Tai chi teachers hold a place for other learners who are unable to put in the time to maintain a regular practice. They hold the thought for when they return to practice and pick up where they left off.

Hold Up Sky

Speaking of holding the thought, to build awareness in the practice of tai chi, look for something to work on or improve every time you do form. Remember to be aware of this each time you stand in wuji. Example: watch for a particular tension in body that you carry with you through the form. It may be a discomfort or even pain – in the knee, for example. Or maybe it’s a tension in the nape of the neck from leaning too far forward.

The next time you do form pay more attention to that issue and try to alleviate it. You could straighten the angle of the leg or raise the shen by elongating the spine and opening the solar plexus a little more than usual.

This is a zhong ding concept. Internal practice requires focus on the center line (zhong ding). Getting essential and beneficial alignment is key to free movement in the structure of the body. Proprioception will improve gradually, then exponentially.

Movement begins with mental focus. Place attention upon the space of interest and connect the dots.

Knees bend softly, never locked, flexible, changeable, not torqued, not tensed, not stressed or weighted upon. You must watch for these things, these states of being in motion and in stillness.

Sounds complex? Maybe it is, but with immersion it becomes less so. I am always amazed at how much awareness I can muster and how many activities of which I can stay cognizant while in motion.

At first, it is only one thing at a time. Beginners will focus on that. Then it is an ease of shifting focus from one thing, or even two things, at a time and maintain that focus. Maybe intermediate practitioners can do this fairly well.

Then, in advanced stages your view broadens and a whole symphonic movement evolves in unison, almost as if you are a spectator and conductor simultaneously.

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