When I was a teenager, I trained in Jiu Jitsu. Whenever the class was nearing the end, we would kneel and meditate for five or ten minutes. I learned to breathe and was mindful of the hara point. The Japanese believe the hara point is the center of the body. These classes were my first introduction to meditation. I found it to be very relaxing.
Many years later, I began learning Aikido. I started learning how to meditate from my sensei Edgar. Edgar was a Zen monk. He would conduct Zen meditation classes at 5 AM once a week in his home. I remember when I first tried a Zen meditation class, The black robe and chanting made me feel uncomfortable. I wasn't sure what to make of it. I knew it would improve my life and Aikido skills.
It was dark when I arrived for the 5 AM class. Edgar greeted me at the door in his black robe. When it began, I had to maintain a kneeling seated posture. There was no moving or fidgeting allowed. I remember being very uncomfortable. Although my eyes were closed, I remember sensing daylight and hearing the birds chirping. It was my cue that I made it through the class. On my drive home, I remember feeling like I just went through hell. No matter what happened later that day I was ready for anything. These classes didn't last. Unfortunately, I never made meditation a daily practice. The experience was well worth it.
The moment I walked into a Tai Chi class, I devoted myself. I practiced Tai Chi daily without fail. Because Tai Chi is a form of moving meditation, I reaped the benefits of a daily meditation practice. When I began learning and practicing Tai Chi, I knew of its meditative aspects. I didn't know how it would positively affect life. I learned about breathing, alignment, correct posture, being mindful, and coordinating my body with every movement. I began to understand the importance of connecting to the ground and rooting. All of these realizations found during my Tai Chi practice have greatly improved my understanding of the other martial arts I practiced. Tai Chi Chuan has made me a better martial artist. Tai Chi has improved my boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, and wrestling skills. Tai Chi has improved my life and the way I deal with stress.
First thing when I open my eyes in the morning until I retire to sleep at night, Tai Chi principles are in my every action. I highly recommend Tai Chi Chuan.
Its benefits are out of this world.