A few years ago I had a huge personal goal for myself – to add more balance to my life. Although it hasn’t happened overnight, I am proud to say I did add more balance –literally, with Taiji.
Can Taiji Help you Become a Better Leader? #TaijiTruth
Looking back- my Taiji journey began during a business trip to Taipei, Taiwan.
And what a fantastic culture and city. I highly recommend adding Taipei to your travel bucket list.
As I traveled through the city, I came upon a group of people practicing martial arts outside in a park and in front of a large Buddha. I was intrigued by the beauty in the slow, deliberate, and graceful movements I observed. The visual for me felt like a creative, artistic form of dance for the soul. What perhaps stood out even more, however, was the overwhelming spirit of peace that embodied the martial artists.
Being inquisitive I chatted with people around me and learned I was observing Taiji practice. I wanted to learn more so I turned to my next resource- Google. This form of martial arts, which focuses on breathing and clearing your mind, dates back 2500 years. At the highest level, a Master practitioner can use a small amount of energy to neutralize the physical force of an attacker. The more I learned, the more I wanted to continue to learn, and I soon began to immerse myself in the practice of Taiji. I fell in love with this practice of the mind, body, and spirit. How might it impact me and those around me both personally and professionally were a few of the questions and ideas popping into my mind.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Mindfulness practice [such as Taiji and yoga] can address multiple workplace wellness needs, benefiting both employees and employers.” #taijitruth I am living proof through practice and experience.
Taiji is the practice of honing one’s chi — the life-giving, vital energy that connects body, mind, and spirit. #taijitruth
I walk away from a demanding and high-stress job – and into my Taiji class. I leave class – every Taiji class – with a more peaceful energy. Sounds like an oxymoron. Can Taiji help you become a better leader? Yes – my data is me!
Similar to the yin-yang symbol, tai chi practices finding the correct balance between intention and patience. #taijitruth
One must have the intention to work hard and succeed, while also understanding success will not come without the proper patience. #taijitruthhttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiji_(philosophy)
Simple body movements have shown to have immense effects on those who truly want to benefit, including the potential to literally alter brain chemistry.
This form of meditation results in the clearing of one’s mind and promotes a sense of calm and heightened awareness. As mapped by an electroencephalograph (EEG), brain activity can alter significantly during meditation, especially among alpha waves, which are associated with the relaxation of the entire nervous system.
For me, clearing my mind opens me up to new ideas and creativity, while reducing stress, which results in more productive days. Instead of feeling the burn at work, I step back and find my chi. Another #taijitruth
Taiji can also have considerable physical benefits that could be crucial for productivity. #taijitruth
According to a study reported by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a group of men and women with chronic back pain discovered reduced back pain and improved daily functioning as a result of tai chi practice. Taiji and similar practices have been shown to improve bone density, cardiovascular health, and overall quality of life, among other health-related improvements, as well.
In an office environment where sitting at a desk takes up the majority of each day, the relief Taiji provides can prove to be instrumental to employee health. In fact, Continental Airlines experienced a decrease in the cost of workplace injuries by 45% – and the company had introduced mind-body wellness exercises akin to tai chi less than 2 years prior.
I know I’ve never felt better.
Your employees can benefit too.
If you sense a lull in workplace morale, it might be time to get out of those desk chairs and reap the benefits tai chi has been providing globally for over two millennia.
Employees with a healthy work-life balance are a great asset! In fact, studies have shown this type of group wellness program has provided overall profit. Coca-Cola reported a $500 saving per employee per year in regard to healthcare claims after wellness programs were implemented. The calming benefits of Taiji can aid in creating the type of positive energy that a productive worker needs.
How else can my team and others around me benefit? I am very much a visual so I do practice – visually in my head. It’s all about my Taiji energy. My reduced stress opens my mind to a creative energy that benefits me and my business and in turn, has a positive effect on all of those around me. Ask them! #taijitruth
If you’re interested in pursuing tai chi for personal or business reasons – or both, like me – I have 3 pieces of wisdom.
- Find the right fit for you.
The right location, the right master. First identify exactly what you want to accomplish and that will help you in your search. I searched for a few years and it was worth the wait.
I’ve stuck with it through life’s many ups and downs and it has paid off more than I could have ever anticipated. Even on days when I arrive to class completely exhausted, I leave refreshed, energized, and relaxed. My classmates and I call this feeling “Taiji qi.” (“Qi” meaning energy.)
- Own it!
I know I do. Spread the word to others about the countless benefits of taiji practice. My friends, family, and colleagues see the effects of Taiji firsthand. It has created a ripple effect around me since I feel better all-around and can better relate to those around me. What’s more? My grandchildren think I’m a superstar. It’s an amazing way to be in existence! When I leave class wearing my martial arts uniform – it’s a conversation starter and my team has come to expect to see me wearing it at the office.
Like all things, you will progress as you learn more and you will become better with practice. How can Taiji help you become a better leader? Apply some of these ideas:
My Grandmaster teaches us to chase the knowledge- not the belt.
In fact, the knowledge I have gained over my years of practice has impacted all areas of my life – including my professional life as a leader in my technology business. As a business leader, I am constantly searching for creative methods to maintain a motivated and collaborative atmosphere within the workplace.
It’s funny, because I can be in front of billion-dollar high-level company leaders and not feel nearly as nervous as when I am standing in a dark room, under a spotlight, about to perform in front of 200 people for a final test to achieve my next level of growth in my practice. The experience is very formal, intimidating, and humbling. It’s been a huge personal growth experience.
More knowledge – TAIJI is not for OLD PEOPLE!
Early into my journey, many people I told about my new interest voiced an uninformed opinion “Taiji is for old people”. Loving a good challenge- I set out to prove them wrong utilizing my knowledge and through my practice. It takes the highest levels of commitment on many levels – mind, body and spirit. #taijitruth
I shared my journey on social media. What happened?
My 20-something year old star-athlete nephew was actually inspired to pursue Taiji after seeing one of my Instagram posts! He sees benefits for all athletes, and I love the different thinking here. He has even traveled to China to learn more; and I plan to do the same. So much for “old people”. It’s all about longevity. #taijitruth
Last week I was completely and utterly shocked to discover that my Grandmaster honored me as Tai Ji Student of the Month. It wasn’t an award I had applied for or even known that I was in contention for. It is an award that I can entirely call my own. Taiji is my personal journey. To be recognized for my progress and commitment is an honor and I am humbled.
Here’s to you and your life’s journey whatever that might be.
I would like to thank my Master, Grandmaster Kuek, at the USA Masters Academy in Victor, NY. Master Kuek teaches me the Taiji philosophy of self-improvement in addition to self-defense and fitness.
How do you spell Taiji? Taiji or Tai Chi? I use both interchangeably. Learn more about the spelling variations here.