Ai Chi - Aquatic Tai Chi - it has been created by Jun Konno at the beginning of the 90’s. He was the trainer of the National Olympic Japanese swimming team, today he manages the “Aqua Dynamics Institute” in Yokohama.
Ai Chi is an art that invites the participant to perform the quiet Tai Chi movements while “dancing" in lukewarm water (35 degrees) and 1.20 mt depth. The “program” consists of 19 “kata” - stances - to be repeated for three times in half an hour time of practice.
All harmonic movements repeat the rounded features of a circle and are timed to the breath.
Slowly, they come to transform us. The body calms down, whereas the mind gets enlivened by a new awareness that gives us the chance to perceive what makes us move in the “outer” world in a more conscious way, the “action” of water and our body’s adjustments to find a new sense of balance - and what is going on “inside” - sensations and emotions.
At the beginning, people learn stances and basic movements, which consequently come to be timed to the breath “pattern” and repeated as long as we flow in a dance of great mastery and composure. A Japanese proverb says: “the branches of a willow tree don’t crack because of the weight of the snow”, meaning that only those branches that are thick and stiff may crack and fall. Ai Chi stimulates the calm and flexibility of the body and the mind in a way that they won’t ever “crack”.
Another curiosity: “Ai” is a Japanese ideogram that means “love”. It follows that Ai Chi is a practice of love and compassion toward ourselves, Nature, and towards the others.
Jun wants to discern this practice from watsu: “Oriental people love more delicate and “spiritual” movements. Watsu, which is popular in Japan, requires for a closeness between the giver and the receiver which is perceived as “improper” and consequently creates a sense of discomfort. Therefore, the Ai Chi practice may represent the first step to cope with the intimacy Watsu requires.
Ai Chi collects benefits people receive from the Tai Chi Chuan, which harmonizes the body and the mind, while toning up the Chi - vital energy - with muscles stretching and meridians. It’s easy, fun and very relaxing. Movements are done slowly, continuously, in a sweet and circular way, so as to conserve the vital energy, appease the mind and favor concentration.
For any further info, visit the website www.aichi.it