After our last post, one of our students brought a podcast that touches on how our brains learn to our attention. Bill sent us a link to a Bulletproof episode that contains an interview with Anat Baniel. She talks about nine steps that can be followed for peak brain and body performance.
The podcast is longer (about an hour) but the last half may be interesting to taiji practitioners. She outlines a few of her steps and talks about how they are effective. Around minute 31, she begins to talk about mindfulness in movement. Allowing time to observe the body and what it is doing provides time to process and react.
Variations are also a part of her system. They allow the brain to work on movements and allow change to happen within an action, slowly and over time. Changing movements can help you focus on the task at hand because you do things less automatically.
She also talks about slowing movements down to allow the brain to wake up and process. Keeping a slower speed can help the brain process and change the motion in a way that wouldn't be possible at higher speeds.
Reducing force is another step of hers. She argues that the greater force a movement has, the more force is needed for the practitioner to register the need to change and slows the ability to respond.
While I'm paraphrasing much her her information, it is an interesting conversation that is not about taiji at all. Baniel works with movement to treat neurological problems and rehabilitate injuries. Yet, if you listen, you'll hear a great argument for many of the basic practices in taijiquan!
(I would suggest picking it up around minute 31 if you want to take the time! :-)
Thanks Bill!!! We're happy to find new things through our students and our conversations on here!