“T’ai Chi Chih will teach you T’ai Chi Chih,” Justin Stone, the originator of T’ai Chi Chih, often remarked. As my own T’ai Chi Chih practice continues to unfold and teach me, these writings, originally published in the two T’ai Chi Chih community periodicals The Vital Force and the T’ai Chi Chih News, reflect on my experience with different aspects of this mindfulness moving meditation. While Justin also commented, “The depths of the practice may never be fully plumbed,” how enriching to be moved to express, in whatever creative form specific to the individual, one’s unfolding from the inside out, moment by moment. While no particular effect is guaranteed, T’ai Chi Chih practice is known to greatly enhance creativity.
An added invitation: Justin’s great friend, Paul Reps, used to say, “The Universe is so young. While we’re waiting, why not poem a little?” I encourage people practicing T’ai Chi Chih to write about their experiences and share them with our greater T’ai Chi Chih community by submitting them to The Vital Force (email@example.com) or the T’ai Chi Chih News (firstname.lastname@example.org). You may surprise yourself when you put pen to paper, even if you don’t commonly do so.
Articles by Amy Tyksinski
The Nei Kung: Snippets from Saturday Night
Each semester, I introduce the safe and gentle Nei Kung practice (as presented in Justin Stone’s Meditation for Healing) to my beginning T’ai Chi Chih students about halfway through their semester-long class. In so doing, the Nei Kung has proven to be very helpful … Read more.
Image pose: Around the Platter
We Need Each Other
After presenting Justin’s form of Turiya meditation in two early morning optional sessions at the recent T’ai Chi Chih Teachers’ Conference in Philadelphia, I found myself sobbing in gratitude and appreciation for the support I had received from so many directions. Leading up to the Conference, … Read more.
Image pose: Around the Platter - Variation
Continuity - "Push Pull" and "Rocking Motion" Through the Lens of Expansion and Contraction
Another aspect of feeling the chi more strongly in Push Pull has to do with the palms at the backward flowing transition point of the movement. What I have observed is that practitioners loose out on the full power of both this movement and Rocking Motion by … Read more.
Image pose: Bass Drum
Wrist Vitality - Feeling the Chi
When practicing TCC, one of the essential elements to enhanced "chi" circulation in my experience is found within the wrists and knowing how to engage them in various movements. For example, while practicing "Around the Platter", take a look at the hand position when the hands are closest to the body at the center of the chest. Do the fingers droop downward? If so, lift them to neutral,… Read more.
Image pose: Daughter on the Mountain Top
10th Graders Speak on T’ai Chi Chih
“T’ai Chi Chih has been my form of stress relief, anxiety relief and safe haven for about a year. Coming into it, I thought it would be ridiculous, but it proved me wrong. In a competitive school, … Read more.
Image pose: Daughter in the Valley
“Dear New T’ai Chi Chih Student”: More Advice from High School Students to their Peers
Dear New T’ai Chi Chih Student, Welcome to T’ai Chi Chih! If you were looking for a P.E. class that will help you calm your mind, then you have chosen the right class. The movements you will learn may seem hard to you at first but don’t fret! Don’t try learning the movement and focusing on the soles of your feet at the same time! You’ll only stress yourself out even more (believe me, having a headache while doing this is hard!) Focus mainly on the movement itself, then your body will get attuned to it more as you continue … Read more.
Image pose: Push Pull
TEDx: The Growth of Certainty – Including it All TCC Conference 2013 – St. John’s College, Minnesota
An innocuous email from a technology colleague at my school arrived in my “In Box” last October. The email informed us of the upcoming TEDxABQ Symposium on “Innovations in Education” and that they were accepting proposals. … Read more.
Image pose: Pulling in the Energy
The Popping, The Fluttering (And Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My)
I have been thinking a lot lately about the “concepts” that we bring to T’ai Chi Chih practice. From a certain perspective, every single word we say not only passes through our own level of understanding and layers of conditioning in a given moment but can only be digested by another through a lens of his/her current level of understanding and layers of conditioning. … Read more.
Image pose: Basic Pulling Taffy (a)
One Breath, One Movement, One Life
While I happened to be the only one in the room at the moment when Justin died, I don’t feel that moment belongs to me. In my experience, Justin was teaching and aware up until the very end, continuing to share ineffable gifts with us all. … Read more.
Image pose: Basic Pulling Taffy (b)
What is T’ai Chi Chih to you?
While practicing T’ai Chi Chih facilitates a wordless connection, it can also be helpful to notice on a given day, in a particular moment, an answer to the question, “What is T’ai Chi Chih?” I asked my high school students this question at the end of our semester together. Below are some of their responses. … Read more.
Image pose: Working the Pulley
Tension vs. Form: How do we distinguish between the two via the forward-backward weight shift?
Recently a senior T’ai Chi Chih practitioner mentioned that she was no longer lifting up the front foot completely via the backward weight shift, as this seemed to be more relaxing for the foot. Her approach provoked an exciting internal exploration. … Read more.
Image pose: Light at the top of the Head - Light at the Temple (a)
Suffer the Leaves to Fall
Justin has often reminded us that while the leaves fall way, the tree remains the source. With which do we choose to identify?
It has been a particularly beautiful fall season in Albuquerque. Today is November 20, Justin’s birthday. A friend and I decided to go to the Bosque by the Rio Grande to celebrate this day, this teacher, this life. … Read more.
Image pose: Light at the top of the Head - Light at the Temple (b)
TEDxABQED Talk: Effects of T’ai Chi Chih on High School Students
“I just wrote a paper on Plato in an hour—usually it takes me three days!” That exclamation was made from “Mariah,” one of my high school advanced T’ai Chi Chih students. She couldn’t believe it: “The paper virtually wrote itself!” … Read more.
Image pose: Joyous Breath
Teaching Rocking Motion
For beginning students who have never been exposed to T'ai Chi Chih before, Rocking Motion is one of the most difficult movements in the series for them in which to experience "softness and continuity" early on. Instead, they frequently experience balance problems, momentum challenges and locked knees. … Read more.
Image pose: Passing Clouds
Adjustments and Jellyfish
Last year I taught a particularly challenging T’ai Chi Chih class. I suppose one could equate the discomfort I experienced with my rowdy students to a notion of form and formlessness and raise the question again (an ongoing one for me): Where is the form in the formless? Where is the formless in the form? … Read more.
Image pose: Six Healing Sounds
Swimming through Very Heavy Air
What does it mean to “swim through very heavy air?” We all had the opportunity to do some swimming at this year’s 2002 T’ai Chi Chih conference. … Read more.
Image pose: Pose of Cosmic Consciousness