The recently passed rock-n-roller, Lou Reed, was a man of many artistic merits. He cultivated a sound that has become the inspiration for several generations of musicians following in his footsteps. He became an icon for his work with the Velvet Underground, and though he did not achieve any monumental success on the music charts, his music will remain as an important precedent in the genre of rock.
An obituary was published yesterday in The East Hampton Star by his wife, Laurie Anderson. She described Reed in a vastly different light from his public reputation. Anderson described her life-partner as a “tai chi master” that spent his final day “happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature.” The rocker known for his abrasive, gritty, and true-to-life poetry had spent many of his final years developing his form and mastering his spiritual practice. His final moments were spent doing the 21-form series of movements as practiced in the I Liq Chuan school of martial arts, closely related to Tai Chi.
For many years, Tai Chi has been gaining popularity as a form of mindful movement exercise. Participants develop a better understanding of their bodies by deliberately considering the minute movements of their muscles and learning to position their body in powerful stances and regenerative poses. One of the most important aspects of the practice is the slow, rhythmic breathing that accompanies the exercise. Participants enter a peaceful state of mind while they alternate through new positions.
There are many reported health benefits to regular practice of Tai Chi. Science has verified several positive effects of the practice, including increased circulation and oxygenation of the bloodstream and stress-reduction. These two things are extremely important to long-term health and illustrate the subtle effects of mindfulness practices.
Though the exact causes of Lou Reed’s death have not been made public, his final moments say a lot about the esteem he held for the spiritual practice of Tai Chi. He had practiced the discipline for many years and greatly valued the relief and peace of mind imparted by Tai Chi. It is a meditative practice that has helped many people achieve stability throughout their lives, emotionally and physically. The sooner you begin some form of meditation or mindful movement exercise, the more benefits you stand to gain. Check out one of my past articles for more information about Tai Chi’s benefits and where to find local practitioners in Chicago.