posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:47 PM
I'll keep this short and relatively simple.
Tai Chi is an ancient chinese art which practices slow movements.
Since I was a kid, I thought Tai Chi was the strangest of all the martial arts. Why is it so slow? What's the intention of these slow actions?
Tai Chi is brilliant because it pays attention to something that so many other thinkers in the ancient and modern world amazingly lost awareness of:
When people are angry, upset, anxious, or if they suffer from bodily effects of emotional trauma, what is really happening is surprisingly lost on the
person. Psychodynamics, behavioural dynamics, etc, are often emphasized, but what is of the greatest importance, is the body.
When we get upset, something happens in our physical bodies that enable the emotional flare-up. Meditate on that for a moment.
What is happening when I say the body "tenses"? Before that emotional flare up, the dorsal tract of the vagus sends out signals to the heart to
speed up heart rate; the lungs are also signalled to increase breathing so as to support the oxygen needs that the "angry" brain needs to support
its flare up. In addition to this, muscles are clenched. With every change in our emotional life, particularly when we experience negative affect
(feelings), our physical muscles become tense.
If you are one of the many people who deals with trauma, generalized or social anxiety, monitor your muscle tone during a period of high arousal.
You'll notice that you've become very tense. In fact, your muscular state UNDERLIES your emotional state of anxiety and your cognitive thought
Become aware of your muscles, and relax them. Feel the warmth in your arms, your legs, your chest. Notice a shift in your emotional state?
The key to emotional and mental healing lies in the very body.
Tai Chi has ritualized this fact by developing routines where the body moves through time in slow, mindful actions. In effect, Tai Chi rewires the
brains motor networks by associating physical action with a feeling of muscular and bodily ease.