What is TMW?
A unique distillation of movements
TMW (Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing) is a unique sequence of movements and key teachings, specially developed to promote physical, psychological and emotional health and wellbeing.
With origins in Tai Chi, Chi Kung and meditation, the TMW sequence distils elements of these arts into a simple series of beautiful movements, without complex forms to learn or difficult techniques to master.
The TMW sequence is designed as a vehicle for you to develop a set of skills and understandings, firstly practised within the TMW movements and then gradually taken into every aspect of your life.
For example, do you sometimes feel life is out of control, and your feet never touch the ground?
Through the TMW movements you will learn how to:
- become grounded in your body so you feel more stable and balanced. This new sense of groundedness supports you physically, helping you to release any tension in the muscles.
- relax so there’s more circulation, flow and energy in your body. This new state of being touches your mind state – helping it to release tension so you feel calmer and more centred.
- be in a more natural place of easefulness, breathing more deeply and connected to yourself in a different way.
The stresses in your life haven’t changed, but you have – so now you can make decisions and take actions from this more relaxed and balanced place in yourself.
How does TMW work?
Unlike many forms of exercise, Tai Chi based movements recognise that the mind and body are interconnected and have an effect on each other. This means that when something in your life impacts you negatively and you feel stressed, overwhelmed or in collapse your body takes on that stress or collapse. You don’t think “Oh, it’ll be a good idea to tighten my shoulders” – your body takes on the state of the mind, because it is part of the same system.
Your body in turn is able to feed back a different state of being to your mind. So, if you were to begin the TMW sequence, your body would experience the qualities of these movements – of grounding, flow, opening, balance and connectivity. These qualities touch the mind and returns it to a healthy, balanced and relaxed state.
We move slowly so that your attention can be brought into feeling your body in each movement and how it touches it. Because you are present and right in the moment, you’ll notice where perhaps there is unnecessary holding in your muscles, or where you lean and take yourself off balance.
The movements will support you to find a new healthy alignment in your body, and with that tension is released, the circulation can flow more easily and your breath becomes deeper and more easeful.
Learning to focus on your felt experience, your mind, which is often striving into the future or holding on to the past, becomes stiller and rests in the moment. This, in the long run, undoes the knots of the mind and allows a natural state of relaxed alertness to replace the unnatural state of tense frenetic activity.
There is one other aspect to the TMW movements: they are devised with a knowledge of the internal energy known as Chi. This system of energy, or life force, moves around the body in its own circulatory system, supplying every part of the body’s organs with life-sustaining energy. We can stimulate Chi by moving and opening those parts of the body in which these lines of energy lie.
TMW does all this and more. It is this combination of improved physical flexibility, circulation and strength, a relaxed and integrated mind and body, and a healthy energy system which makes these TMW exercises truly exceptional.
Why is TMW good for me?
Firstly, to move and to breathe promotes good health, wellbeing and healing. The sequence of movements will touch every part of your body to help you regain and maintain flexibility, strength and balance.
The movements are very “do-able”! This is especially true because of the Tai Chi understanding of “soft limit” which allows you to use this series of movements to gently caress the body. Soft limit can also be thought of as your body’s natural limit, where the body, rather than the striving mind, lets us know when to stop stretching in a move.
This means the movements become accessible rather than distancing. TMW helps us to promote good circulation, flexible tissue and a relaxed and centred mind, all of which mean we are in the best possible shape.
Secondly, tension in the mind leads to tension in the body, so by accessing and releasing tension in the body we help to release tension in the mind. Fear and anxiety create energetic “creases” in our systems, and some of the movements especially allow these areas to unwrinkle back to their true shape. When we are tense we don’t breathe fully. In TMW, all of the movements are coordinated with the breath and most of them actively support full breathing. When we breathe fully, everything works better for us.
In addition, the body reacts to the state of the mind. If you’re depressed, for example, the shape of your body collapses, or if you’re tense, your body becomes tight. By introducing and using harmonious, balanced and graceful movements, your body influences your mind and you experience, relaxation, poise and wellbeing.
Thirdly, the movements invite a sense of self-expression, vital when confidence slips. Some of the movements are just graceful in themselves and this invites that sense of gracefulness into our mind and body. Some of the movements, by their shape, encourage us to show ourselves, to let the beauty that is within shine out.
Why is TMW needed?
- a clinician's point of view
- We are living longer but are much more likely to develop a long term health condition, such as heart disease, arthritis or the results of a stroke.
- The NHS budget is shrinking – we must improve our self-management of our health, to reduce the likelihood that we will become unwell.
- TMW is an evidenced-based approach using embodied mindfulness.
- TMW supports gentle movement, mental wellbeing and health-related goal setting.
- TMW can be adapted to any group with immediate benefit.