHAT IS TAI CHI?
Tai Chi Ch’uan (more appropriately written as Tai Ji Quan and pronounced – ‘Tai Jee Chuen’) is a form of Chi Kung or energy study. Tai Chi Ch’uan translates as Grand Ultimate Fist – a reference to it’s Chinese martial arts origins. In modern times many people throughout the world now practice the slow moving and mindful style of Tai Chi as a stimulating and health benefiting form of exercise.
TAI CHI PROMOTES stress relief, mental tranquility, physical fitness, correct posture, balance, and coordination and improves Blood and Chi circulation.
ORIGINS OF TAI CHI CH’UAN
Tai Chi originates in China. One legendary “founder” is considered to be Chang San Feng who lived from about 1391 to 1459 AD. He was a monk in the Wu Tang monastery. He combined Taoist chi kung principles, yin- yang philosophy, I Ching theory and kung fu martial arts to create Tai Chi Ch’uan. However many dispute the actual existence of Chang San Feng.
Credit is mostly given to the renowned Chen village as the birthplace of Tai Chi. There are documents that can trace the existence of Tai Chi in Chen village all the way back to Chen Wang Ting in the late 1500’s to early 1600’s.
There are five popular styles of Tai Chi practiced today, all unique in method and appearance – Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu Yuxiang, Sun. The style that all current styles from which Tai Chi was developed is known as the Chen Style. The precious knowledge of this ancient practice was kept secret and solely practiced within the Chen family. Yang Luchan (1800-1873), a member of the Yang family was allowed to study the Chen style. The exception of allowing an outsider to learn the inner secrets of the Chen style was designed to challenge and raise the practice of this art form to higher levels. Yang Luchan modified the Chen style thereby developing the Yang style, which is the most common traditional style of Tai Chi Ch’uan practiced today.
When there is pain, there is no free flow of Chi. When there is free flow of Chi there is no pain. In Chinese Medicine one becomes ill when the flow of chi through the body is obstructed. Tai Chi and acupuncture are two common methods of freeing the flow of chi. When the circulation of Chi and Blood are obstructed pain sets in. Chronic obstruction can lead to deeper disorders. Stress alone is enough to obstruct circulation and is often overlooked as a source of disease. Tai Chi and Chi Kung applied as a means of prevention or rehabilitation can help maintain good circulation, promote relaxation, strengthen the body, increase mental clarity & relieve stress through the cultivation of chi.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Tai Chi is likened to a moving meditation with slow, mindful movements, proper breathing, and posture to facilitate a smooth flow of Chi. The posture of Yang-style Tai Chi Ch’uan can be practiced at different levels of difficulty (high-posture, middle-posture and low-posture) to accommodate all ages and various abilities.
As a Tai Chi & Chi Kung instructor Dr. Carlow’s mission is to give instruction on the Yang style Tai Chi Ch’uan form with complementary Chi Kung exercises that can be tailored to accommodate individual health concerns and promote health and well-being.
A BEGINNING – THE DAN TIAN
The Dan Tian is an energy center. In practicing Tai Chi, the mind is focused on the Dan Tian to strengthen the internal core. The Dan Tian is located approximately 1.5 inches below the navel and between the front and backside of the abdomen. As a meditation to strengthen your awareness of the Dan Tian and promote relaxation lie face up placing your hands palm-down, one hand over the other on the abdomen directly over the Dan Tian. Concentrate on the Dan Tian. Don’t allow your mind to wander. Breathe calmly and deeply allowing your abdomen to rise and fall. Practicing this for 20 minutes a day is a good start for a new student of Tai Chi.
Christopher Carlow, a Doctor of Acupuncture, received his Masters Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at Tai Hsuan College in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is certified as a Diplomat of Acupuncture by the National Certification Commission For Acupuncture And Oriental Medicine and is licensed by the state of Rhode Island. Chris believes healthcare needs a holistic and alternative approach that promotes natural healing without dangerous side effects. This nurturing approach to healing has the potential to empower the patient with a higher level of self-awareness promoting wellness for a healthy mind, body and spirit. As a native Rhode Islander, Chris is eager to connect with his hometown community through the practice of this wonderful healing art known as Tai Chi.
Chris has been studying various forms of Taijiquan and Qigong extensively for more than twelve years. These art forms have been the founding principles that have guided his decision to become an acupuncturist and herbalist. In addition, the education obtained at Tai Hsuan College is comprised of more than 2,500 hours of training in Chinese Medicine, Treatment and Needling Technique, Herbology, Clinical Internship, Taoist Medicine, and Biomedical Clinical Sciences.
RESEARCH LINKS :
Tai Chi Each Day Keeps Shingles Away “Tai chi boosts shingles immunity in elderly people, new research shows.” WebMD Medical News 22 Sept. 2003
“Tai chi, a traditional Chinese martial art, may give older adults’ immune system a boost.” “That news comes from experts at UCLA and the University of California, San Diego.” WebMD 29 Mar. 2007
Tai Chi Boosts Immunity To Shingles Virus In Older Adults, NIH-Sponsored Study Reports Life Science News 8 Apr. 2007