Combining Yoga and Tai Chi: The Power of Fusion

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Is it a good idea to combine different forms – like tai chi and yoga – together in one class? This idea of fusion comes up quite a lot, and the answer might have something to do with purpose. What do we want to share with people? Why are we looking to mix things up?

Strala follows a mindset, approach, and set of principles for moving well in your life. We practice this together now through a few different form vocabularies, including yoga, tai chi, traditional Chinese medicine, and also our regular human vocabulary – how we navigate through life each day. So whatever vocabulary you pick for practice, the underlying principles are all the same.

Within a practice class, we tend to follow a single vocabulary. The forms make sense in connection with each other. For example in tai chi, if you move well within the context of connecting with another person – whether for combat or healing, disabling or enabling – the tai chi form arises naturally. Same for yoga. Moving well within a context, a purpose, gives rise to the form. So there’s a logic to the forms, which creates the right structure for people to learn how to move well.

That said, could you warm up or wind down with some different forms? I don’t think this is impossible. Just keep your eye on what you want to create here, so you don’t wander into variation for the sake of variation.

Uniqueness and variety comes from inside each of us, so we’re not looking for the sequence to create this. It’s just there as a structure for practice. We’re each plenty entertaining on our own, when we are what we are. Which means we let the form arise out of us. We’re not here to make copies.

So to get there, keep guiding forms that flow naturally together. This gives us all a good structure for learning a couple of big things. First to move nicely – peacefully – when habit might lead us to go to war with challenge. And second to move naturally – efficiently and harmoniously – when habit might be to disconnect, immobilize, and wear ourselves out.

It’s worth remembering something about habits. Knowing doesn’t change them. It doesn’t trade old habits that don’t work for new ones that do. Even if we want it to, knowing doesn’t alter our neurology this way. But moving does. Change is something we need to practice.

1 Comment

  1. Güray Hatipoğlu

    I don’t understand the main message of yours regarding combination of taichi and yoga in one exercise. You made it feel like an implicit “yes, sometimes”, but could you please more elaborate on your opinion more directly? If you think yes, for instance, can you give an example part of their combined exercise, or if no, why so?