My ninjas-

I love me some Chai Tea, but not nearly as much as I love Tai Chi. One is just a delicious warm drink and the other is a method for harnessing every single one of the hundreds of trillions of cells of your body into a powerful force of nature. 

In other, Tai Chi would kick Chai Tea’s ass any day of the week. But there is so much more to it than just it’s martial applications.

I’ve been practicing Tai chi for 7 years, which makes me a complete beginner, but I’ve learned a lot from this powerful moving meditation – and I want to share it with you, cause ninjas love sharing…

Special thanks to Chelsea Pies for hosting our Video Shoot!

Ninja Super Powers Activate

The evidence on the benefits of Tai Chi (translation = supreme life force) and it’s precursor Qigong (translation = the practice of life-force) is overwhelming:

  • sleep deeper, longer, and soundly.
  • feel less pain, even from chronic diseases like arthritis.
  • boost your immune system and avoid sickness (I haven’t missed a day of work from being sick in over a decade.)
  • recover more quickly in-between intense workouts.
  • increase balance, strength, and co-ordination.
  • increased internal and external awareness.

It’s that last one that’s super ninja for real – the foundational ninja skill: awareness. To do anything and to change, we must first be aware.

Awareness is the primary input of the ninja, and spontaneous adaptation is the primary output. That’s when you get into all the super cool super-hero-like-powers that are much harder to quantify and document than the health benefits above, but are real nonetheless.

For instance, take…

Ninja Super Power: Body Radar

You are made of a symphony of hundreds of trillions of cells, all spontaneously self-organizing, self-replicating, and almost instantly communicating with each other – you are the most powerful and complicated piece of “technology” in the known universe.

And when you are aware enough to tune into and listen with/to the totality of your being – that beautiful buzzing conversation of trillions of cells – the voice in your gut and the language of the universe will speak through your feelings with clarity and you’ll know exactly what to do.

That’s what happened the first time I laid eyes on my future wife.

Body Radar Facebook Post

Here’s my post where I described how I met my wife…

That part about my entire body vibrating? That’s body radar level 5 atomic meltdown status. Don’t get me wrong, it felt good, but it was intense – and I’d only felt similar things while meditating, never by looking at a complete stranger.

I have no doubt that my 15 years of meditation practice (I started meditating at age 16 and it helped me overcome a serious drug addiction) made me so sensitive and in tune with my feelings that it allowed my body to speak directly to me when destiny appeared.

Meditation, much like art, allows you to feel the truth — to know the truth through your sensations.

“Meditative practices enhance our feeling states and capabilities. Your feeling component carries more information than intellectual thought.”  Paul Chek

In other words, as you meditate more and more, you’ll be able to feel, sense, see, and know things that others don’t/can’t i.e. you will be aware/awake.

Tai Chi is a moving meditation that will help you develop these super sensory abilities – and more.

Working Out Vs. Working In

Movement, unfortunately, is equated with pain in our culture, thanks to the militarization of fitness. But not all movement has to be about energy expenditure. In fact, some kinds of movement are healing and facilitate energy accumulation: Tai Chi, Qigong, many kinds of meditation practices, and some kinds of yoga too.

Here is one of my mentors and personal heroes, Paul Chek, explaining exactly how “working in” works.

The awareness that fitness has been militarized – and that that has advantages and disadvantages – is finally catching on. I wrote about this on my website, and when Greatist.com re-posted it, it went super sonic viral and now has almost 75,000 shares.

militarization of fitness

Don’t destroy your body in pursuit of fitness. That’s plain dumb.

Any Questions About Tai Chi?

Do you know how to heal your body through gentle movement and breathing? Are you willing to work on your ability to calm yourself down, and not just getting yourself worked up? Balance, my ninjas! With balance, we become unstoppable, and even the mountains and cloudless sky will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.

As always, TrainDeep.

___/|\___

Jonathan

Photo: Layla Studio

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  • mixmage

    Great post! I started training in Japanese martial arts at about 12 years old (a brief tussle with Judo at age 7 notwithstanding). I was lucky enough to train at a very traditional dojo founded by English students of Japanese masters, so my Budo training included external and internal arts – Karate and Aikido for example.

    When I moved away from home to study at college, I discovered Taichi and Chinese neigong (internal training) which completely changed my practice. I have been studying various forms of Taiji and Qigong ever since. My current (and longest) dedication has has been to Northern Wu style Taijiquan, taught by the 5th generation lineage bearer for the last 7 or so years.

    The most intriguing part of studying Taiji is this “fusion of opposites” – hard and soft, full and empty, stillness and movement, etc. It takes a while to “let go” enough of our ingrained Western tension (tight shoulders, clenched fists, closed heart) and reliance on muscular strength, but once you relax fully into it, you will experience a gradual dawning – a blossoming even – of power without force. It is a great amusement to see the shock on new students’ faces when you physically move them all around the room, touching lightly without exerting any strength, and yet they are powerless to resist.

    … then later, smiling with them as they demonstrate Taiji principles exactly the same way. We were all there once, brand new and amazed by the “magic”, by the super powers our older brothers and sisters posess. Then eventually we understand and apply the principles ourselves, they fuse with our being in such a way that it would be unnatural *not* to embody them with every breath, every step, every door we open or close.

    Right, enough waffle from me, suffice it to say that Taijiquan has changed my life for the better and there is no point at which I will stop practicing, even in my ancient old age.

    • Jonathan Angelilli

      This is an incredibly beautiful, poetic, and generous comment. Thank you for sharing. And I totally agree, for me as well, the most amazing aspects of the practice is the embodied experience of integrating opposites. And as you said, I will continue to practice as long as I can breathe.