I’ve recently enjoyed a brief period of focused practice and contemplation during the last three months. I have found it helpful over the years to pull back and focus on specific areas of foundational practice or areas of postural sequences. I have found the more I delve into the fundamentals the more I gleam from them everyday something new shines through, it is truly a case of constantly polishing jade. The depth and subtlety of T'ai Chi Ch'uan never ceases to amaze, as practitioners I am sure you would agree?
The practice of T'ai Chi Ch'uan is, I feel, a much needed antidote to the stress and tension increaingly evident in today's world.
Tension... a squatter in the house.
Obtaining good health in Tai Chi Chuan is relative to the unrestricted and unobstructed flow of both the blood and Ch’i (vital/life energy). To realise this, we begin by actively releasing and letting go of all that which snags and binds us internally. In the course of this transformative process of releasing, we gentle the breath and work from the surface of the skin layer by layer, step by step, inwardly to the bone over a long period of time.
It is a process in which alignment, softness and relaxation are a pre-condition. In order to relax we release all bound up and unnecessary tensions from both mind and body, be they previous or present conditions. To release tensions we need to first feel and become aware of the tensions within our body. As a prerequisite, we need to feel our body.
In order to feel the body, we first begin by mindfully focusing inward to re-align our skeletal and muscular bodies both physically and energetically. Being aligned, emphasising feeling internally and being mindfully aware, the mind can gradually lead and release tension and its vibratory residue downward through the body and into the earth, ridding the squatter from the house once and for all.
- J.B. Hartley
John Hartley, Founder and Principal Instructor of Inner Health School of Taijiquan, Adelaide