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Relax

"That's not 'relax' as I would slump into a sofa, but rather to relax as to play an instrument or be creative. Relaxed concentration."Additional Info:


T'ai chi relaxation techniques.

RelaxBy "Relax" we don't mean the kind of relaxation achieved by slumping into a chair with a bottle of red wine. In practising Tai Chi, you'll hear "Relax" come up very often, which of course, immediately makes you feel tense. The relaxation that is being described is the type of mental state you feel when you are comfortable with the actions you are doing. So, if you enjoy sport, you are generally relaxed, but you still apply concentration to achieve a good result. If you enjoy crosswords, you are relaxed, but you're still having to think and ponder.
 
Benefit. The benefit of this type of relaxed concentration is it takes your mind off your daily worries and stresses. It allows you for a brief period to calm yourself with a subject that is outside your usual pre-occupations. Once you've achieved that, hopefully the feeling lasts beyond the training session. It also give you something to falll back on in times of stress or illness, which as you progress can be switched on and off as you feel the need.

In Practise. You should try to concentrate on what you are doing. Sometimes you might think about your breathing, sometimes about remembering where to stand. If you are thinking about shopping, that won't work. As you progress and become familiar with the movements and breathing, you won't be thinking of anything at all. At that point you have achieved a state of meditation. But you will only be aware of it after you leave that state.

A true state of meditation comes with practise and experience, but it does come to all. When you are really familiar with the moves and comfortable with your breathing, you can block out distractions and worries of the day. You will start to experience a realisation you don't need to concentrate. When you first start, that idea is hard to believe (If you drive, you may have already felt this experience and given it no thought). Experienced drivers may have noticed this effect when you safely arrive at a familiar point and realise you can't remember a section of the journey you've just negotiated, including traffic lights and crossroads.

Inexperienced drivers refer to this as a crash. They were just thinking about something else instead of concentrating on their driving.

So, first one has to put in a small amount of effort to learn, then comes the relaxation. Also don't rule out the settee and red wine.
Photo of Karen Samuel - The Tai Chi Club 2010