Equestrian Tai Chi has many levels for developing self-awareness
First of all there is Physical Awareness
One of the things that Equestrian Tai Chi does is to develop our awareness of our physical self, to become more aware of our body and how it moves.
- What is easy for us to do, what is hard for us to do?
- Why can’t we perform a seemingly simple movement?
- Is is easier to be more fluid on one side? How can we make the other side more like that?
- Why is it so hard for us to figure a movement out? It looks so easy in the beginning, it is easy! Well if it’s easy, why on earth can’t we do it then?
This is part of the joy of Tai Chi and by extension Equestrian Tai Chi, it challenges us and intrigues us and brings us deeper into ourselves. It draws us to fixate on something until we can get an overall grasp of it, and then as our practice allows us to absorb more, it gradually becomes clearer.
Time seems to stop in the outside world as we do this, and yet time goes by really quickly for us, as we have become absorbed in our practice.
As we practice Equestrian Tai Chi, we develop awareness of the physiological affect it has on our body.
- If we pay attention, we can feel our blood flowing to our fingertips and back again through our hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders as we perform the movements. We notice our body feeling fuller and warmer with the increased blood flow.
- In time and with continued practice we can begin to feel our Chi flowing inside our bodies. Then we can bring our energy all through our body in an unbroken golden thread, following it’s pathway as we perform the movements.
- We may notice ourselves feeling more calm and still inside, as our nervous system starts to respond to our practice.
Equestrian Tai Chi makes us aware of underlying emotions.
Sometimes in the stillness of our practice, we can become aware of an underlying emotion, that dominates how we habitually feel – our state of being. This is because Tai Chi practice not only increases the physical energy of our body, it also increases our emotional energy.
When an emotion or emotions come to the surface for our attention like this, we can become aware of how they’re affecting us. Are these positive emotions that are benefitting us? Or are they emotions that limit us and prevent us from appearing as who we really are?
What are these emotions that dominate us? – While we’re practicing, if we can let them play out for a few moments and observe them critically, we can see how they’re affecting not only the physiology of our body, but also our thoughts.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps us to be aware of our thoughts.
Our thoughts and emotions are very closely linked. When we feel an emotion, it gives rise to thoughts that have to do with it, then these thoughts cause us to feel the emotion even more – and so on until a cycle is formed, where the thoughts perpetuate the emotions and vice versa. The more often we do this, the easier it is to slip into this way of feeling and thinking, until it eventually becomes a habit or a way of being.
When a way of feeling and thinking has become hardwired in us, it can become a filter through which we experience and relate to the world, it can be in place without us even being aware that it’s there.
Our underlying emotions and thoughts can control without us realising.
Equestrian Tai Chi not only helps us become aware of our limiting thoughts and feelings, it also helps to move the dull, heavy energy relating to them, that hides our true nature, our joy and our positivity.
Equestrian Tai Chi is a medium through which we can develop our self awareness through our energy bodies in simple and yet profound ways.
Wu Wei and Ziran are Taoist concepts that encourage us to be natural, therefore making it easier for our horse to connect with us.
Your horse will be drawn more to connect with you if you can do things in an easy and effortless way when you’re with him. In Taoism the term for doing things in an easy and effortless way is Wu Wei (wei sounds like ‘way’ in English). It is literally translated as ‘non action’ and can be interpreted to mean action without effort.
There’s another Taoist quality or concept that makes us attractive to horses and that is Ziran. Ziran literally means ’self so’. It can be interpreted to mean being natural and spontaneous.
Wu Wei and Ziran are Taoist concepts that are found in the Taodejing, written circa 400 B.C.
The philosophy of Tai Chi, and by extension, Equestrian Tai Chi®, comes from Taoism.
Taoism is the ancient, mystical, spiritual philosophy of China. Its emphasis is on living in balance and harmony with the natural world.
The Tao means The Way, to follow The Tao, means to follow the natural course of life. (It is pronounced Dao, rhymes with now)
Taoism has three major classical literary works which form the foundation for it’s teachings:-
- The I Ching (Classic Book of Changes).
- The Taodeching (The Way and it’s Virtue) written by Lao Tzu.
- The Book of Chuang Tzu, written by Chuang Tzu.
The I Ching is called The Book of Changes because it offers the reader a way of understanding the nature of the flow of change in The Universe.
Being Spontaneous in the Taoist sense is different to the meaning we give it in English.
Spontaneity is one of the main concepts in Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu and the Taodejing are the two major foundation works of Taoist philosophy. Chuang Tzu is attributed to Chuang Tzu (born circa 369 B.C) and his work simply bears his name.