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When You Have No Time To Practice Your Tai Chi Chuan Form

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I always try to remind my students that real tai chi practice is not about fixating on memorizing the form or sets.
A lot just will never understand this.
But the ones that do, soar like eagles.
My teacher, who was a Chinese tai chi master, always stressed that the highest form of tai chi practice was if you could mix it into your daily life.
The secret, he said was in putting your focus on practicing the principles more than the form.
The memorized form, while also important, is just the container for the principles.
So, tai chi players, here's some ideas that can bring you a lot of progress into your fitness, longevity, mood, and skills: Posture.
It's not just about standing up straight.
Uh uh.
No way.
It's about when you are straight, what internal aspects are you practicing and how are you vectoring gravity's energy through your body? Instead of pulling your shoulders back a la military fashion, let them hang down - NOT slouch forward, but just let them hang straight down.
Imagine your shoulders are like the steep roof of a Swiss chalet, which was designed this way to allow heavy snow to fall off.
As you do this, you must pull the top of your head skyward.
Imagine the weight of the world - all the stresses and troubles you carry around - to just slip off your shoulders and drop into the earth.
If you are sitting at a desk as I am now, make sure your chair is high up enough so that your shoulders can hang down.
If your chair is not adjustable, bring along an extra chair cushion or flat pillow and sit on that.
Now, gently "push" the tension in your neck and shoulders down and out your hands.
This will also clear your qi meridians.
Head.
Externally, retract your chin a bit and keep the bottom of your chin level with the ground instead of tilting it up, which can jam up the vertebrae.
Imagine that the top back of your head is being pulled up into the sky via a large helium balloon.
Internally, relax your mind.
Are you full of worry, gossip, concerns? What are they doing for you now, at this moment? If they're not helping you, then they are extra baggage and need to be dropped immediately.
Breath.
People hold their breath more than they realize.
Inhale, and with a pronounced sigh of relief, let it all out in a generous exhale.
Make your chest feel like it's dropping inward a bit and melting down.
But refuse to slouch.
Abdomen.
If you gently tuck your low back - especially while standing or walking, you will gently tighten up your lower abdominal wall without holing your breath.
A little trick to this is, slightly pull your pubic bone (on the lowest border of your abdomen on your torso) and slightly tuck it inward.
This will also protect you from hernias and organ prolapse if you are picking up an object or exerting.
Always, always, always allow your breath to be free when exerting.
If you know advanced techniques, like dantian compression and expansions, you can also practice this with the abdomen.
Just these few things alone will help you feel better and regenerate your energy throughout the day instead of letting it get depleted.
You can do this literally anywhere.
It's a great way to spend your time while in boring meetings, waiting in line, in your car in bad traffic, on the subway, etc.
The more you do it, the more it becomes habit.
And you know, this is all what you're supposed to be doing while you are practicing your tai chi form anyway.
So why not do these things when you can't practice form, so that when you do practice form, the habit will be there on autopilot! If you put your mind to it, you will discover more and more things you can practice throughout the day when you don't have a chance to practice your form.
Give it some thought right now.
That will also develop your mind.
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