The Brain in Movement

Stop for a brief minute, close your eyes, and try to feel energy. Tune out from the outside, and notice any sensations that you feel such as warmth, coolness, tingling, pulsing, heartbeat, emotion, pain or discomfort, ringing or sounds. The body is one big energy machine and when we are in balance it all works in brilliant synergy. The image of a happy toddler comes to mind – exploring, sensing and seemingly endless energy to do this with. Then the memory of the nightly mother routines, the fatigue of the duties that would sometimes emerge. The”too much on the plate syndrome”. My child’s energies were burning and bright, mine seemed to dull in comparison. For many years I accepted this reality and assumed there was little one could do to counteract the effects of aging, parenthood, work and the wear and tear of life. I believed that, and that belief turned into symptoms of stress which over time diminished my reserves, challenged my health and decreased my creative abilities. Then, I didn’t know about brain health, brain envy or how the brain really works which is still a mystery to medical science even though we have institutes, research and lots of mental health professionals who talk the good talk. The ancients had some good sense when it comes to keeping that inner light going. They moved in ways to cultivate the chi, or life energy within our bodies and combine it our environment to bring it together – the balance of mind and body that is.

I attended a Tai Chi Chih class this morning and experienced the effects of these simple, mindful movements that almost anyone can learn..T’ai Chi Chih is a set of movements completely focused on the development of an intrinsic energy called Chi. It’s easy to learn and usually takes about two months (or eight classes). T’ai Chi Chih (TCC) consists of 19 stand alone movements and one pose T’ai Chi Chih is not a martial art. T’ai Chi Chih is completely non-violent. Our experienced teacher, Christeen McLain, seemed to flow with joy through the movements and connection with the students – I felt this joy and the ease of these poses yet knew my muscles were very awake. These movements can be done standing or sitting. Because it is a practice, benefits develop more over time. One year ago today, I was enjoying the sun in the Bahamas while learning the practice of yoga for mood management. We learned poses to move the body’s energies through breath and movement to improve mood and treat depression. T’ai Chi Chih shares many of the same goals yet doesn’t focus on breath strategies. I believe we need a combination of good breathing and mindful movement to strengthen mind and body. Sun really helps too but we won’t go there as it is February in Fargo, ND. Just take your Vitamin D, cod liver oil and visualize your favorite summer scene as you look out the window.

Belief carries with it more energy than we were ever taught in school and the brain is full of beliefs. One positive practice: Make a list of 10 beliefs you have about yourself. For example; I should always eat the food on my plate. Don’t talk about your feelings, always be strong, when the going gets tough, the tough get going… there are many. These beliefs hold energy and are zapping your energy if they don’t fit with your heart truth. What is heart truth? It is connected with your being…who you were born to be if you really look deep. Along life’s way we have many choices and forks in the road and every day we have new opportunities to make healthy choices for who we ARE. Today, Tai Chi Chih reminded me of the magic within each one of us; that it is accessible to anyone who would want it. Try a class, or better yet get trained and have a class. My belief is that mind body practices cultivate a healthy brain/body, joy and love for oneself and our world of everyday life. Breathe in and experience something new.


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