Harmonize Your Body And Feel ‘Back To Yourself’ Again
by Kiki Athanas
April 22, 2019
I’m slowly but surely realizing that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an answer for everything - and the answer is everything...in moderation. What I mean by that, is that in my recent amateur exploration into TCM, I’ve learned that one thing rings true regardless of who in the field you speak with, and that’s the power of balance - otherwise known as “everything in moderation”.
I’ve been taking a deeper dive into the world of TCM after facing a few health challenges these past couple of months, and I’ve been astounded at just how powerful acupuncture and TCM herbal supplements can be.
Now it’s time to take a peek into the world of Tai Chi - an activity I’ve been advised to take up in order to support my journey of adrenal nourishment and stress management.
But I’ll be honest with you - I don’t have much experience with Tai Chi...beyond seeing those incredibly zen looking old people at the park doing funky moves with their eyes closed. Well, the time is now to learn this magical healing movement modality, because if it’s anything like the other elements TCM has to offer, I can trust it indeed “works”.
Hence, I connected Thomas Garbarino, who is an energetic healer, coach and meditation teacher, and also a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. We had a good introductory discussion of what Tai Chi is, why he got into it (and why we all should too), and what it might look like to get started with the practice.
First things first, tai chi, like many (if not all) aspects of TCM, requires a paradigm shift in our thinking - it involves a completely different way of looking at the world (as compared to our typical Western mindset). See, it involves circular - rather than linear - thought. It all comes from the notion of the universe around us, which we are innately apart of and are forever and always interacting with. Tai Chi helps us connect with the understanding that the expression of life moves in a spiral energy pattern, and by learning how to harmonize our bodies with that energy, and all of the energies around us, we are able to feel innately and deeply “better”. Mainly because it allows us to simply become MORE of us. In other words, if we are able to resonate with the lifeforce energies of nature, the sun, the moon, etc, and then by connecting with those vibrations, we feel a sense of deep restoration unlike any other.
I interpret this as the practice of recalibrating ourselves with all that is.
Thomas adds that many of his more beginner students admit to “feeling so good” after a tai chi practice, and just genuinely “back to themselves again” - although admittedly they don’t understand why or how. Here inlies the power of the practice: the ability for it to connect us back to ourselves.
It certainly resembles meditation, but what I find even more enticing about this, is that it’s fluid - i.e. there’s movement. Sitting completely still can be daunting to say the least, whereas finding a way to link movement with breath sounds a heck of a lot more doable, fun, and powerful.
Thomas agrees, while also highlighting that Tai Chi is a great way to expand and get deeper into your meditation practice - most efficiently when it's done directly after your Tai Chi movement. This is because you can much more easily get into your “state of no thing” (i.e. meditation) when your entire body & soul feels more open, warm, and relaxed. Furthermore, when your vital energy is intimately connected with the blood, and when you can feel that, the mind naturally lets go (arguably the hardest part of meditation).
So what’s to explain the magic behind the moves? Thomas spells it out in 3 simple elements:
Calm, tranquil, present mind.
I for one am incredibly excited to start incorporating this form of movement into my daily regime, and will be pursuing it just as Thomas suggests - with a one-on-one master and practitioner. Unfortunately, this isn’t something he recommends you take up on your own, or through online videos - it’s a practice that’s meant to be taught person-to-person, as it’s through real-life physical transmission that the magic really unfolds!