Although both tai chi and bagua develop softness and strength, each individual student is typically drawn to one side. Most people are either more yin or more yang in their personalities and approach to life. In the West, we naturally gravitate towards our strengths, which means we tend to develop that which is dominant in us and leave behind anything that is lacking or weak. This can create further imbalance—the opposite of what tai chi and bagua practice aims to achieve. Training tai chi helps you develop softness inside bagua, while training bagua helps create more flexibility in tai chi. In turn, greater flexibility from bagua further allows you to access a softer operation of tai chi, while a softer execution of tai chi allows you to generate more strength in bagua. This positive feedback loop continues on many levels throughout your practice over years and decades as you refine and hone your skills on ever-deeper layers.
To elaborate on yesterday’s post on the Bagua Circle Walking methodology, I’ve got more on how to really get your blood (along with lymph, interstitial, synovial and cerebrospinal fluids) to circulate strongly. Since the fluids are responsible for delivering nutrients to and removing waste byproducts from the body, boosting their circulation is one of the key ways that the Tao energy arts like bagua, tai chi and hsing-i foster incredible health from the inside out.
Bagua is first and foremost about the feet and legs, so any good training starts with learning and developing Circle Walking stepping techniques. In the monastic bagua tradition that I teach (for health, fitness, stress relief and meditation), there are two kinds of stepping:
- Heel-toe walking
- Traditional mud walking
Regardless of which type you choose, you don’t want to bob up and down like you’re on a boat at sea.
Balancing Exercises: How-to Video Lesson 4
In the last lesson, we looked at balancing exercises for non-symmetrical movement in tai chi. Now we’ll apply the same principles to asymmetrical bagua postures with the goal of equalising the body’s halves, creating even stretches and maintaining the left-right balance. Continue reading
Balancing Exercises: How-to Video Lesson 2
In this lesson, we continue balancing exercises by looking at turning in the internal energy arts. Turning is a component of most qi gong sets and all bagua and tai chi styles. So stabilising and equalising your turn (and weight shift into either leg) is a fundamental prerequisite to achieving a truly internal practice, as well as the benefits that come from it.