Tai Chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga. The Chinese were greatly influenced by the knowledge of physical culture from India. They used the Indian knowledge of Buddhism and Yoga to enhance their own native practices of Qi Gong (breath control or pranayama) and Taoist Yoga. Both Yoga and Qi Gong are exercises formatted to increase longevity, open the meridian (pathway of energy) system and thereby prevent diseases. Specific Yogic postures invigorate certain meridians.
For example, backbends generate heat and energy, while forward bends generate cooling, and calming energy. If one feels sluggish or cold, back body bending will give energy by stimulating the Kidneys. The Kidneys in Oriental medicine is the most important organ of the body. Also in Western scientific medicine it is understood that the Kidneys are the first organs formed in the fetus.
If one has insomnia or too much energy, then it’s better for them to do forward bends, which are more suitable because they have a soothing and calming effect on the body.
Right side bends and all twisting movements augment the liver and gall bladder; while the left side bends invigorate the spleen and pancreas.
The complementary nature of yoga and acupuncture (and massage) is reflected in their common goal of releasing stagnation of energy in the meridian systems and their related organs or in the blood. Funnily enough, the poses one dislike doing are the best for oneself. The areas of weakness or decreased flexibility are usually places of stagnation in the meridian system.
Yoga postures are in static position, whereas each Tai Chi posture combines to form a moving well-balanced kinetic form. Being in a constant state of motion with the equilibrium of inner and outer self is harmony.
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About Christopher Fernandes
Christopher Fernandes started his journey in 1975 in field of internal body training. He has over 40 years of experience in the field of internal body training as well as Chinese martial arts. .He is currently studying the parallels in eastern meditative experiences and high energy physics. He regularly conducts classes, seminars, and workshops for Tai Chi at Celeste the Center, Mumbai.