Another reason we move so slowly when we practice Taichi is that we are very vigilant in feeling each part of our body to spot any point of tension.
Physical tension blocks Chi flow and keeps us tethered to a reliance on physical strength and mechanical motion. When you find a place in your body that feels tight or tense, try to relax even more and continue practicing while you deliberately relax that point of tension.
“Tensing-up with strength is no good. If you tense up you are game to be hunted. A buffalo is very strong, but what’s he going to do when a lion comes? A lion can take him down even though he’s so big and strong. His strength is of no use, he cannot defend himself.”
– Master Waysun Liao
We also watch our mind to let go of routine thoughts. Even psychological and emotional tension can become an obstacle in our Taichi because it interferes with our focus and dilutes the concentration necessary to connect our mind with our Chi.
Reducing tension is a practice we can employ throughout our day. We can spot points of tension in our body while we sit in our office chair at work, or stand in a grocery line, or talking on the phone. Deliberately relaxing these points throughout the day will increase the level of relaxation and body awareness we bring to our practice.
We can also help our Taichi practice by cultivating harmony in practicing more effective ways of resolving or letting go of mental and emotional stressors as they arise. Just like we work toward reducing tension in our bodies, we work to reduce tension in our state of mind.
The two practices: our actual Taichi moving meditation and the daily life practice of reducing physical and mental tension, create a synergistic feedback loop. Your Taichi will give you a more keen awareness and increasingly laserlike ability to spot tension and let it go. Conversely, your daily effort to reduce tension helps you to relax more quickly and deeply when it’s time to practice.
Check right now: Are you feeling tension anywhere?
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