The magic wand of T’ai Chi Chuan
Hi my name is Angie of the tai chi workshops in Scarborough Uk which is a cold snowy wet but bright today and will await to see what later brings us.
Yes we have a magic wand in T’ai Chi ?
In a tai chi class, we have a warm up and these will be all slightly different but in general I think most teachers and Instructors will agree that it is about what it says on the can “Warming Up”.
In the Lee style we will start with a few hand circles which we do by extending the arm and focusing on the hand making a circle with the finger tips this can be just a small circle gradually changing to a bigger circle depending how your body feels at the moment in time, then we ease off and change to make the circle in the opposite direction again the focus is about the finger tips making the circle so the shoulder joint can relax and you can pay attention to how big a circle the finger tips can or cannot make reminding ourselves that both of these are OK as long as I notice and do only what I am ok with at this moment in time, then we relax the arm and do the same on the opposite side again paying attention to this arm and again only doing what it can do at this moment in time, starting with small circles then gradually doing them bigger or smaller as you relax the shoulder joint and focus on the finger tips to make the circle then let go and do the same in the opposite direction.
We generally do 10 repetitions on each side in each direction, but we must listen to the body and only do what it can do at this moment in time not berating our body-mind that yesterday it could do it easy, so we must try harder or the person on your left or right is making bigger circles than you. We must remember the 75% rule in T’ai Chi, taking the body only to our 75% limit on a daily basis then when it needs more the body is fit and well to give it the 100% as we have not exhausted our body-mind in giving too much all the time. You may think well surely the idea of exercise is to push yourself to its limits each time you practise only that way will you become stronger and fitter. No the body-mind needs variation not doing the same thing each and every time, sure it needs occasionally to push it even beyond its limits but not always and sure we need to recognise that today is just not the day for doing it or it is the perfect day for doing it, we can only do this if we listen to our body-mind as one at this moment in time, yes we can remember what yesterday gave us and we can plan for the future what can maybe be, but this moment is for here and now.
Listen to the body-mind, can you hear it?