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A financial analyst who quit to study tai chi shares the simple morning exercise she uses to prevent burnout

Tai chi instructor Shirley Chock smiling and demonstrating an exercise in a park.Shirley Chock of Aiping Tai Chi said the a simple exercise helps her start the day with more focus and energy.

Courtesy of Shirley Chock

  • Tai chi master Shirley Chock shares her simple morning exercise to boost energy and reduce stress.
  • Chock’s routine involves a few seconds of centering herself physically to promote mental balance.
  • This practice can lead to better productivity and energy throughout the day, she said. 

A master tai chi instructor said she follows a simple morning routine to boost her energy and focus while reducing stress, and it only takes a few seconds to try at home.

Shirley Chock, known as the “Stressbender,” is the owner and executive director of Aiping Tai Chi. She previously worked for years as a financial analyst, including for Yale.

Chock told Business Insider that learning the traditional Chinese martial art of tai chi helped her avoid burnout in her career, prompting her to start teaching full-time to help others.

The practice is often associated with slow, meditative movements, but can incorporate a much larger philosophy and wellness lifestyle of managing stress and maintaining your energy, according to Chock.

The gentle exercise can be a great way of understanding the deeper principles of stillness, balance, and staying centered that are behind the benefits of tai chi.

“If your physical body can understand center and symmetry, your mind will be more centered as well,” she said

While it can take years to master the subtleties of tai chi, Chock said she starts every day with an exercise that’s simple enough for anyone to try at home.

The first thing Chock does after waking up in the morning is to stand up and take a few seconds to center herself — literally. She does this by imagining the two sides of her body as two pillars and bringing her knees, hips, and shoulders into alignment so she’s balanced evenly over both feet.

Chock said she teaches the centering exercise to her students and uses it herself to help maintain focus and energy, both first thing in the morning and throughout the day.

“I think it’s really important because throughout the day you’re getting pushed and pulled in all directions. So if you start off-center, then you’re going to have a really hard time maintaining your center” she said.

The exercise may seem simple, but finding a better balance is linked to longevity benefits and can save you from wasting mental and physical energy too. In contrast, Chock shares an example of someone standing with bad posture — they’ll eventually get uncomfortable and need to shift, likely to another misaligned position, and continue the cycle.

By starting from a strong, stable foundation, you’ll be better set up to put your energy into things that matter instead of losing focus on distractions.

“If you just keep that with you the whole day, then you’ve preserved so much more energy than other people that are expending at the end of the day, that’s productivity. Whoever has energy at the end of the day is going to be able to do more,” Chock said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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