5 Ways Tai Chi Kicks Yoga’s Butt. ~ Marie Overfors

After that headline, you’ve got to know that I love yoga. Seriously. I have a regular yoga practice. I do at least a few poses every single day. And I’m a certified yoga teacher.

Tai Chi Offers a Mind-Body Magic That Can Enrich Your Life.

As wonderful as yoga is, here’s a shocker: Yoga is not the Be All and End Allthat it’s cracked up to be. Man/Woman cannot live on yoga alone. 

Well, maybe you can. 

I did.

I was a serious mat rat for years. But my steady diet of yoga left me craving… something more.

Apples, for example, are yummy and help keep the doctor away, but wouldn’t it be nice to eat oranges, too? 

The fact is, tai chi offers its own brand of body-mind magic that yoga simply can’t.

Let’s start with key elements that tai chi and yoga share. Both are moving meditations and good for your health. Both focus on the breath, teach mindfulness and can be deeply spiritual experiences and ways of life. Both tai chi and yoga are practiced by millions, many of whom are deeply, seriously, even insanely passionate about them.

Here, coming at you from someone who loves yoga, are five ways that tai chi kicks yoga’s butt:

Tai chi is a martial art.

You can use it to frickin’ defend yourself (or your kid, cat or cream puff) with tai chi if you need to. Tai Chi Chuan means “supreme ultimate fist” or “supreme ultimate boxing.” I’m not a rough and tough kind of gal, but I like the cool factor of practicing an ancient martial art.

No matter how graceful and gentle and flowing it appears, each tai chi posture can be deadly. It’s a martial art, remember?

Yoga can certainly make you strong, flexible and calm. It can give you awesome posture. It might make you a better person. But yoga doesn’t teach you how to ward off an attack or deal with a bar-room brawl.

Pay half price for three months of training at Warrior Tai Chi. Your first class is free. This special ends this month (April).

(Yikes! Here’s to hoping that none of us has to deal with attacks or brawls.)

Tai chi teaches you how to move through the space around you.

When you practice yoga, you’re on your mat. Your mat is your space, your world. There’s power and comfort in that. Your mat can be a retreat, a refuge, a safe place to regroup. I love this about yoga!

Tai chi is different. There’s no mat to mark your boundary. Rather, you learn how to move across physical space with strength, fluidity and ease. You learn how to stay grounded and balanced when you move.

Just as tai chi helps you move in the physical realm, it also helps to help you pass through mental and emotional barriers.

Pay half price for three months of training at Warrior Tai Chi. Your first class is free. This special ends this month (April).

Tai chi is flowing, slow, continuous movements.

Flowing slowly and continuously in tai chi feels good. It develops tremendous small muscle control, which contributes to your sense of balance. I find flowing a great way to be mindful.

Are there versions of yoga that emphasize continuous, slow flowing movements? None that I’m aware of. You can certainly flow in vinyasa(synchronized breath-movement) or power yoga. But there’s not the focus on continuous, slow flow like you find in tai chi.

Pay half price for three months of training at Warrior Tai Chi. Your first class is free. This special ends this month (April).

Tai chi gets you—gasp!—touching other people.

“Pushing hands” is a two-person exercise in tai chi. Pushing hands teaches you sensitivity to others and the world beyond. You are “listening” to your partner with your hands, not your ears. It teaches you how to stay tuned in, balanced and relaxed regardless of what the world tosses your way.

You might argue that there’s touch in yoga, too. There are hands-on instructor adjustments. The occasional soothing touch from an instructor during savasana (corpse pose). Or the accidental touching of hands of yogis during full locust or a twist. But these touches don’t teach the give-take, back-forth sensitivity of Pushing Hands in tai chi.

Pay half price for three months of training at Warrior Tai Chi. Your first class is free. This special ends this month (April).

Tai chi is more about connecting (and talking) with other people.

When you experiment with applications in tai chi class, or when you do Pushing Hands, you’re talking with your partner.

Communicating with your partner is both natural and essential. For example, you might say, “I’m going to push your shoulder, then you turn your waist.” Or “How did that feel?” “Did that move work for you?” “Am I ‘getting’ this posture?”

It’s different with yoga. In my experience, yoga is something of a sacred space, a sanctuary. The sign on the door says, “Please observe silence in the yoga room.”

In other words, be quiet. Turn inward. Focus on breath and postures.

