When we relax, we allow the body to accelerate the process of self-healing. Being tense creates rigidity. The energy doesn’t flow very well through a rigid body. Natural beings (plants and animals) are flexible. Even rivers are flexible, easily changing their course when something obstructs their flow.
We create resistance in the body through our thoughts. Fear, worry and anger will create blockages of energy which further translate into bodily stiffness. The difference between water and ice is that ice can break but water will not. The human body is composed mainly of water, not ice.
From the earliest age, kids are thrown into a world of rivalry. Our modern school and social systems are based on comparisons between people. The best achiever is the most admired.
Competition is a direct descendant of primitive survival abilities. In those times, the faster runners would escape the lion. Now, it is about who has better grades, the most beautiful girlfriend, the biggest bank account and the most luxurious car or house. We live in a competitive world driven by material expectations. This puts a lot of pressure on us at all levels (consciously and/or subconsciously). By the time we reach adulthood, perfectionism becomes a habit, a way of life.
Overwhelming expectations work against relaxation.
The human body’s original homeostasis is a full state of relaxation. We spend 33% of our time in sleep, giving a break to our body from stress, anxiety and pressure. Our body reacts to our mind’s activity, creating stiffness and blockages accordingly. We relax to accelerate the process of self-healing.
Every single thought impacts a certain area of the body. When we practice Tai Chi daily, we reinforce a habit of physical relaxation.
Because of the slow movements and gentleness of Tai Chi, the body becomes accustomed to being relaxed when awake.
This includes muscle relaxation but, more importantly, the nervous system relaxes, allowing our vital energy to flow better.
When you receive a hug from a loved one, the emotional transfer of energy instantly calms you down. It is a natural way of using physical touch to relax. When feeling upset and you take a dip in the sea, your physical body coming in contact with the water relaxes immediately.
Imagine yourself completely relaxed physically. You have just finished a spa treatment which included sauna, massage, aromatherapy and you are now lounging on a bamboo chair. Your body has achieved inner peace. How would your emotional state be? It will also be balanced because physical relaxation leads to emotional equilibrium.
We experience life through emotions, some more Yin, others more Yang. When there is complete balance between Yin and Yang, inner peace is achieved. A well-practiced Tai Chi session is mainly going to affect your physical body, but the impact is not only on the body. As soon as we feel relaxed, any previous heavy or disturbing emotions disappear too. Thus, emotional relaxation has also been achieved.
When we practice Tai Chi, we bodily engage in the flow of movement, involving centering while moving both sides off the body at the same time. The left and right sides of the brain work simultaneously.
This has direct repercussions on any persistent thoughts we might have had when we began the practice.
All my worries disappear because the brain is to focused on the whole body movement. It is both magical and practical.
The human mind is the same; it needs a shut-down and restart regularly. Tai Chi has this effect of resetting mental processes, by resetting the body to its original homeostasis of total relaxation.
As we move up the human needs’ hierarchy (Maslow’s Pyramid), we eventually reach the top where we return to our initial nature, the spiritual. The only way to be in touch with our spiritual side is by first achieving physical, emotional and mental relaxation.
The only way to communicate with our higher self is by being able to listen. When there is too much noise in our mind from numerous thoughts, it is difficult to listen and receive. When unwanted emotions are fighting to take over or there is intense body pain and suffering, it is the same. Only when we achieve relaxation on all levels -mental, emotional and physical, will it become possible to be in tune with our higher self.
Tai Chi masters learned from nature that softness overcomes hardness. Pine trees growing on top of mountains can only withstand strong winds by being flexible. Our bodies go through strong winds every day. We get affected by different situations charged with heavy emotions. The physical body can remain alive and healthy just by being flexible and relaxed enough to weather any storm.
If you want to learn how to relax to accelerate the process of self-healing, order the book: Tai Chi The Path Towards Self-Healing.