Taichi is an ancient health and martial art practice that originated in China. It’s heath benefits are well known. However what I’m interested in is the aspect of Taichi as a mindfulness practice. Like the “sacred movements” of Gurdjieff or the “Mindful Movements” of Thich Nhat Hanh. This aspect of Taichi is rarely taught or talked about. Taichi is meditative moment.
The “Taichi chuan” or the “Taichi form” is a set of very graceful and slow movements. What I found interesting is that we cannot do Taichi well if we try to do it from the mind. It’s kind of like playing music or riding a bike, we cannot really do it well if we try to do this from the mind. If we think about how to move while practicing, we’d do poorly. Also if the mind wanders away from the present we’ll do poorly. When we pay attention to the present movements and go with the flow, things work out perfectly. Its not simple enough to do without paying attention and at the same time its no use to analyze it when practicing. Perhaps there is some kind of muscle memory involved. There are many levels and applications to this practice, there is a martial application, and the physical health aspects, but what interested me the most is the mindfulness aspect. As one deepens this practice, one gets into the Zone, the experience is that there is no one doing the movements, only the movements are happening.