Instantly Add More Energy To Your Practice
What I got was exactly what I had suspected, a classroom of “free movers.”
Many of you readers have gotten a better understanding of what Tai Chi is through our last article. If you didn’t read it, maybe you should (Tai Chi, Kuo.)
In tai chi, there’s an outside and inside awareness that happens simultaneously. We don’t move with our intention focused inwardly as in meditation. We seek to harmoniously bridge the two: the internal component (ie. breathing, mental focus) and the external (ie. structure, balance). The result becomes something grande, something unique, and special. What you create becomes your tai chi chuan (taijiquan).
Through the course of practicing tai chi chuan, and experiencing (or placing more intention) on the “relaxed” element of tai chi, my students shortly fell into the second pitfall of practice and one that I witness in nearly every class I teach [at least at some point]. What many fail to notice about themselves is that their brow line maybe straight and rigid, or the corners of their mouths are pulling downward. To a worse extent, perhaps their jaws are clinched in deep concentration about what movement comes next.
As Al Chung-liang Huang said in his book, Embrace Tiger, Return To Mountain,
Tai chi is the experience you have as you are searching.
We do not search with our eyes. We don’t even search with any real eagerness to learn. Instead, we allow (through doing) an understanding to arise. This understanding, I have found, does not come easily when focusing directly (as one would when looking through a microscope). We must broaden our focus and lighten our psychic load. We must SMILE.
Find the way for you. What gives your practice substance has much to do with your state of mind going into it. Our energy, or even our sense of fulfillment is not going to come by “moving for the sake of moving.” To reach a higher level (particularly in the art of Tai Chi), I feel that it’s crucial to let go of your tension (as best as you can) and by giving the universe a much deserving smile*.
-Coach Michael Joyce
* It’s not suggested that one smiles by showing the teeth, but rather smile by turning the ends of the mouth skyward… like the subtle hint behind the painting of Mona Lisa. But everyone is different and if you derive a great deal more pleasure, energy and fulfillment by smiling like Ace Ventura… by all means.