I can remember the first few taijiquan lessons many years ago. It felt great attending class and I was bubbling with enthusiasm looking forward to my next lesson. Over the next few years I observed many students come and go. Many start taijiquan with the best of intentions and see the value of practicing the Art. However, along the way for various reasons many students eventually fade out from attending lessons. Some reasons are that they don’t have time to practice or it’s difficult to remember the moves. Taijiquan looks easy but without establishing a routine right away, your chances of perseverance is greatly reduced.
These are some recommendations from my own up and downs in practice that I will share over the next few blogs
Our sufferings leads to tensions
Tensions block the flow of energy
Blocking the flow of energy exhausts the body
Exhausting the body of energy can lead to lose of awareness
Lose of awareness leads to suffering and injury.
When the mind body is at ease we are content. When the mind body is in a state of dis-ease we become discontent for a variety of reasons.
We may first blame others for the way we are feeling, becoming judgmental. Then often we turn our negativity inwards and start to blame ourselves questioning what we do and in particular questioning the effectiveness of our preventative medicines such as Tai Chi Chuan and meditative practices.
When these times arise and you feel the change of state either physically and / or mentally you need to slow down and see this time as part of your practise in your life’s journey.
You should connect back to tan tien, place the mind there and breath.
Move from the head top (nei wan / ba hui) downward listening to your body looking to see if you are tense in the neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, lower back, etc.
I like to remind myself of the following words which I have synthesized from my teachers:
Nature’s storms do not last forever and eventually blow themselves out in time. Take solace in that time is your healer and you and the Art are not failures. The Creator does not make mistakes. You are not a faulty broken vessel. Your spirit was born into a vessel of skin and bone that follows form and function in accord with the Tao.
It is said first in the “hsin”( mind), then in the body.
The abdomen relaxes then the “chi” (breath) sinks into the bones
The “shen” (spirit) is relaxed and the body is calm.
This is achieved by putting the mind in the tan tien and breathing naturally; long, fine, calm and slow. Breathing smoothly at the cusps of when exchanging between inhale and exhale.
Initially you think it is easy as stated below from the Tao Teh Ching,
Relax the mind and fill the abdomen
The words above just remain words unless you have a practise to cultivate yourself.
Focus on the tan tein, breath naturally, softly and smoothly through the exchanges from inhale to exhale. Then observe any tension in the body. It may be there it may be not. The key is to practise! I tend to find when under stress my abdomen become tense and my breath is higher up. Sometimes my shoulders slightly rise. Sometimes I don’t detect any tension in the body as I’m consumed with anger or anxiety and just thought label my predominate thought and just breath!
Lao Zu’s fundamental practise of “Emptying the Mind and Filling the Abdomen”, is not about trying to stop thinking or some type of avoidance of thoughts or forcing thoughts out of your mind. This is a type of suppression which will only come back three times fold onto you.
......... More Later..........
 The Essesnce of Tai Chi Chuan by Lo/Inn and Amacker/Foe page 42
 Tao Teh Ching “Way Virtue Book” chapter 3 by Lao Tzu.