My own preferred relaxation technique is the Chi Walk. “Chi” is the Chinese concept of the life force. Chi is in a constant state of flow throughout the body. It is when Chi is blocked up somewhere that we don’t feel well.
One of the best ways to keep your Chi flowing and feel great is to study Tai Chi Chuan. This is the beautiful, slow-motion martial art that people practice in parks. I took up Tai Chi about a year ago, and I only regret not having started sooner. For the first time in my life, I know what it is to feel graceful. Not all the time, of course, but often enough to make it all worthwhile.
The only problem with Tai Chi is that studying takes time. But I have found a shortcut. Many of the good feelings of mental and physical relaxation in Tai Chi can be enjoyed with just one movement. All you have to do is walk in the Tai Chi way for a few minutes.
Moving in this way is helpful for those of us who have trouble sitting and meditating. When I try to just sit and breathe, my mind starts producing thousands of unhelpful thoughts. But when I focus on this walking movement, I can get settled and relax.
The Chi Walk
Here’s how to walk in the Tai Chi way. Try it for five or ten minutes at a time, as many times a day as you feel like it. It can help to put you in the right frame of mind to stay ahead of your emotions.
Stand in a straight, relaxed posture with your hands behind your back.
Step forward with your left foot.
Shift your weight back. Raise the toes of the left foot.
Turn your left foot out. How much you turn out depends on your own sense of balance.
Plant the left foot on the ground, and start shifting your weight forward.
Raise your right foot, bringing it towards your center line.
Curve the right foot out and place it silently on the ground. Shift your weight to your right foot.
Shift your weight back, raising the toes of the right foot.
Turn the right foot out, and plant it.
Start shifting your weight forward and raise your left foot.
Arc your left foot through your center line, and place it silently in front of you.
Plant the left foot on the ground, and shift your weight to the left foot.
Putting it all together
When you put it altogether, it will look like this:
You just want to get a nice, slow, flowing motion going. It should require just enough concentration to keep you focused, not enough to stress you. This is the idea of mindfulness practice, doing one simple thing with your full attention.
Try doing this for five minutes two or three times a day. It will help to put you in a calm frame of mind, so that the frustrations of life will be less likely to spark your anger.
And, if anger does strike, it will be a little easier to apply the relaxation techniques of the previous post.
You’ll be fine.