Learning to Take Care of Yourself
In my classes I often talk about exercising and training gracefully to your own physical baseline. This phrase comes from my teacher Casey Kochmer, from Personal Tao. Read his article on baselines here. We all have a unique health baseline, that changes with the ebb and flow of life. There is not one 'cookie cutter' formula for everyone to follow in exercise and health management. If you work against your baseline, this creates resistance, tension and force, which never ends well. Listening, observing and responding to your changing baseline gives you the chance to explore, pause and flex, to find balance and potential. By working with your baseline, as Casey says, "you become an expert on you".
Health Baselines in Tai Chi and Qigong Training
When we exercise to the ebb and flow of our individual health baseline, we release resistance. Instead, we work with the body kindly and with compassion. The absence of resistance gives us room to explore and helps to reframe our mindset from focusing on what we can't do, to what we can do. No matter where the physical body is on any given day, it is possible to have a movement and/or stillness practice.
All Tai Chi and Qigong movements can be adapted to the individual. The most important point is that any movement is helpful, any stillness is helpful, it is not all or nothing. You create a routine that supports you, giving you challenge and progress when the time is right, and applying rest and rejuvenation when the time is right. All guided by you, your natural self. Find out more about the meaning of qi gong here.
I created the 'Hibernating Bear Tai Chi' movement programme to support students with their individual health baseline. Each of us is truly unique, and unique requires a new approach. I draw on my Tai Chi, Qigong and Taoist meditation experience along with my own experience of living with a different health base line from the norm. Find out more here.
Gene Burnett discusses reigning in extremes in your Tai Chi practice: