Breathing Underwater: The Inner Life of T’ai Chi Ch’uan
From the book:
My recurrent dream of breathing underwater is a dream of inner harmony, an idyllic meeting of body, mind, and spirit. I believe it’s possible to breathe underwater–possible to live in my subconscious, to close the gap between above and below and make me all one thing.
Over the years I’ve used T’ai Chi Ch’uan as a door to enter my subconscious. Through this door I peer downward, reach in, and draw a piece of my deeper self to the surface where I can hold it up, turn it in the morning light, examine, analyze, try to apprehend it with my mind.
Margaret Emerson learned T’ai Chi as part of a successful healing program for a precancerous condition. Through years of practice, she discovered that the benefits of T’ai Chi extend beyond the body and into the mind and spirit. Balance, flexibility, coordination, strength, and alertness are enhanced on every level and affect everything she does. T’ai Chi helps her to “get wise” to herself, and this knowledge inevitably shapes her character and behavior. A chapter of Breathing Underwater is devoted to feedback from her students about the ways in which they use T’ai Chi in their everyday lives. Whether raising children or goats, making art or administrative policy, people apply the calming, clarifying, and strengthening qualities of T’ai Chi.
Margaret Emerson has been practicing since 1979 and teaching since 1989. She has had many teachers, starting with Kao Ching-hua who learned the art as a girl in pre- Revolutionary China. Margaret studied with Kao from 1979 to 1985. She also spent two years-1996 to 1998–in South Korea where she was a student of Chi Seong-in. In addition to her own books, Margaret is a contributor to the book Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching and to Qi Journal, Aikido Today, and Black Belt Magazine.
“Margaret Emerson’s writing has all the grace of a skillfully performed T’ai Chi sequence. …an inspiring work.”
Jennifer McFadden, bookstore owner
“…her spare, precise, sometimes luminous prose draws readers effortlessly to share her experience.”
Stephanie Hoppe, author of Sharp Spear, Crystal Mirror