The first thing I teach and most important principle in my mind is
that Tai Chi Chuan is all about understanding how to “relax”.
Anything thing we do, we can do it better when we are relaxed.
We use the Tai Chi movements, which are very difficult to perfect
as a framework that we are trying to relax around. This to me
is a metaphor for those moments in life when we are are put in
difficult or stressful positions. Those are the moments that having
the abilities to relax, breath deeply and focus are priceless.
Both the founder of the style of Tai Chi I teach and my teacher were Doctors of Chinese Medicine. This greatly influenced their interpretation of the form. Each posture, when done correctly, should be like an acupuncture treatment, opening the meridians and allowing energy to flow through the body. There is a strong focus on breathing into the abdomen because this stimulates the internal organs. 70% of American health issues have been traced to people only breathing into the chest area.
Tai Chi has been proven to reduce arthritic pain and improve joint movement
In class, I explain the health benefits of the movements as well as the history and the philosophy of the movements.
I have an aversion to “just waving your hands in the air” so I explain what the application of each movement is, not that I expect that any one will have to use it but I think it helps the learning process when you know why your arm is in that weird angle.
My classes are a workout but no one is asked to go beyond where they are comfortable.