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Im doing mahasi style meditaiton with labeling - is it possible to do thai-chi and this type of noting ? should it be just "moving moving moving" non stop ?

also to save me some time - when people usually do thai chi what are they thinking about exactly (if they are good practitioners of thai chi) ? cause i tried to find out online and couldnt

why i practice thai chi ? manly as a positive way to pass the time and but also i really want to get some cool out of the norm experiences to help strength my believe in not "normal" scientific stuff

i wanted to gain cool out of the ordinary experiences in meditation to increase my faith and by that my will to meditate more - but i hope maybe thai chi can do it more easily - cause my vipassana practice is just boring no cool nimmitias just good old worries doubts and expectations etc

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  • Are you familiar with the expression "a watched pot never boils"? If you keep looking for an otherworldly experience, it's never going to come. – user698 Jul 9 '17 at 13:06
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Im doing mahasi style meditaiton with labeling - is it possible to do thai-chi and this type of noting ? should it be just "moving moving moving" non stop ?

Of course. Noting can (and should) be applied to all mental and bodily activity.

But do not use "moving, moving" for all movements. As in walking meditation we use both lifting, moving, placing, touching. You can use similar noting in Tai Chi, e.g. moving, turning, lifting, pushing, pulling etc.

Keep it simple.

Btw - Tai Chi is great. I teach it to my coworkers 2 times a week followed by sitting meditation. I too note movements when doing it.

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  • and it wont distract from how one should do tai-chi ? what people usually focus on - the breath ? or maybe tingling feeling (i remembered now it made me think of practicing tai chi cause i got tingling felling once) ? – breath Jul 8 '17 at 21:27
  • also sent you an email – breath Jul 8 '17 at 21:28
  • Well, yes normally people focus on the breath. In-breath is on moving up and out-breath on moving down. I teach that to my coworkers - its only me who notes, since I'm practicing the burmese method. Tai chi is great for noting, due to the slow nature of the movements. Its a good way (together with walking meditation) to transition mindfulness from cushion practice into daily life. – user2424 Jul 8 '17 at 21:37
  • i understand the tingling feeling is chi btw ---- dont you wonder maybe your missing some cool experiences by not focusing on the breath ? cause im really looking for cool experiences out of the ordinary (dont want to switch to samatah for them and vipassana is the thing im intersted in just trying to find the fastest and easiest way to get cool expirences without using drugs of course) – breath Jul 8 '17 at 21:44
  • I don't look for anything, I just observe and note. – user2424 Jul 8 '17 at 21:48
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is it possible to do tai-chi and this type of noting?

I would not have thought so, but maybe that's because I'm not good enough at labeling and/or at tai chi.

Labeling is not what I was taught to do, when I was taught tai chi.

I find that tai chi is so complicated, or so immersive, that it seems to shut off the verbal part of my mind. When I'm 'doing nothing' (when I'm not practicing tai chi) I tend to visualize and verbalize. Ditto when I'm doing something simple, e.g. bicycling: less visualization when bicycling (I have real-world things to look at), but still verbalizing.

But doing Tai Chi there are many things to think about:

  • Breathing, in or out
  • How breathing affects the current movement
  • Posture (spine) and balance (on the weighted foot and knee)
  • Movement (push or pull, and twist/rotate) of four limbs
  • The sequence within the form

I try to experience (to get feedback from) the form and the feeling.

See also this list of 'fundamental principles' which you're supposed to obey no matter which form or movement of the form you're doing ... on top of which, there are forms to learn and practice (I'm linking to Chen-style but I suppose other styles are similar).

when people usually do thai chi what are they thinking about exactly

Maybe it depends on how adept you are.

When you're learning to speak (a non-tonal language), one of the things you concentrate on the sound of syllables. What does "oo" sound like? What does "b" sounds like? What about "boo"? Similarly a tai chi beginner learns many syllables (fragments of movement), like, what's it like to "push your hand forward while rotating the wrist but keeping your shoulder down and back": what does it feel like and how do you do it?

Also you might practice just one move from a form, as a drill, for example, "wave hands like clouds"; or a drill, like, "peng lu ji an".

