Look above at my tagline: Work Less ~ Earn More ~ Live More.
And that allows me to Live More, which is my most important goal.
For me, a key part of living more is increasing my connection with my body and my mind, and exploring how my body/mind interacts with the rest of the world. And that’s why I’ve been a serious student of tai chi since 2004.
I’ve talked about how small, positive changes can make a big difference in your life. Now I’m sharing with you a large positive change I made ten years ago: my tai chi practice, which I do for at least an hour a day, and often more.
The Tai Chi System I Study
I began studying with Gene Burnett in Ashland, Oregon ten years ago. For many years it was a 75-minute drive from my house near Mount Shasta, so it required a major commitment. Fortunately, I moved to Ashland in 2012, and now it’s just a 15 minute walk. Gene was certified to teach tai chi and related arts by Seattle teacher Andy Dale who in turn was taught by tai chi master Tchoung Ta-Tchen and many other teachers.
Most people who study tai chi only learn a single slow form and some qi gong warm-up exercises. Our system is quite broad and includes:
- three qi gong sets
- a short slow form (10 minutes)
- a long slow form (60 minutes)
- martial applications of all movements
- a fast partner form with punches and kicks
- push-hands partner work
- study of bagua and hsing-i (sister arts of tai chi)
- weapons sets, both solo and partner (cane, broadsword, straight sword)
- standing meditation
Bandon, Oregon Tai Chi Workshop/Retreat
Every summer Andy Dale sets up three-day workshop where several teachers lead a variety of classes on the beach below the Sunset Motel in Bandon, Oregon. Bandon features sea stacks, tide pools, and a broad beach that stretches for miles — a perfect setting for tai chi.
How Tai Chi Benefits Me
Many scientific studies have documented various benefits of tai chi. Here’s how tai chi has helped me…
Tai chi has a strong focus on body alignment. Once I got serious about my practice, my nagging intermittent back problems disappeared. I also corrected how I walk, which has reduced stress on my ankles, knees, and hips.
In addition, I’m much more coordinated, so I’m less likely to fall, and that’s important, especially for me since I do a lot of off-trail hiking in the mountains.
Finally, tai chi emphasizes relaxation, and that’s allowed me to reduce tension throughout my body.
Practicing tai chi reduces my stress and mental chatter. It gets me out of my head and my monkey mind and into my body. I also almost always practice outdoors: that puts me in touch with the natural world, which is important to me.
I’m a Better, More Efficient Freelance Writer
And here’s why:
- I have better posture when I sit, which means far fewer aches and pains
- I have a clearer mind, so I focus better on my writing projects
- I use tai chi as a break from my writing, and I usually set a goal of writing a certain number of words or for a certain amount of time before I take my tai chi break
- I feel healthier and happier, and both are crucial for high productivity
What does Living More mean to you? What commitments have you made to improve your life? What exercise do you do to increase your health and happiness, and how has it helped your writing and other areas of your life?