what do astronauts and tai chi have in common?

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I’m reading Cmdr Chris Hadfield’s autobiography – An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.  In case it passed you by, he’s the utterly wonderful Canadian astronaut who, in 2013, brought amazing images/footage from space into our living rooms via social media. He’s made space “cool” again, and his cover of Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (filmed in space) is currently at 20 million+ hits.  It makes me smile every time I watch it.

So what has this to do with tai chi?  A somewhat tenuous link?   Well I’m only about 30 pages in but what emerges again and again is that word “focus”.  A very young Chris Hadfield was very clear and focussed about what he wanted to do with his life, and his decisions were shaped by that goal and that focus.  In tai chi we employ body and mind, using our mind to focus on what our body is doing, whether it’s softening, yielding, grounding or aligning, for example.  If we’re focussed, grounded and balanced, we’re in a strong position to be able to make clear choices and good decisions, in the way we move, the way we feel, and the way we respond to situations.

Cmdr Hadfield’s goal was to be an astronaut.  I’m utterly delighted he’s achieved that.  Delighted for himself as he seems a thoroughly lovely man, and also delighted for the folks like me who have relished the astonishing images he’s shared with us all, making the science accessible and fun.  

Talking of goals, a rather shorter term one, requiring some focus, is to get yourself booked on our Week of Wellness in Mallorca, 4-11 October.  Tai chi, reflexology and walks, good food and wine and wonderful surroundings.  We can’t promise you a space odyssey, though previous participants have said the week is “out of this world”!   Earlybird discounts until end of March 2014.   

Meanwhile back to my book…!

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it’s all about balance…

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balanced rocks Can Piquafort taichivinesworks 2010One of my tai chi “lightbulb” moments was when my teacher was talking about being rooted/grounded/sunk down in one side of the body, holding the body in balance with “three free limbs”. In developing that balance, through my tai chi practice, I place myself in a better position to make choices, choices about how and where I stepped.

And so it is in life. If we are in balance, physically and emotionally, we are in a strong position to take time and make choices, instead of wobbling over or bouncing around like a pinball as life comes at us from all directions. This idea has held me in good stead over the years and is now proving to be a lightbulb movement for some of my students. Fabulous.

To explore and play with your own balance, come and join us in Mallorca for our week of Tai chi, Reflexology and Walks (Oct 5-12) at the wonderful Son Ametler.  I challenge you not to feel more balanced and grounded by the end of the week. To find out more click here.