Birthing Life T'ai-Chi



Learning T’ai-Chi

How To Begin







Classes held at
Twin Cities Friends Meeting
1725 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
and via Zoom

Introduction to Birthing Life T’ai-Chi

Birthing Life T’ai-Chi offers a reflective and awareness-expanding approach to learning the art of T’ai-Chi. Just as everything in nature is born into natural cycles of motion—sprouting seeds, gathering thunderclouds, igniting stars—through T’ai-Chi we can experience how our bodies move as part of the natural cycles of motion. T’ai-Chi also invites us to release movement pattens that may work against our body’s natural motion.

During T’ai-Chi practice we gently move attention into places inside our bodies where we can perceive the difference between movement that flows with ease and movement that is strained. Through this discernment we can become aware of habitual movement patterns. For example, one pattern that many people experience is overexertion or pushing too much when it is not necessary and can even get in the way. T’ai-Chi helps us notice when we “over do it”, where we feel excessive pushing in our bodies, and offers approaches to releasing the pattern and related tension.

As we let go of habitual patterns we open to authentic, unconditioned movement and the wild presence of chi inside and around our bodies. The feeling of chi is personal to each of us, but often feels like a tingle, buzzing, warmth, or flow. T’ai-Chi movements cultivate chi flow and the ability to feel chi which helps us deepen relaxation and follow how our bodies naturally move.

T’ai-Chi continually invites us to consciously occupy the interior of our bodies, particularly the center or dan t’ian in the lower abdomen just below the navel. Moving our bodies from the center offers leverage to release the most power with the least amount of effort by accessing the birthing quality of movement. Like the hatching of a delicate hummingbird or wind moving through tall prairie grasses, movements in T’ai- Chi originate from the center of the body and flow outward through the arms and legs. As the martial artist yields to this spontaneous flow, chi releases into powerful blocks, strikes and kicks.

As we move from the center and feel chi flow, we experience the complementary and interdependent yin and yang aspects of movement. For example, feeling one leg filling as the other leg empties, feeling the front side of the body releasing outward as the back side of the body stretches vertically, or feeling the breath filling fully and then turning to emptying. Experiencing yin and yang while practicing T’ai-Chi helps us sense the interconnected motion of everything inside and around us.

While T’ai-Chi is not physically strenuous, the practice includes several cross-lateral motions that require coordinating movement across both sides of the body including motions where arms or legs cross the body’s centerline. These motions open doors to new ways of moving which can integrate physiology and support brain plasticity. Research has identified several positive health effects related to T’ai-Chi and how it can help treat or prevent many health problems.

And while T’ai-Chi can be challenging, the effects are often described as lightening and uplifting. The subtle feelings of motion and chi flow can offer profound insight. One of our students once said she experiences a “waft of the divine” while practicing T’ai-Chi. Another student often reminds us during class with a smile, “This is all sort of magical.”