In Tai Chi, one of the first transitional poses we learn is “bow” in a 70-30 stance. Meaning 70% of our weight is in the front foot, and 30% of our weight is in the back foot. Feeling into this stance takes practice, making sure our knee does not exceed the toe in the front foot, and our back leg is loose with our hip and knee aligned downward towards the earth.
In Qigong, inside every class, I invite students to have their exertion in movement be up to 70%. And, that’s if you’re feeling healthy, and happy that day. If you are not feeling 100%, I suggest to 50% or 33% of your maximum.
For example, when we roll our shoulders releasing tension and increasing mobility—only move them 70% of your maximum. And, of course, let the shoulders lead, and let the arms go along for the ride.
Our personal 70% varies from class-to-class and moment-to-moment. What I find fascinating is the 70% will naturally increase as long as we do not force our body, and we let the thinking mind take a back seat. You know what I mean, those thoughts we say to ourselves that begin with should. Instead, I strongly invite students [and myself] to honor their body right where it is, listen and feel into it.
This takes practice.
Now, what if we take this same analogy of 70%, and use it as a gage for our every day life. Meaning, we only give and/or produce up to 70%. Reserving 30% to refill ourselves, with whatever lights us up: meditating, reading, walking in nature, or simply taking time to watch a sunset, or cook ourselves a delicious meal.
This is certainly a different approach to life then what we see portrayed as successful, productive beings. Where we are told we “should” give 110%, and always say yes when someone asks—even if it means you’ll lose some sleep.
Here’s what I experience when I do my best to live at 70%: my focused work, whether it’s designing for a client, writing an insight for you, responding to my daughter, or teaching… it becomes inspired action. It’s creative, it’s fluid and doesn’t feel forced, the same way we practice movements in qigong and tai chi. Even when I have a design deadline for a client, I am more relaxed and have more energy because I have been taking care of myself first.
Putting on my oxygen mask first, before I assist others.
Slowing down to feel.
Conscious breaths throughout the day.
Asking myself, do I need to do this now? And, if it’s a yes, how can I find some joy in it?
Laughing everyday, especially at myself.
Taking life not so seriously—dancing in the kitchen.
I know living my life at 70% fills my heart with joy, brings me clarity of what really matters to me, and I actually have time to feel it! Please don’t take my word for it, I invite you o experience it for yourself… start today… what do you have to lose? Except maybe some stress, and forced pressure.
I also wrote about this concept back in February, 2020 if you would like to read it again or for enjoy it the first time.