Tai Chi is a tremendously integrative activity for enhancing metabolic and chakra energies. Physical and mental focusing must merge in accomplishing the fine motor skill forms. Focus on chakra energies takes more of a spiritual focus, and has a long tradition and legacy through eastern traditions. Combined, a person is working with the full range of energies that demand fine motor skill movements in relatively simple and slow “forms” (the movement patterns). Tai Chi is perhaps the best life-long movement activity with its simple, graceful, and slow movement patterns that never can be completely mastered — depth of integrated focus ever increases.
The School of the Phoenix contributes significantly to the Tai Chi Tradition by the additional foci on diaphragm breathing, bio-mechanics, and completing the forms to music.
Diaphragm Breathing: Increasing Breathing Capacity, Oxygen Exchange at the Cellular Level
The first is the focus on breathing during the forms. Western science has provided excellent study of oxygen exchange at the cellular level; and, can measure breathing capacity. Both of these areas of work show that most people breathe well below capacity, depriving their cells of that needed energy. Most people breathe well below capacity simply because they have not been taught to use their diaphragm when breathing. High capacity breathing from diaphragm involvement increases the oxygen flow to all the cells in the body, providing them with vital energy. The School starts with energy work at this level. All the forms have been developed to integrate diaphragm breathing. Each class begins with adapted qigong breathing with the emphasis on the school’s diaphragm methods.
Bio-Mechanics: Improving Posture, Joint Alignment, Balance
Another contribution of Western science is the study of joint alignment and the efficiency of movement, which decreases stress on bones and joints. Good alignment of the spine and joints in relation to one another lessens stress, and extends the years that a person can stay active. This alignment also takes pressure off internal organs and enhances diaphragm breathing. Balance is improved when the body moves in good alignment, especially in relation to the body’s center of gravity. The School incorporates ALL of this in developing its forms with the best bio-mechanics. This not only ensures that the Tai Chi does not damage joints; but also, strengthens the muscles that keep that healthy alignment. Motor memory of correct alignment is also strengthened. With good bio mechanics, a person can enhance their diaphragm breathing, improve their posture, increase their balance, and learn to move efficiently. These are tremendous benefits to health and well being.
Completing the forms to Music: Adding Focus, Coordination, and Stress Release
There is an innate “graceful flow” to Tai Chi that merges beautifully with appropriate and complementary music. The School only uses music created and produced by it s master teacher for use with the forms. The music is not mathematical based, and thus has a unique “flow” to it. Incorporating music into the forms strengthens the focus, as auditory elements are added. Increasing focus increases the depth of attention during the form, which increases the overall quality of the experience. Coordination development is strengthened as movement and music must become “one.” The music also is a relaxing and stress relieving element. Chronic stress is a prevalent problem for most people. Tai Chi in itself helps offset this. Adding the appropriate music can significantly contribute to this.
Taking the School Online
The School is looking to create videos of classes so that people throughout the world can benefit from its teachings. Perhaps 2013 will be the year. In the meantime, the music used by the school has been gathered in the Giving Life cd that can be purchased through our store or online.