A consistent mindfulness practice has been shown to improve neuroplasticity— the brain’s ability to form new connections and pathways in response to new experiences or stimuli. When we develop new pathways in our brain, we gift ourselves improved ways to respond to our thoughts/internal emotional state therefore creating emotional stability within our body. When we are emotionally stable, we can cope with stressors in a more controlled fashion. If you struggle with anxiety, stress, “monkey-mind”, a loud inner critic, the inability to be still, or are simply a human being in today's society, you could benefit from a tai chi practice.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that involves gentle movements, mental focus, deep breathing and relaxation. It has been shown to have health benefits such as decreasing inflammation, blood pressure and arthritis. It can provide stress relief and also improve balance. Although originally developed as a form of self-defense martial art, it is commonly known as a low-impact exercise or recovery tool that anyone of all ages and fitness levels can try.
Regardless of religion, tai chi can be utilized as a meditation and spiritual practice by bringing awareness to the body and learning to quiet the mind with relaxed focus. Often called “meditation in motion”, tai chi strengthens the mind-body connection using breath and intentional slow movements. By doing this, we are able to cultivate “chi” or life force energy into our bodies. Practicing outside in nature with bare feet on the ground connects us directly to the earth which serves as a channel for negative electrical charges to do a polar dance with our positively charged bodies. This helps to bring our system into balance at a cellular level.
This practice has become paramount in my healing journey of self-discovery and personal development not to mention the difference I have noticed in recurring anxious thoughts/feelings. When we can learn to be present with our e-motions (aka energy in motion) and feel them in our body, we can also allow them to move through us instead of getting stuck. We actually have the power to shift our internal state rather quickly if we have the proper tools to do so. This is where breath and movement come in.
When thoughts come, the mind wants to over-analyze and critique and we can get stuck in our minds becoming anxious, stressed and overwhelmed which translates to stress in our bodies. In other words, if our mind feels like it’s under attack, it’s going to send signals to our bodies that we must stay in a stressed, fight-or-flight state which can lead to all kinds of imbalances in our physical bodies. Remember that not one part of our body is separate from another. Every system works together and is always communicating. Try it for yourself! I searched on YouTube when I started for beginner videos and chose one that was simple and felt best for me. In the beginning, focus on being consistent and creating a habit. Practice at the same time each day or commit to a certain day every week. Start small and don’t get caught up in doing it perfectly. There is no wrong way to journey back home to you.