When we communicate with each other, experts tell us our body language makes up for a whopping 55% of that message. Because our inner feelings are expressed, whether we intend them or not, through the physical actions of our body, it’s impossible to separate what we are doing and what we are thinking, especially when we exercise.
Some key principles of Tai Chi is to use your imagination and to smile. There exists two forms of communication, where we talk to others and also when we talk to ourselves via that voice in our head and the most positive forms of communication is smiling. How we feel during exercise is mirrored by our body language and a simple smile or a good, honest, hearty laugh can and will do wonders for releasing any pent up stress, anxiety or tension.
A smile has a profound effect on our internal organs. When your facial muscles relax, this can be seen around the eyes and mouth and you will simply go with the flow. Regular practise will condition smiling into a basic neuromuscular pattern.
Life sure can trip us up in all kinds of ways, and going with the flow can be a challenge for the most positive souls every now and then, as I found only last week. Now you might think yours truly never loses the plot, because it would simply be bad for my image, but ego has a way of setting traps of distraction even when things are going well for us.
I recently produced a 10 page handout for my students and wanted to jazz it up with a good photograph. I asked my wife to use one of the pictures we took on a bright summer’s day last year.
I remember that day distinctly because as I began getting into classic Tai Chi poses my four year old son decided he wanted to be in on the action. There I was trying to get a really good Classic Tai Chi pose going, but my son saw this as great entertainment and kept interrupting. I started to lose my self control as he kept on jumping in and out of the shot. And I remember my wife telling me to follow my own advice and “Relax and Go with the Flow, one of the pictures is bound to be good!” .
So last week my wife assured me that she had chosen the ideal picture and she would down load it on to my handout, and print them out. Everything would be prepared and I didn’t have to worry.
When I got to the Tai Chi classes here in Cork, I was delighted and full of confidence that my preparation was going to pay off and couldn’t wait to give out the lovely handouts.
When I opened the case I saw my son’s free-spirited and carefree smiling face jump out at me and this, in stark contrast my tense outline in the background.
My first reaction was horror as I had over 60 printed. Frantically reaching for my phone, I was about to rant and rage only to be greeted by my wife’s well timed text which read…
“Hope you like the photo and don’t forget to smile!”
The reaction to the photo of my students was also to smile, so in the end, it was absolutely perfect. I learnt the lesson again…If we think tense, we become tense… If we allow ourselves to get irate we have only ourselves to blame. Now I reckon we all learned this before and we all know it to be true. Still we all need reminding of this valuable lesson, once in a while, regardless of who the teacher is or the circumstance…
Looking forward to teaching, learning and smiling with you all again, because February is going to be a great month!
Instructor of Tai Chi Classes Cork