When you think of “movement arts” as a big collection of practices, think in terms of a spectrum that runs from stillness to movement. See, the “art” in movement arts is all about finding stillness inside of movement (this is why our favorite athletes look so at ease under highest pressure) and movement inside of stillness (this is what is so endlessly fascinating about meditation and other inner work — you learn to follow the movement of the mind).
Here’s an overview of the practices I’ve gravitated towards over the years and why I think they are important for anyone who is looking to slow down and cultivate well-being in their mind as well as their body.
Tai Chi and Chi Gung
If you’re looking to achieve meditative stillness that you can carry into your daily life, tai chi and chi gung (qigong) can get you there. As you peel the layers of these practices, you become more tuned in to your physical body first, but then you learn to recognize the energy that runs your physical body. Eventually, the ability to track your body and your energy through the various tai chi and chi gung forms gives you insight into the motion of your mind. This is the gateway to meditation.
Restorative Movement Exercises
Sometimes old injuries and quirky movement habits we’ve picked up along the way slow down the process of developing a movement practice. When that happens, using targeted, specific exercises to achieve pain-free mobility can be just the thing to jump-start the process of cultivating life-long energy through movement. Here are some examples of more isolated mobility exercises:
Get a feel for these practices through your own direct experience! Check out the GET MOVING page to sign up for a free introductory series on Breathing, Mobility, or Visual Training.
For more background on the qigong and tai chi that I teach, visit my teacher’s website here. The joint mobility exercises featured here are the tip of an athletic development iceberg called Z Health. Check out the whole system here.