Then you learn a 'form' which is a sequence of moves (e.g. this sequence). You have to learn and practice each move in sequence: how to do it (what the components of the move are), how it starts, what's in the middle, how it ends, what the next move will be, what it's called, and what the 'practical' purpose of the move is.

You may (optionally) be naming each move (e.g. "Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar") as you do it; and/or the teacher may be naming each move (to try to remind students which is the current move).

Unless you're a learner or a teacher though, I don't think to try to label in this way, though of course you're more-or-less aware of what you're doing.

When I first learned the form I was told to just "breathe naturally". After I had learned the (external) form (sequence of moves) well enough to be able to practice it, I started to learn how/when to breathe when practicing it, i.e. exhaling during a push and breathing in when contracting, i.e. to integrate breathing. So now when I practice the form, I think of it as a sequence of balanced breaths:

  • Breathing in (and contracting)
  • Breathing out (and stepping or expanding)
  • Breathing in again, etc.
  • While keeping my balance
  • While moving through the steps of the form

We're also told to think about your dantian i.e. to keep your energy there, close to the ground or rooted (according to the teacher, usually people's energy is up in their head, which is why they're so unbalanced or easy to unbalance).

Two more things to think abut when doing a solo form:

  • Skeleton (you're supported on your skeleton, so the skeleton should be upright and balanced, while the flesh is relaxed ... or "bone rises, flesh sinks" as the teacher put it)
  • Apparently, there's "spiralling energy" associated with your bone marrow (this is an example of the type of thing, which the teacher described and which I'm not sure I ever cottoned on to)

Finally, a teacher might need to be able to label it, i.e. to explain what they're doing (everything they're doing, or anything their students are doing) in any amount of detail.

i really want to get some cool out of the norm experiences to help strength my believe in not "normal" scientific stuff

I haven't experienced any too-miraculous chi phenomena, so maybe I only experienced "normal scientific stuff".

On the other hand I do remember being pleased, after an early lesson: that I'd been to school for so many years but that nobody had ever really taught me how to walk before! So it's quite practical: good for posture and balance and flexibility and coordination and so on; and hopefully you'll enjoy the company of the people you do it with.

just good old worries doubts and expectations etc

As I said, for me it shuts down verbalizing and so on; so part of what's pleasant about it is that it's a break from "old worries" and so on. Instead my "worry" is whether I'm keeping my balance while I'm moving three limbs while standing on one foot! And breathing! And I've practiced enough now to be successful at that, so no worries!


Incidentally I read once that there are different ways of learning:

  • By seeing
  • By hearing
  • By doing

Different people may have different preferences about how they're taught:

  • Don't just tell me, show me!
  • Don't just show it, explain it!
  • Let me try it for myself!

Although I answered "no" to your question, I see Lanka answered "yes, of course". Other people might be more verbal, skilled at verbalizing or labelling, than I am. And if he's currently teaching it, maybe that helps to require him to label it (for his students' benefit).


One of the things I'm concentrating on when practicing a form is a physical awareness than something is mis-aligned and needs to be moved.

Given that there's constant motion over the whole body there's always something (multiple things) that need to be moved. So I might have a thought like,

"My kua (pelvis) feels like it's pointing towards the right and needs to be more centered."

Having formed the thought (that the kua is out of alignment) I correct that. The practice is to get better integrated.

I can read text faster than people talk. Similarly it seems to me that when practicing Tai Chi I'm aware of sensations faster than I can label them. It also seems to me that labelling sensations isn't the point of the exercise, that the point is to correct sensations associated with doing it wrong (also to keep the body comfortable, nourished with breath and lubricated by exercising the joints, and to keep the mind as clear as possible).

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  • A gross way to think of spiraling is to first understand it as torque. Think of coming up into a bow stance into a ward off position. The entire body uncoils. Eventually, you start to break down that coarse spiral into it's aggregate parts - e.g. the spiraling of each leg, the spiraling through the torso, the turning of the dantien, into the arms, etc. And then you repeat the inverse spiral as the body retracts. According to classical tai chi, that supposedly all happens in the marrow - which I think just complicates the issue for a modern practitioner. – user698 Jul 9 '17 at 13:00
  • what about the breathing ? i mean in vipassana you dont control it here you control when you inhale and when you exhale – breath Jul 20 '17 at 15:46

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