“Once we know these moves better, will we get faster and stronger when doing them?” one of my high school Tai Chi students asked last week.
“Good question,” I replied. “Actually, as you slow down, your Tai Chi gets better; as your Tai Chi gets better, you slow down. We’ll experience in the weeks ahead that slower and stronger are what’s key in Tai Chi. As we harness our internal energy, our strength comes from within, not from strong muscles and outward exertion.”
Faster and stronger tend to be coupled together in our culture. The strong person moves fast, does multi-tasking, manages a family as well as a career and volunteer work, uses the latest high-speed technology. The world comes not only into our living rooms, but moves around with us on our phones, I-pads, available instantaneously. High school students feel pressure to excel, with grades, sports, music or theater, community activities. Excess stress continues to effect younger and younger children.
There may be many positives of faster and stronger, but there are some big drawbacks. We are tired, stressed out, don’t sleep well, make lengthy to-do lists and if we stop long enough to think about it, just aren’t satisfied nor happy.
More and more individuals, as well as some schools, are recognizing that balance in life, taking time to reduce stress, is a very healthy choice. What’s drawing people in are not fads; they are centuries-old practices of Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation. All are proven disciplines that combine slower and stronger, reducing stress and enhancing mental functioning and overall well-being.
Most of us need to make a conscious choice to take time out to participate in a class or individual discipline that promotes increasing strength and well-being through slowing down. It’s worth it and I’m so pleased that this is starting to be supported and encouraged for children, as well as adults.