A Tai Chi Imagery Workbook.

Author:Middendorf, Bobbye
Position:Book review

Martin Mellish (author); A TAI CHI IMAGERY WORKBOOK; Singing Dragon (Health & Fitness) $21.95 ISBN: 9781848190290

Byline: Bobbye Middendorf

According to Martin Mellish, author, thirty-year tai chi teacher-practitioner, and mathematician, whether doing tai chi or moving through everyday life, "All of us practice twenty-four hours a dayathe only question is what we are practicing." In this book, Mellish makes the case that imagery cultivates the "moving body-mind" far beyond the practice of tai chi.

Originally, tai chi, one of the Chinese martial arts, incorporated imagery to strengthen students' skills and build physical capacity. Post Cultural-Revolution tai chi does not include imagery, but Mellish learned from older teachers. He brings a sense of play to the underlying illustrated movements, while inviting body mindfulness, designed to tap into inner wisdom for building strength, flexibility, and balance. It's a process, advises the author, "of integrating imagery into one's movement and one's life. . . Allow the movement to follow the image rather than your conceptual thinking."

The Structure section sets the stage, with imagery focused on specific parts of the body and featuring practices relating to standing, the spine and alignment, shoulders, hands and arms, and being centered. What Mellish calls "the empty step" is one of the distinguishing features of tai chi. Its visual representation: "Walk like a cat." Other especially vivid imagery suggestions are "Stand like a mountain," and "Yawning Armpits."

The next part, Spirit, includes images relating to breathing, feeling and expression...

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