Why I love … T’ai chi

T’ai chi is a great way to keep fit while also enhancing one’s self-awareness – and sleep

It almost shocks me to say that I began training in T’ai chi 30 years ago. Keeping fit and meditating were already a big part of my life at that time. One day I came across an article about T’ai chi that had a photo of people in a standing posture. There was something mysterious and serene about their presence that spoke to me, and I knew I wanted to experience what they had. I found a class in Cork and have never looked back since my first session.

A few years later I decided to dedicate myself to studying the art, resigned my secondary-school teaching position. I qualified as a T’ai chi teacher and devoted myself to sharing this wonderful practice with others.

T’ai chi is a great way to keep fit and flexible while also enhancing one’s self-awareness. The practice is a form of moving meditation and self-healing. People often tell me how their night’s sleep is deeper after a T’ai chi class, how they feel more relaxed and are better able to deal with stress.

T’ai chi looks deceptively simple, and people are often surprised at how much concentration is needed to learn each posture. Training increases one’s ability to stay focused, which is a great skill to enhance all aspects of life.

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What do I love about T’ai chi? It’s elegant and portable. I can practise anywhere from my bedroom to a mountain top. I can enjoy solo practice, partner work or the feeling of being part of a connected group “swimming together” in synchrony.

T’ai chi enriches my life every day. I love to practise first thing each morning, and find it opens me to the wonder of being alive. The natural stretching awakens body and mind in a gentle, soft way reminiscent of a cat stretching. The gentle stretches and opening of the body will draw you along the path of health and joy.