Focus your mind and improve your results as a musician.

Today I want to introduce you to a very special person to me. She helps us every Saturday morning to focus on the here and now, and doesn’t let us say that we are not capable of doing something. This is Marina, tai chi and chi kung teacher. In her own words: “music is an art. Tai chi is an art”.

In short, how would you define tai chi and chi kung?

They are Chinese martial arts that complement each other. Martial art means ‘discipline applied to fighting’. With the short and focused exercises of chi kung you learn to breathe, relax and pay attention. Thus, it helps to prepare you for tai chi. Tai chi is practiced in sequences of movements called “forms”. It is also known as “moving meditation”.

What benefits does it have for musicians?

By practicing tai chi you get a lot of energy and avoid physical and mental fatigue. You also learn to breathe consciously. The mind relaxes and concentrates, it becomes a lucid mind. You think more clearly and calmly, and you stop seeing your own bad problems and focus on their solution.

What routine do you recommend for musicians?

(Pensive). When you are studying for a long time in the same body position, it is good to exercise before and after, and if possible during the study. With tai chi you move your whole body.

A little break in study helps keep the mind from becoming saturated. In theory you should rest 10 minutes every hour to clear your mind. But if you lose focus, you can stop maybe every two hours.

Before rehearsing and after, you can do a little bit of tai chi to learn to observe and know your body: where you feel pain, or discomfort from bad posture. Relax and relocate tension.

During the little stop, you can do chi kung to relieve the areas of tension or pain: the neck, the shoulders.

How does the age of exercise influence tai chi?

Any age counts, each at its own pace and with its own possibilities. There’s even children’s taichi.

How did you start with the tai chi?

(Smiles). By chance. I found an ad on a streetlight and I got curious. I started the training in small groups, and we had to pass exams. So, 8 years later I was able to make a substitution, also by chance, and now I’ve been a teacher for 14 years.

At first I had a hard time, because I had never considered becoming a teacher. I’m very shy and suddenly I was in charge of a group. I’ve learned a lot by teaching. Now I love teaching this art of ancient masters.

“By practicing tai chi you get a lot of energy and avoid physical and mental fatigue. You also learn to breathe consciously. The mind relaxes and concentrates, it becomes a lucid mind. You think more clearly and calmly, and you stop seeing your own bad problems and focus on their solution.”

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So there were no female teachers?

In the old days only men did that. There were few teachers and very few pupils, not just anyone could learn. The teacher would teach you in the courtyard of his house. Thanks to Bruce Lee, this mentality was opened up to the West.

Bruce actually did kung fu and knew a lot of techniques. He had learned from many masters. Then, he put it all together and created his own technique.

Recommend us a book or videos to practice.

(Pensive). Well, look, just a student recommended me the videos of Luis Duarte, because he explains tai chi step by step in Spanish. It’s very good. As for the books, in all the libraries there are books of tai chi. Some tell a lot about history, others about movements. Try to see what you like best.

Eskerrikasko Marina :)