The Tai Chi Classics, often considered the “Tai Chi Bible”, contain the principles and fundamentals of Tai Chi. In the first section, Master Chang San-feng (ca. 1200 C.E.) wrote, “Once you begin to move, the entire body must be light and limber. Each past of your body should be connected to every other part.” Whether I’m teaching beginning or experienced students, I often refer to both of these principles – relax and feel all parts of your body as one, moving together.
Let’s start with relaxing the body (and mind). Usually, I’m not light and limber when I begin class. It’s the focus on proper alignment, feet hip-width apart, soft knees, then starting to move through gentle movements that help me and my students begin to relax.
When we focus on breathing and moving our energy throughout our bodies, we are focusing on just those things, nothing else. That helps us start to relax.
During the last several weeks, students have informally been offering comments on their experience in class. “I had so many things on my mind when I walked into class, and during the class, I felt all that stress fade away.” “It helps me relax when you remind us to breathe.” “I’m starting to get it, It’s a process and I don’t have to be perfect.” ” I was dragging when I came to class and by the end I felt much more energy, good energy.” “My back does not have so much pain and I’ve learned my alignment has been way off. “I’m learning how to walk more slowly and pay attention.” “All the students moving together helps me relax and feel not only my energy, but the powerful energy the group is creating.”
We, together, learn to relax, “be limber and light” even when we don’t walk into class feeling that way. We start to let go and share our energy with each other through our Tai Chi moves. What a wonderful discipline and practice Tai Chi is!