Zaha Hadid

The death of Zaha Hadid, the Iranian architect, was announced earlier this year. Zaha designed Maggies Cancer Care Centre in Kirkcaldy Fife. The building itself is the epitome of the  two great and primal energies of T'ai Chi - Yin and Yang. On the outside the building is black and angular with a rough surface, representing the traditional Fife industries of coal mining and shipbuilding. On the inside however it is white, round, soft and welcoming. East Winds has been involved teaching T'ai Chi and Qigong at Maggies since it's opening, 10 years ago. I remember my first visit with some apprehension, only to have it immediately dispelled by the sound of laughter. I taught there for 5 years before handing over to Chief Instructor Angie who continues our work there. It was one of the most fulfilling and humbling experiences of my T'ai Chi career. 

However, to return to Yin and Yang the two primal energies of T'ai Chi. We often feel out of sorts, can't be bothered and generally feeling down. This is an excess of Yin energy. On the other hand we get up-tight, angry and frustrated. This is an excess of Yang energy. Our energies are out of balance.  So how do we bring them back into balance? We can do this with a very simple exercise which I explain below.

Find a quiet room and a straight backed padded chair. Put on some soft relaxing music and sit with feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Place your back against the back of the chair and place your hands on your thighs either palm up or palm down. Look straight ahead, but don't focus on anything in particular. Close your eyes and start to breath nice and deeply. Now start at your head and begin to relax the body bit by bit, slowly. You can't rush this process. You will find that the most difficult part to relax is the mind. Don't allow the mind to wander. If it does, bring it back to the relaxed state. You can sit in this position for as long or as short a time as you wish. When you stop, open your eyes slowly and begin to flex and stretch to your arms and legs. 

This is a very short description of a very simple, but at the same time, a very complex process. Give it a try the next time you feel stressed or depressed and continual practice on a regular basis will provide huge health benefits.

That's all for now.

Alistair Sutherland
Principal Instructor

© East Winds School of T’ai Chi Ch’uan & Branklyn Web Design