On Tai Chi and Ecstacy

There have been many discussions surrounding the spiritual nature of Yoga or Tai Chi and the possible conflicts with certain religious beliefs.  Of course, many were able to conclude that they could practice Yoga or Tai Chi purely for the physical benefits without interfering with their religious beliefs.  But, I have wondered if one can fully engage these practices without overlapping into what I will call the consciousness of these forms. 

Breath and it’s circulation is a primary function of Tai Chi.  How, breath can be made to permeate the bones even, to strengthen the sinews and “wash” the marrow.  However, the breath is an important function in reaching altered states of consciousness in various religious practices around the world and was even expressed in the bible when Jesus blew breath on his disciples.   Reaching these levels of altered states of consciousness takes one into ecstacy.

Ecstacy, meaning the trance, frenzy or rapture associated with mystic or prophetic exaltation.  If one continues to fully practice Tai Chi or Yoga, will they not eventually reach this state of consciouness?  Can one study these forms without ever reaching this level?  Maybe they can, since intent has a lot to do with where one will reach.  However, I suspect those that intend to remain in their religious belief that conflict (they believe conflict as I can see not conflict) with Yoga or Tai Chi forms will eventually quit the practice to avoid reaching ecstatic states of mind, at least through these forms.    I found this video showing Li Mu Bai, the character in the film Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger, training and noticing that he appears to be in a perfect state of ecstacy while training.  

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3 comments on “On Tai Chi and Ecstacy

  1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of my favorite movies.

    I blogged about something similar before–specifically about can one be Christian and still practice yoga. The jury still seems to be out. I think it’s how one approaches his/her Christianity and what he/she understands about yoga/tai chi. To me, that ecstasy you speak of is being as close to God as possible, maybe even being completely united with It/Him/Her. I can see how that wouldn’t jibe well with someone who believes that God is above and we are here below. I can see how that would be blasphemous. I think divorcing the spiritual from the physical though weakens the practice. One might as well just stretch or something. But in the West, it seems, there’s not much of a problem presenting just the physical aspects of these ancient arts.

  2. Chi-Chi, Thanks for passing thru. I agree. It’s not fully Yoga or Tai Chi. It seems to me if we truly study our art forms we will eventually leap over into the more esoteric aspects of the arts.

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