Tai Chi can help you shape your posture and with that also re-define your mindset.
When we try to be centered, we are not only influencing the physical structure of our body but also our mindset. When we try to be relaxed, we impact our body, but also our mind. When we try to exert energy, we not only push with our muscles, but we also develop our focus and intent.
Your mind reflects on your posture, your posture reflects on your mind
Another one of the early lessons our teacher Hilmar Fuchs taught us is, how the communication between body and mind is bi-directional.
If our mind is sluggish, our techniques are weak. If we feel depressed or just tired, we have a tendency to hunch down instead of having the golden thread pull up our crown point. Is we feel strong and confident, we will make bigger movements, embracing the universe and conquering the world.
But it also goes the other way. If we start Tai Chi tired, but focus on finding our center of gravity, focus on opening and on wide movements, we will feel how our energy and confidence increases. If we are all stirred up and restless when we start practice, but focus on our breathing and the slow but fluid movements, we will observe how our mind calms down and finds its own center.
How we feel influences how we hold and move our body. But more importantly, it also goes the other way: by controlling our postures and movements, we can control and shape our mental state and how we feel. This is a powerful tool (and much better than any drugs)!
Your mind reflects on your body. Your body reflects on your mind.
While this connection has been long known in martial arts and eastern health systems, it has recently been shown by western science as well. If you want to do some further reading on the scientific background for this, I would recommend to check out Amy Cuddy’s book ‘Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges‘.
Walk of the hero
One of the best exercises to feel this direct connection between body and mind is the ‘Walk of the hero’.
The point of this exercise is to shift from proud and bold to small and humble and then to centered and calm. From reaching out, externally focused, Yang-heavy to coming back to your core, inside oriented, Yin-heavy, to then finding the perfect balance between the two.
Observe your mind and feeling before you do this exercise. Then do it for a few minutes and see if anything has changed. You will be surprised!