“Tai Chi” – Laoshi Taj Johnson, DD By Regina Jeter
What is Tai Chi?
What is Tai Ji? The art of Taijiquan or Tai Ji (with a space in the middle) is shortened to Tai Chi or Taiji for English speakers, is a philosophical concept and observation of nature that includes Yin and Yang theory. The theory is that Yin (female) and Yang (male) aspects of nature always attempt to resolve towards a harmonious balance. We use this art to experience deeper levels of harmony in mind, body and spirit. With this harmony and peace, we move towards optimizing our health. If interested in this, there is more on my website: www.skyvalleytaiji.com.
What made you decide to venture into this practice?
At the core of the art is the motivation to nurture a deeply harmonious existence full of peace. Taiji resonated with my love of nature and life.
How is it beneficial to us?
Nurturing personal practice of this art is very beneficial. It optimizes all the circulatory systems in the body. It also can improve balance, coordination and perception.
What makes TaiChi different from other eastern practices?
- Taiji is, at its core, an advanced level Chinese Martial Art.
- Taiji contains foundational principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- Taiji path includes both Chinese Martial Arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Other eastern practices, do not to my knowledge, offer these things.
While very different, ultimately, some of the higher level results can be quite similar. There are many paths but only one mountain.
Is this practice about your mental or physical well being?
Both! They must come together and exist without separation. This practice enhances the unity and integrity of the whole person.
What can you do along with Tai Chi that will help or prolong effects, i.e. food, supplements, etc.?
Everyone comes to this practice with different needs and goals. One of the things that make this practice so amazing is that if you practice faithfully and with sincerity, you will find your way. Years ago, there was a seminar entitled: “Taiji is the Teacher.” As a teacher, Laoshi and Shifu, my role is to guide. The insights and choices on supplements and food are very personal, and we all tend to seek out what is needed if we nurture a sincere dedicated practice. The Art (Taiji) is the teacher! I would offer that most of us would benefit from drinking more good quality water, get adequate rest and try to spend active time outside in the fresh air.
What tips or advice can you give to people regarding Tai Chi?
As in all things, establishing a strong foundation is important. Look around and find a qualified teacher. It is important that you feel comfortable and can trust him/her. It is the teacher’s role to lead you where you cannot see. If you trust them to lead you through a dark room, then maybe you have found the right teacher. Also, don’t waste money on DVDs or uniforms until after you have learned something about the practice. They can eventually be helpful, but personal interaction with a sincere teacher can be priceless.
Where will you go from here?
My company SkyValley Tai Ji continues to grow. We’ll continue to sponsor Caribbean Taiji retreats (called VisionQuest Retreats), co-host Fun & Fitness Cruises (great fun) and share the art with the greater DMV community during ‘World Tai Chi Day’ and throughout the year with classes, workshops and special corporate events. My personal practice infuses such beauty into life; it helps me live as my best self and has introduced wonderful opportunities for travel, meeting great people and helping others. In the Chinese Traditional Kungfu culture, there is the saying: “There is always a higher peak” which refers to achieving one goal only to see that a greater goal is right around the corner! As I continue to climb, grow and advance, I am so thankful for the opportunity to share this wonderful art with others and I look forward to a bright future for us all.
Enjoy this journey nurturing longevity with eternal spring.
Laoshi Taj Johnson, DD
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