The more years I roll around on this wonderful little planet of ours, the more I appreciate effective tools and life affirming practices.
Good practice can keep us healthy when we're stressed, centered when we're challenged, focused during complexity, and moving forward even in the midst of adversity. Beyond that, it is through our healthy practices that we make great strides in self-cultivation during the good times as well.
The trick is in discovering, moment by moment, how to bring our practice into more authentically inspired space.
It is one thing to move through a form with ease and precision and there is great value in that. But it is a wholly different thing to move through a form with a deep sense of presence and connection - to experience your practice as uplifting, vibrant, even enlightening.
Inspiration can be the normal experience of our practices, if training from this space becomes our primary intention. Below are three things that I've found to be very helpful in this regard and that I will be encouraging in the upcoming long form class this January:
1. Remember Inspiration: Just prior to practice, take a moment to remember a time when you felt truly inspired, uplifted, and energized. Remember feeling connected to your genuine self and the wonderful vibe that accompanies that. Imagine feeling that right now, breathe and let that feeling grow, let it flow through all the cells of your body... and then begin your practice. Technical material remains important but secondary to cultivating this feeling of genuine well-being. Further, you may find it useful to contemplate what "inspiration" really means to you and how you can embody it more and more... moment by moment.
2. Listen to Your Self: Listen to your own internal wisdom bubbling up as you practice. Rather than trying to push yourself through a form or structure, feel your way into it. Again technique is important, but it should be your servant rather than your master. Consider the technique you are working with and then feel how that best expresses through you in the moment. Allow this sensitivity to grow and mature, becoming deeper and richer with experience.
3. Practice Diligently: Consistently show up for your practice. It's been said that the secrets of any good discipline reveal themselves to those who take them seriously - who engage their chosen path with depth and consistency. Certain Taoist traditions talk about the importance of the first 100 Hours. It is seen as an almost magical attainment when one reaches 100 hours in an unbroken stream of so many days. One of my students has taken this to heart and is about midway through her 100 hours. It is obvious and wonderful to see her progress thus far. I encourage us all to make a commitment as we head into 2016 for our attainment of 100 hours. Keep to your practice each day even if for only 30 minutes a day... and watch how beautifully you improve. I guarantee you'll be pleased with the results. I'll be writing more about this in my blog as we get closer to January. :)
As always, I love to hear how your good efforts are enriching your lives and the lives of those around you. And I look forward to seeing many of you in this winter's Taiji series.
Wishing you happy holidays and inspiring practice!
winter class info
I'm happy to announce a new beginning level class and two future series in the making...
* Tai Chi Long Form Training 2016 * Description: Begin the new year with a fun and energizing study of Yang Style Tai Chi. This new series is perfect for beginners as well as experienced players who are looking to further their practice and refine their art.
More details about this series HERE.
When: Wednesday evenings beginning January 6th Time: 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm Where: The Metta Center: 1602 Carolina Street, Suite D.
This is a beautiful new location for us. I encourage you to check out their website for other great activities! Info and directions HERE Tuition: 55/month Space is limited for this series... Please call or email to reserve your place.
Tai Chi Sensing and Pushing Hands
I've been receiving more requests lately for a formal series on Tai Chi Partner work. This is also referred to as Sensing Hands and Pushing Hands and is suitable for beginning and experienced players. I would love to offer this probably beginning in February or when there is sufficient commitment to make it happen. 2-Person Tai Chi is wonderfully fun and adds immeasurable depth to one's understanding and application of Tai Chi. If you are interested, please let me know and I'll start putting this together.
Morning Tai Chi Study and Practice
Similarly, I've received some requests for a morning Tai Chi practice. I'm currently looking at Monday mornings in the time frame of 9 or 9:30. Let me know if this timing could serve your needs and interests and when we have enough folks to play, we'll launch! Again I'm looking at February or March as a starting date.
other ways to study ...
* Small Group and Private Lessons *
If you would like to learn Tai Chi and/or qigong but have schedule conflicts with group classes, I offer private and small group study options. I've done much of my own study this way and find it a very effective and enjoyable way to learn. Location can be either at my office or at your home (if you live in Bellingham.) Please call for more information or to schedule...
Art Baner, LMP CHt Integrative Bodywork and Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Cell: (360) 318-4433
Mailing/Office Address: 1111 W. Holly St., Suite F
Bellingham, Wa 98225