As one of my New Year’s resolutions, I started doing Qi Kung. I struggled to find the exact exercises that my mom does and found several clips on YouTube presented by the same instructor that my mom had back in Montreal. Although they refer to it as integral Tai-Chi, I still think of it as Qi Kung.
I think the main difference I noticed between integral Tai Chi and the other kinds of exercises I found was the level of intensity. Integral Tai Chi moves the entire body, whereas regular Qi Kung seems to be moving only the hands and arms. The first time I did the full routine, including the warmup, all the positions, the cool down and the meditation at the end, I found my heartbeat had increased and I was breaking a sweat.
As it is for many forms of martial art, there is also a huge emphasis on spirituality and mysticism in Tai Chi. I loved the mantras the teacher recites as she demonstrates the movements and the positions – mantras that inspire love, compassion, kindness, gratitude and sends positive vibes with the energy created throughout the exercise. It spoke to me a lot, first because I’m a very spiritual person, and the routine made me feel like I was exercising more than just my body, but also feeding my spirit and my mind. Second of all, these exercises fill me with much positivity, which is very hard for me to come by at a time like this, when I spend every waking hour in yet another clinic, undergoing yet another test, and gearing up for another surgery.
After I finished the routine this past Friday, bowed with my clasped hands and gave a final “namaste”*, my boyfriend came back from his basketball game, limping, with a bruised thigh and an aching arm. He complained that the game was too physical (i.e. violent) and that he was playing with people who don’t know shit and thus kept losing all the time and it served to do nothing but infuriate him
I told him that next time he should consider joining me for integral Tai Chi because the result of it will be the exact opposite of his basketball game without taking away from the fitness aspect of it:
1) You don’t get any bruises or injuries in Tai Chi provided you follow the teacher’s instructions correctly.
2) You don’t have to suffer being with people who don’t know shit because the teacher is there to guide everyone.
3) There is no losing, only winning.
4) There is no violence, only positivity, peace and love.
5) It will calm you and take away all the stress of the past week, will make you cool, collected and happy.
What I love most about my exercises is that they use my body’s natural movements as exercises and teaches me to go along with my body and not against it. It uses soft movements to exercise your muscles and flowing movements to make your blood flow and your heart race. It may seem like an “easy” workout (as my boyfriend views it as something boring) but it’s a workout nonetheless, a workout for the body and its essence, plus the sweat and minus the pain.
Peace, love and I ought to use scented oils next time.
*”The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.” – Wikipedia. I just found that beautiful!