3 minute read

As part of the State of the Art survey, I asked people to explain what drew them to Tai Chi initially and what keeps them interested. I was also curious to know more about what role, if any, Tai Chi plays in their physical health, mental/emotional wellbeing and spiritual development. Weighty stuff, I know.

People came back with some surprising and great answers. Here are a few:

My primary interest was in chi gung. After trying tai chi, I was immediately interested. Now, experiencing how forming & filling variously shaped energetic containers with chi gung, pouring their contents into the tai chi form, the expansion that happens therein & how that further fills out the chi gung has hooked me. It's the most fascinating process I've ever experienced, 10 fold, & it JUST KEEPS GOING! I've barely even scratched the surface! - Jason Swinton

What keeps me interested? I love the form and practice, the complexity and ever increasing depth to which practice leads, the beneficial effects on my body, mind and emotions, the chi gung, the new things about my body and mind the practices teaches -- Chris Cinnamon

I use tai chi to remain as flexible as possible and generally to be as healthy as possible. Also to increase energy. I find regular practice does smooth my emotions and generally after practice I feel balanced and calm so that is a big plus for me. - Jo Sawyers

It continues to allow me to deepen my understanding of myself, as well as improve & maintain my health & well being. - Anthony Guilbert

Initially, I enrolled with a young friend who was dying of cancer to support her and introduce her to something that would distract her and help her find some balance. I immediately felt the benefits for myself and recognized that all of us who feel the cultural pressure to give 110% at all times in every facet of life. No matter the details of our struggle, I saw that we all need to find the quiet, sill place inside us and to inhabit out bodies; a place where we're awake and focused, and can be restored. Otherwise, for me, and others I see moving through life, it's easy to go overboard to keep tempo with invented cultural demands and ignore the need for balance and inner strength. I know that I was simply wearing out my host body like a pair of replaceable shoes. Now, my practice of the form and appreciation for what it does, is like a banister to hold onto, no matter the level of expertise in the moves. Concurrently my interest in performing these subtle moves developed over centuries has increased. It's very valuable in my life. -Chris Radant

Better balance. More confidence. Stronger. Calmer mind. -Randy Moy

Slowing down and really focusing on what you are learning and listening to how it feels in your body really tunes out a lot of noise generated by life in the "real" world. The quieter you get the more you hear. What could be better? -Carla Ross

I practice Tai Chi following my morning meditation and it feels like both a completion and a beginning. I return to it occasionally during the day if I feel I am losing my balance. -Nancy Kleiman

I have a high pressure job so use Tai Chi in the evenings to relax/distance myself from work issues - also, balance and co-ordination are improving steadily - certainly feel calmer and more 'controlled' (maybe in control of myself would be a better way of putting it) â€" Tony Gibbons

What is Tai Chi for you?

What hooked you about the practice initially? What is it that keeps you motivated? Share you thoughts in the comments or complete the Tai Chi: State of the Art 2012 survey.