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Tai Chi: Entering a Meditative State

Tai chi is a Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and health benefits. Tai chi expert Barry Brownstein demonstrates how to prepare for this practice by entering the meditative state. Follow along and see how the practice of tai chi is based around this vital preparatory step.

What’s next? Try the Upward and Downward Movement.

Music: “Misty Mountain Valley” by George Bolger |

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Video Transcript: Tai Chi – Entering a Meditative State

My name’s Barry Brownstein and this is Jason Webster and we’re going to show you some tai chi. The first step to doing tai chi is to enter a meditative state because tai chi is meditative movement. When we do tai chi exercise, we do it from this state. So step one is to get into a meditative state – a tai chi meditative state, so you can do tai chi meditative movement. Don’t skip this step. Just dancing will be dancing, but dancing in the chi state will be tai chi. The first thing to do is align yourself internally and externally. First, hang from your crown point, grab some hair if you have it, and pull up. Straighten your spine, align yourself to heaven. That’s yang energy. Put your hands down in front of your lower abdomen, without touching the fabric. Feet are planted into the earth with your knees bent to some degree. You can bend them a little or bend them a lot. And that’s your yin energy, that’s earth energy. So at the same time you have heaven energy and earth energy, yin and yang, in the middle is your lower abdomen. That’s the middle of that yin yang symbol.
You have your crown point to the sky, and you can tuck your chin slightly and push from the back upward to elevate your spirit to heaven. Your root into the earth, knees bent to some degree, hands in front of your lower abdomen, like so. Next, your eyes are going to gaze into infinity. That means you imagine that you can look forever and ever and ever. You’re going to squint a little bit, gazing into infinity and imagining that you can see the air all around you. While gazing into infinity, you listen inwardly. So mentally listen to your inhale and mentally listen to your exhale. Next, your tongue touches the roof of your mouth, just behind your top teeth. Next, you’re going to breathe in and out of your belly. So use your imagination, imagine air going in your nose all the way down to the bottom of your torso when you breathe in; and when you breathe out, coming back out your torso, out your nose. And you continue to make that pathway for your air, so that it’s called “breathing into your belly”. Your breath should be like yin and yang, inhale and exhale, equal but opposite. And you can tell because you’re listening inwardly as you breathe. Take your time inhaling. Take your time exhaling.
Sometimes this is what your tai chi practice will be completely. 10, 20, 30 minutes of standing, but that’s not doing nothing, that’s doing a lot. That’s helping the mind and body to settle in harmony. If you can get your body and mind moving at the same pace, the mind will relax and the chi will flow freely.