Work and job activities may cause energy to stagnate and decay. This negative inertia seems difficult to overcome after sitting long periods at a computer or performing repetitive motions for hours. We’re worn out when we get to tai chi class. We don’t feel like doing what seems like even more of the same depleting work. From within a state of fatigue, we fight a hopeless battle that can’t be won. Or so it seems.
This is when it’s time to transcend and transform. Recognize that this dragged-down feeling is not yours to keep. You don’t have to own it. It is not your energy. It is the energy of your workplace, your job and its energy-depleting tasks. You can release it all.
Transcend: seek to revitalize your own energy simply by asking for it.
Transform: practice will take you to a new place in your energetic configuration and a fresh start. and Cultivating mental concentration to release negative, decayed energy is the goal of practice. Achieving a fresh revitalizing energy is the result of practice.
When you feel depleted from the stress, you can assume that qi is not flowing. Often, we aren’t even aware it’s not. Plus, we don’t know (or forget) how to move it if we were aware it wasn’t. We are tethered to the forces that cause life force to stagnate. Qi binds up in our bodies.
The joints are the obvious spots where it gets stuck; but the lymph system is another, the brain, the eyes, the organs, the muscles, and every fraction of flesh, membrane and cells suffer from this.
In leading tai chi and qigong practice, I’ve focused on learning sequences of moves and postures while introducing techniques for developing internal awareness and concentration. Sequence, or “form,” is the what and the internal technique is the how.
You might recall that I’ve mentioned thinking of the hips being the feet. I want to explore that some more in depth with you. So keep this in mind as you practice at home in preparation for next practice.
In order to feel the hip on the ground, you need to connect the feet, legs, and hips into a single unit in which energy forms a solid, yet agile, changeable mass. I’ll show you what I know about that connection.
To prepare for next practice, I suggest doing shoulder rolls. I’ve done them many times with you in the past and I mentioned them last class. The shoulder roll, which I first learned from Master Wang Hao Da, is useful for beginners. This simple move contains many levels of activity. A beginner will only be aware of, and be able to practice, only one or two at a time. You won’t see beyond them to the next level if you don’t practice what you are familiar with now. The teacher can only show you the moves and describe various aspects of them and point out where you might take your practice.
Get a primer on shoulder rolls before next practice by viewing and following along with this video clip.