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Many modern people think of the human body as being like a machine. But is this correct? Consider a car... If the tyre wears thin you replace it.
When the car needs servicing, a mechanic replaces broken parts and tunes the vehicle. Perhaps at some stage the car develops too many faults to warrant repair so you buy a new one.
If you treat your body like a car, what does this mean? The doctor is the mechanic? Should your oil need changing, the hospital just gives you fresh oil? A replacement foot?
Let's face it, the body is not a machine. It is a biological organism.
A biological organism
The first major consideration here is the fact that biological organisms grow. This is something to keep in mind at all times.
Growing by itself
If you watch a plant grow, it takes time, water, nutrients, sunlight. You cannot force a change or accelerate the growth. All you can do is provide a good growth medium... and wait.
By thinking of the body as being a machine you are trying to make it somebody else's problem. Expecting somebody else to fix your body is just downright lazy...
They cannot just grow a new foot, a new lung, a new kidney. Pills cannot fix everything. So, what can you do?
What can you do?
There are many ways to improve your health e.g.:
Eat a healthy diet
Drink plenty of water
Gently exercise your body
Flex your brain
Limit your exposure to toxins
Avoid damaging technology
Lead a less stressful life
Develop a more 'holistic' view of things
Instead of treating your body like a machine,
you can take care of it. You can
be responsible for it, look after it, nurture it, feed it well and a let it
rest. This will improve the quality of your life.
If you think of your body as being like a machine, you adopt a position of psychological detachment from your body. This is peculiar. After all, if a pin pricks your finger... you feel it, don't you?
Machines do not feel pain, they do not suffer and they do not die.
You are your body
No matter what philosophy you care to use, there is no escaping the fact that you are connected to your body, part of your body. You are your body. Why not look after yourself?
If true to our essential natures,
we can make no mistake.
The human body works perfectly well by itself. Modern living introduces bad postural and usage habits, in addition to physical tension.
Sifu Waller aims to capitalise upon your body's existing abilities, to subtly remove bad habits and encourage awareness.
Your body re-grows slowly and comfortably. The skills arrive without fanfare and you become stronger and more flexible without realising that anything has changed. Things just become a little easier.
Some forms of exercise require you to push your body. You are asked to apply willpower and force a change. Tai chi is different. Instead of forcing, you allow. Instead of pushing, you relax.
We do not ask our students to adopt low stances or walk in a funny way. Your body rebels against the low stances; the muscle cry out for you to stand up. And funny walking? What is the point?
You already know how to walk.
Working with the body
Tai chi works with the body, it does not seek to force a change. Breathing, standing and walking are explored without undue interference.
If your taijiquan practice feels arduous, then you are probably not listening to your body.
You need to practice a little every day in order to maximise the health/fitness benefits of taijiquan. When the exercise becomes a habit, your body will begin to adjust and your fitness will change.
The system was designed to be a regular exercise routine. It balances your energy at the start of each day. Irregular training produces quite slow results.
Tai chi is not like a headache tablet. It aims to address the cause rather than the symptoms. By changing how your body operates, the system will reduce the likelihood of further health problems.
This is called a 'holistic' approach because it considers the entire body.
12 weeks minimum
It will take some time before you feel the effect of taijiquan. Beginners may feel an improvement in health after a few sessions but usually fail to 'listen' to their body.
Growing physical, mental and energetic awareness will enable the student to tailor how they live according to the specific needs of their own body and temperament.
Body and mind
If you exercise your body but ignore the mind, the health benefits will remain mediocre. Studying nature and reading healthy books can be useful.
Many problems occur because our relationship with those around us is faulty.
It was around the beginning of the industrial
revolution that the idea that human beings were like machines came into
being. The body was seen as being like a clockwork toy, capable of being
taken apart, parts replaced and then put back together again. Although this
perspective has produced powerful life saving procedures, this view also
limits our awareness of the wonders of the human body and life itself.
18 May 2006
Last updated 29 April 2021