As much as I love this aspect of yoga, it also left a void within me. I definitely don’t want to chit-chat or talk with others during yoga class, but I wanted more connections with people.

I craved social interaction. I yearned to develop lasting friendships with more like-minded folks. This just wasn’t happening in my yoga journey.

Tai chi is proving different. 

I’m finding tai chi incredibly conducive to building connections with others.

Sure, we turn inward, focusing on the mind-body experience when we do a tai chi form (set sequence of flowing postures). But we talk with our partners during applications and Pushing Hands. We ask questions. We give feedback. We laugh. We connect… and I’m thankful for it. Connecting with others makes me feel good—contented, if you will.

Yoga’s wonderful, but it’s not the Be All and End All (nor should it have to be). Tai chi offers its own brand of mind-body magic that’s well worth exploring. 

Whether you are a hard-core yoga devotee, just strike the occasional yoga pose or have never done yoga, promise me this: give tai chi a try. Be open. Be patient. You might find your mind-body and life all the richer for it!h

Pay half price for three monthshof training at Warrior Tai Chi. Your first class is free. This special ends this month (April).h

This article originated at the Elephant Journal

The Daily War

My mother, my wife and my daughter all reached out to me today. Why, because I was too nice. Keep reading this short informative article and it may happen to you. Be prepared! I really want you to be prepared if you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). 

I watched a webinar this weekend that really resonated with me. I have a billionaire friend that once said to me, “Pick one, Wealth, Health or Love. You can have one in abundance and maybe two if you’re lucky. Very few people get all three.”

The webinar presenter had a plan of action that addressed all three. I’ve modified it a bit, so it isn’t commercial. You may have to modify it more if you work a 9 to 5 and do not want to get up at 5am like I do. Oh, and by the way, the second meditation is done during your lunch break

The Daily War 

CORE 4 (A Daily Game of Power as Taught by Wake Up Warrior) 

Body (Fitness and Fuel)

I will work out every morning. 

I will drink a green smoothie every morning.

Being (Meditation and Memoirs) 

–  I will meditate for 20 minutes twice a day. 

–  I will write in my journal about my feelings and thoughts 20 minutes daily. 

Balance (Partner and Posterity)

–  I will send a text of love to my wife every morning, appreciating and honoring her. 

–  I will send a video text of love to each of my children. 

Business (Discover and Declare)

–  I will study Expert Secrets concerning my profession for 20minutes every morning. 

–  I will share what I am learning in my own language every day online. 

I guess by now you know which one caused such a commotion. When I followed thru with “Balance” and called my mother and sent text to my wife, daughter and grandson, everyone freaked out. I have separated myself from everyone and everything I love in the past due to my PTS for years at a time. 

This change was incomprehensible to them. It literally made me laugh out loud.

I plan on adding a one video text per week to each of my five nieces and nephews. It should be hilarious. Use this to change your life. Have fun with this. Let me know what happens.

Situational Awareness – Week 2

Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Johnson beat me with a bamboo stick (Shinai) day and night for three months. I am so glad he did. SSgt Johnson was my Platoon Sergeant while I went through 3rdRecon’s Indoctrination at Ona Point in Okinawa. At night we would sleep on roofs, under vehicles, or in sugar cane fields, and put out sentries. SSgt Johnson would bind and gag our sentries and we would get beaten.

I was reminded of this last week when Randall had this to say in the comments section: Get someone to follow you 24 hours a day and at any time jump out and try to whack you with a bamboo pole. Couple days you’ll be an expert in situational awareness.”

I doubt they even do this sort of thing in the Marine Corps anymore. 

So how did you do with last week’s assignment? Did you notice how many people on whatever screen (TV, Computer, iPad) you looked at were wearing glasses? When you were on the road, how many people in passing cars were wearing glasses? Be honest. You probably missed those people.

Ok, no tricks this time, here is an easier one: Every time you go in or out of a structure, how many people are there? As you leave work, how many people are already in the parking lot? As you enter a store, how many people do you see?

Just notice who notices you. Did they notice you immediately? Did they notice you after you stared at them? Did they continue to do what they were doing not matter how long you stared.

Each person’s reaction tells you something important. I’ll explain next week.

Don’t worry newbie, the assignments will get more street and combat survival oriented. I’ll even pass on gems SSgt Johnson gave me that got me through several combat tours.