Natural Living: Tai Chi can help you “Spring” into Summer |

Natural Living: Tai Chi can help you “Spring” into Summer

Maureen Lamerdin, O.M.D.

We’ve all seen it. The sluggish waking of a person, sitting on the side of their bed waiting for their body to catch up to their mind’s intention. Stretching, yawning, moving slowly as the body shakes off the cobwebs in anticipation of the day’s activities. If this feels familiar don’t feel bad, even bears need a few weeks to accomplish this goal. With a good tai chi practice, however, we can whittle down the length of time it takes for us to get moving and even help us make the most of the time we are awake. Tai chi is a millennia-old exercise practice that has been used to help treat everything from fatigue to cancer and even if we don’t understand the concept of “qi” (universal energy which governs the health of all living things) or lymph drainage we can easily understand the concept of garbage removal.

Consider your trash. We all produce it, some more than others, but we all must get rid of it or our homes become uninhabitable. We are consumers. We buy, eat, and discard material constantly and our cells are no different. Through the process of cellular metabolism (when our cells generate energy) waste products are produced and flushed out of our bodies via the lymph system. In order for this system to function, however, we need to move our muscles. There is no active pump that clears this material, so we have to move our bodies to perform this function. We have always known that regular exercise provides obvious health benefits, but tai chi not only serves to move our muscles, it also helps our bodies to align our qi.

As we transition from one season to the next, it is important for us to prepare for the changing conditions our bodies expect to meet. Winter is a time of rest and introspection whereas summer is a time of activity and looking outward. But what of the time in between? As noted before, we seldom spring out of bed from a deep sleep, ready to run a marathon. This transition takes time as it should.

As we awaken from our winter’s energetic slumber, a good tai chi practice helps us shake off the cob webs, move the lymph, and clear our heads while we prepare to shift into a faster gear. There are multiple resources available for finding tai chi instruction from local practitioners to videos you can watch at home, so do yourself the favor today and start a practice. Your body, and mind will thank you.