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    Tai chi teaches us to create a harmonious experience of ourselves in each moment. It's how we learn to form a positive connection with who we are and, from here, form positive connections with everyone we touch.
    Of course, it takes some practice—but it's not complicated. Your body responds really well to what you do every day, both for better and worse. So it's important to do something good every day. Even better, it's important to do something that teaches you about your body, your mind, and how to move more easily through your life.
    There are a few steps to follow for developing your abilities here, and I'll share them with you below. Keep in mind that progress isn't linear. You begin at the beginning, but continue circling back through each of the steps. Your experience of them will be completely different after a few weeks, again after a few months, and again after a few decades.
    This is one of the things I love about tai chi—it's a sustainable practice for life. You can be much better when you're 40 than when you're 20, and again when you're 80 than when you're 40, at finding harmony in your body and mind, creating a positive connection with yourself and others, and handling all kinds of challenge with ease.
    Right now, wherever you are is a good time and place to begin.

    Practical philosophy.

    Learn the mindset and approach of tai chi, and put it into practice in your everyday life. You can begin with simple things, like tai chi exercises, or a fitness class. From here, your practice will form a new set of habits that become your way of being, something that shapes your life for the better when things get more complicated.

    Elements 1 and 2 : Softness and breath practice.

    Explore the first two practicable elements of tai chi: softness, as a way of practicing with your mind, and breath, as a way of practicing with your energy. This will begin to help you move nicely in your life.

    Exercise 1:

    Stand up for a moment. Now flex every muscle you have and lock every joint in your body. From here, try to walk. It doesn't work, right? OK, let's try something different. Take a deep breath and shake that off. Give your whole body a little shimmy that ripples through every inch of you.
    To get that ripple effect, your joints will unlock, and your muscles will let go of some of that tension. This is the beginning of softness: the ability to move without inhibiting your own movement. The practice of softness progresses when it begins with your mind. Your body follows your mind.

    Exercise 2:

    Stay standing, and give yourself another full-body shimmy, allow a rippling wave to pass through every inch of you. Now close your eyes, and take an extra-long, extra-deep breath in. Hold for a moment at the top, and then take an extra-long, extra-unhurried exhale. Repeat this a few more times.

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