T’ai Chi for Kids, Move Like the Animals by Stuart Alve Olson

T’ai Chi for Kids Move Like the Animals by Stuart Alve Olson is an enchanting book for children, grandchildren, and all ages.  The images illustrate the names of eight common T’ai Chi poses and help in learning the form. On the cover is “White Crane Cools its Wings.”

From the author:
“I probably should have titled the book, Tai Chi for Kids (of All Ages), as many older Tai Chi adherents have made similar comments as yours. I think why that is, is because the book is about “play,” most Tai Ji Quan books (my other books included) have a more serious approach by exploring the deeper aspects of Tai Ji Quan, but Tai Chi for Kids was written and approached purely from a playful standpoint. Kids play, it is how they learn to interact with others and use their imagination, which if you think about it, is the core of Tai Ji Quan practice. ”

–Stuart Alve Olson     Valley Spirit Arts


We can help each other’s t’ai chi practice with imagination. We can stretch our spirits with images, metaphors and partnering exercises that involve listening and following the energy coming from your fellow participants.

For example, indulge your imagination and engage your breathing, body and center. Imagine your whole body suspended as if from a string from the top of your head. Try and actually feel gravity embracing your body weight down through your feet. Think in terms of emptying your mind of chattering voices and daily anxieties that clutter your life and thoughts. Focus on your center, your dan tien, and find reservoirs of calm and attentiveness that result.

Thus the imagination allows us to stretch our possibilities in movement and meditation and facilitates the ‘letting go’ so essential to t’ai chi and Daoism, a Chinese philosophy/religion based on accepting change. When we learn we control nothing, we unleash new potential to manage our attitudes and responses to daily “obstacles,” exercise our imaginations, and live the consequences of our actions and behaviors. Our classes strive to cultivate our minds and imaginations in the t’ai chi journey in a safe and nurturing environment.