We all can feel relaxed when practicing our favorite Tai Chi Chuan form or Yoga posture. From beginners to advanced practitioners we're constantly reminded to relax, re-position, stretch and get comfortable in the various postures and movements. There is no better environment to build this awareness than class, but it will never come to enrich our lives if we don't find a way to take it out of class and into the real world.
Application of Tai Chi Chuan goes far beyond simply martial and combative concepts. The jewel of the practice is its ability to heal, balance, relax, and guide those who need it to a more fruitful life.
How do we apply Tai Chi Chuan to living a better life physically, mentally and spiritually?
Silently treasure knowledge and turn it over in the mind.
The vague answer we hear all too often is we balance ourselves by relaxing. What does this truly mean? This leads us to our three tips. Here they are...
Refinement!- We must refine our physical practice to the point that it is not noticeable to the naked eye, but still felt. In the mind, it is the same, we must refine our actions to the boundaries we put on ourselves; without boasting about our 'morals' or imposing them on others. In the physical practice you should be able to walk into the mall or wherever you are and practice the principles without someone batting an eye. Searching for this we can translate the lessons learned in class into day to day activities.
Relax!- One way to say this is relax in any situation, but more importantly seek the most relaxed way to handle situations. There is a saying in the Tai Chi classics "Deflect 10,000 lbs of force with only 4 oz." This is a great way of saying we can do a lot with a little. The flip side to this is "How much is too much?". Ask yourself this question frequently. For example if you are working in a group and want something done the Tai Chi way is lead by example, it is far easier to motivate others when you are doing it yourself. Set the example and provide support when needed. Many will follow you if your achievements can be seen in your confident relaxation. Those who need support will be few and much easier to help when they can see how with a living example. With 4 oz you can easily nudge them along because your actions speak louder than your words.
When relaxed in your body it is easier for the mind to relax. Asking yourself "how much is too much?" not only applies to public relations but movement and posture as well. Wherever you are standing, sitting or doing whatever take note of the tension in the body and feel if you are using too much tension to hold that position or do that thing. Eventually you will find a way to stay the most relaxed regardless of any situation.
In closing the three steps are balance, refine, relax. It is not a finite practice but rather one that evolves as you evolve, growing as you grow. Make it your own and as it has been said in the Tai Chi classics...
Daniel R. Hyde
Licensed Massage Therapist
OIF, OEF Veteran
U.S. Marine Corps
Tui Na, Chinese Massage
Shiatsu, Japanese Massage
Tai Chi Chuan
Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu