4 Tai Chi Visualizations

How to keep your mind focused on a relaxing, refreshing word, phrase or thought

Tai chi is sometimes referred to as "moving meditation." When meditating, it is common to visualize something that will help you relax or focus. However, different people might visualize different things and have different visualization techniques. Here are a few different methods of tai chi visualization:

Mantra visualization

In mantra meditation, one visualizes a word or phrase that comforts or empowers them. The word or phrase is repeated mentally. Mayo Clinic recommends repeating a soothing word that will help tune-out distractions and interrupting thoughts. One might visualize the word itself, in its written form, so that it becomes embedded in the mind. Or, one may visualize some image or icon that represents one's mantra. For example, if one's mantra were "strength," one might conjure an image of a lion, an animal that represents strength.

Location visualization

Some, during the practice of tai chi, may picture a location where they feel at peace. For many, that location is a favorite vacation spot like an isolated beach, or in the middle of a quiet forest. Whatever location you choose, it should serve to relax you. The next time you are at that location, pay special attention to your senses. Remember as much as you can, as it will help you more accurately visualize this place when practicing your tai chi forms.

Goal Visualization

As you move through your tai chi forms and meditate, you may choose to think about something you want to accomplish. Seeing something happen in your mind before it really does happen can help focus your thoughts and prepare you to actually step into the position you have been visualizing. If you're seeking to lose weight, for example, keep picturing how you will look once the pounds are off. Imagine you are already losing weight as you breathe and move. Goal visualization may even help you overcome sickness, according to Glenda Hesseltine, a certified tai chi healer who also has an M.A. in counseling psychology.

Chakra visualization

The first chakra point is in between the eyebrows, just above the top of the nose. The second is the solar plexus, located at the bottom of the sternum. The third is the "dantian," or the point just an inch or two below the navel — the human body's physical center of gravity.

Hilda Wei Williams, a qigong instructor and founder of Chi-kung Unlimited, an organization formed to educate people about Chinese practices, says that you should visualize energy being stored at one of those three chakras. By envisioning energy buildup at your chakra points during a tai chi exercise, you can release stress and improve body processes.

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