It isn't easy to find a good tai chi teacher or qi gong expert. For one thing, there are a limited number of people who have knowledge of the entire art. It takes almost a whole lifetime to learn and master the mind-body principles. Second, because it takes so long to learn, there aren't that many people who seek to learn these ancient techniques. I would say that if you are lucky enough to find a mind-body teacher in the Western world, don't call it lucky, call it destiny.
But how would you know that you've found a good teacher? Well, in my experience, a truly great teacher will cover certain key skills and techniques in their teachings. This week I will go over the some of the important material, and over the next weeks we will cover the other qualifications that a great mind-body teacher should have.
A mind-body teacher will teach you to free your body from being a prisoner of the soft tissue, and at the same time, will help you build strength. This is the most basic form of balance that you will learn in your practice. The body should be both flexible and strong, so that you can effectively direct your strength and will, which makes you powerful. This is a fundamental part of your mind-body journey, both physically and mentally.
A great mind-body teacher will help you isolate your joints with gentle movement, and stimulate your energetic system. You can think of your joints like the doorways that energy must move through in your body. When these portals are stiff and closed up, your limbs and organs can suffer. Opening these joints allows blood, oxygen, and energy to flow to every part of your body. This is important for healing, performance, and overall health.
You need to learn correct alignment when standing, sitting, walking, and moving slowly. Alignment is crucial for avoiding injuries and maintaining health. The older you get, the more important this is. Balance is largely based on correct alignment, and preventing dangerous falls is all about having good balance. Alignment is also key to preventing injury during athletic performance.
That's all we'll cover this week! Next week, we'll go further into the skills that a truly great mind body teacher will cover with you.
Happy stretching, deep breathing, and empty your mind!
P.S. If you haven't read it yet, please check out the special article spot that Cancer Wellness TV got on the NAMASTA website this week! NAMASTA is a highly respected association for mind-body professionals, and a great place to let people know about Cancer Wellness TV!