Random thoughts, from the inside...
Doing the Taiji form is not so much about an external result but an internal process. We must be present throughout the entirety of the process. When we start to skip ahead of the immediate movement at hand it brings an immediate disconnect from feeling and being present through the internal process to an external focus on results ("completion of posture"). When this occurs the “spirit is no longer being gathered within”, or to put it another way, ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.
The idea of reeling silk in Taijiquan is more so descriptive of the internal unbroken continuity of motion rather than of an external series of connected movements. When the internal motion ceases, gets caught or, becomes stuck, stagnation occurs and being double weighted is the result. When the Taijiquan classics inform us that there should be no hollows or projection, it is referring to the internal motion or state within the body.
The internal motion or movement of energy should be free moving, continuous and unobstructed. Throughout practice remain conscious about the idea of unbroken continuity when transitioning from one form into another. Regardless whether the exercises are “static” and the external shape appears different the smooth internal change, exchange and inter-change of energy transitioning from one form into another is crucially important to one’s practice. We must find, through attentive internal listening or, turning the ear inward where internal changes occur, as it is central to attaining “unbroken continuity.”
When we feel in various areas of our body sensations of isolated tingling, heat, sometimes aches or pain or we may feel quite nauseous or light headed or should headaches occur seek immediate advice from your teacher and in all instances, consult with a medical specialist if feeling unwell but, all these except the headaches, can be a sign that our practice is beginning to deepen and that the chi is beginning to flow a little freer albeit spasmodically into our internal crevices and indicate areas of stagnate chi or blocked energy (tension). This aspect of practice I refer to as “returning to centre” and is about gently purging the house of hoarded materials and it begins with the releasing/relaxing process. This area of practice takes personal courage and commitment and can take some time to work through. The most frightening opponent we can imagine has no comparison when facing one-self and the fear of letting go.
Although, still in the beginning stages of my learning and practice, I have found if you persevere in your practice what can occur after a time of what I call shaping clay that is, having through releasing/relaxing and cultivating the correct alignments in the construction of our internal framework you will eventually feel, an emptiness and a sense of spaciousness internally throughout the whole body. The entire body internally will feel as if you’ve just stepped out of a warm bath. There also comes a point when internally, the whole body will feel liquefied accompanied by a sense of pressurisation and whole body connectedness, you will feel both light but very, grounded and energised.
- JB Hartley, Inner Health Taijiquan 2015
John Hartley, Founder and Principal Instructor of Inner Health School of Taijiquan, Adelaide