Tai Chi: the point where yin and yang come into perfect balance. The Tai Chi axis is how we feel this balance in our bodies. (1)
I began practicing Tai Chi over 10 years ago. As a beginner I was taught, and I focused on, memorizing the form (the choreography). After a few years, and having memorized the form, I broadened my network and began further instruction with multiple teachers. One of these teachers told me I had no root and wasn’t moving from my dan tien, my center. This opened me to the real world of Tai Chi and all it has to offer us.
When we focus only on what is seen, we miss the magic entirely.
When I turned my intention to the principles of Tai Chi, subsequent movements and forms came so much easier and quicker to me. My body knew what to do which allowed my mind to relax and let new information in. It’s like downloading a new program on your computer; do you think your computer gets nervous or tense? No. (It may refuse to participate on occasion but that’s another story). Your computer automatically knows what to do when you hit the download button so the info flows right in, ready to use. As I embody the principles of Tai Chi, the days of downloading (learning & memorizing) new movements go much more smoothly and I retain the new information more readily. My body recognizes how to express the new movement(s).
What’s the benefit of continued practice? One big one is embodying principles such as moving from your center and sending energy down into your root while expressing outward. What’s so great about that?
I climbed Mt Washington in September (2019) and as I scrambled up rocks, I realized how easily my body traversed an open face boulder. More than once I found my foot in a crevice while my body was in motion and I automatically squared my torso to align with my foot so as not to twist it. I knew just when and where to shift my weight to keep my balance while I scrambled up the rocks.
It’s in me. Tai Chi is in me and allows me to move with greater ease and confidence than ever before. This doesn’t mean that the climb wasn’t challenging, but it was exponentially more doable with Tai Chi.
(1) Qigong and the Tai Chi Axis: Nourishing Practices for Body, Mind, and Spirit by Mimi Kuo-Deemer