floating tank how can I relax tai chi relax

Tai Chi for SeniorsRecently one of my friends came up to me holding a Groupon ad. She said, "Can you believe they have floating tanks for relaxation". She showed me the advertisement which was a photo of a tank that looked like a horizontal capsule. The tank was large enough for one person, filled with salt water and temperature controlled. It seemed like the perfect atmosphere for relaxation. At first, I was like wow, another gimmick but after some thought, this really sparked some ideas for me with regard to Tai Chi practice.

To really reap all the health benefits of Tai Chi you have to be completely relaxed. Your attention should be simultaneously all around you top, bottom, sides, front and back. You must maintain proper posture, alignment, coordinated breathing and also be rooted in the earth. This is something we all strive for when we practicing our forms but how can you teach someone this feeling who hasn't spent several years practicing Tai Chi?

My Tai Chi teachers through the years all have said to me "relax" and I tell the same thing to my students. What does it mean to relax? What is the feeling? I think it is hard to put this into words. We are all different and have all traveled so many different paths in our lives so the word relax can be interpreted in many different ways.

For the most part, almost everyone has tried to float on their back or front in a pool of water. If you haven't then it should be something you might want to try especially if you want to experience the feeling I am talking about. I think it is a must for anyone serious about Tai Chi. I believe for Tai Chi to bring us all the health benefits it is capable of we have to be a conduit for unrestricted chi flow.

How to Float

  1. Find a safe place to float. If you're a new swimmer, it's a good idea to have a friend who knows how to swim nearby.
  2. Remain relaxed while you're learning to float. Tense muscles may cause your body to be less buoyant, and shallow breathing means less air in your lungs. The air in your lungs acts as a flotation device for your chest.
  3. Walk into a shallow area of the water and kneel down so the water is about waist deep.
  4. Stretch your arms out in front of you, fill your lungs with air, tuck your head down and push off with your feet until you're in a prone position in the water. Slowly bring your arms together over your head until you're in a streamlined position. Don't kick or perform any swimming strokes.
  5. Remain in this prone, streamlined position for about 5 seconds and then stand up. Repeat this in the shallow water, until you've mastered the technique.
  6. Go out into waist-deep water. Continue to practice floating, eventually working your way out into chest-deep water.

Reference: How to float


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