The Tai Chi Boating Wand is a gentle therapeutic exercise, a moving meditation, an evolution of Tai Chi - and a branch of Qigong! It features traditional Chinese boating movements such as rowing, turning rudders and punting. The routine consists of a continuous flow of linked movements performed holding a pole or stick about 48 inches in length. Postures are coordinated with deep diaphragmatic breathing, precise footwork, and frequent changes of weight.
When performing this gentle exercise we are taken on a mental journey through flowing rivers, deep gorges and placid lakes. It is a mindful moving meditation - a gateway to a calm peaceful mind and an uplifted spirit. The performance of the form fosters discipline and mindful Focus.
Sitting at desks, using computers, laptops, game consoles, TV remote controls, tablets and smart phones may result in postural problems such as forward neck posture, slouched posture and hunching. The Boating Wand is a perfect remedy for modern day lifestyle because of the unique method of holding the wand; the wide grip gives the arms and shoulders a comprehensive range of movement and improves posture.
The gentle circular and spiral patterns, the hand, wrist and finger tasking, the coordination of the entire body, thke constant weight changes, encouragement of excellent posture and body alignment.
The focus of the Tai Chi Boating Wand is diaphragmatic breathing coordinated with each movement. Breathing in this way in conjunction with holding the wand in a wide grip opens the chest and increases lung capacity.
These qualities make the Boating Wand a perfect exercise activity for a wide range of people, young and old alike.
In 2011 I wrote a book about a Chinese exercise that uses a four-foot bamboo pole. One of the unique features was that by holding the wand in a wide grip we simulate a pyramid structure between wand and the body. The 17 exercises (10 standing and 7 floor) can be used as a stand-alone routine - a comprehensive daily health and fitness program for everyone. The routine can also be serve as a warm-up for Tai Chi classes or other activities and sports. After I had been using these 17 Exercises as a warm up for my own Tai Chi classes I wondered whether I could perform Tai Chi while continuing to hold the wand in the same wide "pyramid structure" grip. The result is the Tai Chi Boating Wand. It can be a moving meditation practised by itself or, if practiced after the 17 Exercises it complements the static stretching and strengthening with continually moving, constantly flowing set of postures; creating spirals and circles with the wide arms which gently twist the spine, massage the internal organs and loosen the joints.
The 17 Exercises and the Tai Chi Boating Wand serve as a "Yang’ and "Yin’ and together they form a Golden Routine which I perform each day.