When I started Tai Chi I couldn't distinguish, or feel the the individual parts of my pelvis and general waist area - there was a lot of tension there. This insensitivity also included my lower spinal vertebrae - It all felt more or less like a block and moved like a block. As I've gotten better with practice I can feel the softening/loosening of those individual areas and in particular become more aware of my "kua" & the "seating of the hips". The awareness & movements involved in that area is crucial to moving according to the principles of Tai Chi.
My teacher is fond of quoting what his Master used to tell his students (concerning the correct attitude to learning Tai Chi): "Fast is Slow and Slow is Fast." As it is with the people who come to try my classes and leave after one trail session, they expect to get straight into learning the Tai Chi set and don't understand, or have the patience for the stationary exercises that prepare them for the set. A "What's next?" attitude...I suppose each to his/her own.
To slow down and give something our full attention is very troublesome, we want things done quickly, if not now/already. We have so many things on our minds, so much to do. To slow down and give full attention to the now is very beneficial - what's your body doing now? How is it moving? Are you holding onto unnecessary tension? Is faster better?
I read this statement in a book today and agree: "Your body is renewable and rechargeable". Put good things in: healthy food, good thoughts, clean air & water, be around nature and good people, adequate rest etc and it renews itself. Tai Chi is a bit like plugging into a power source and recharging the battery cells.
Because I've been doing Taiji for awhile, I've forgotten (and have taken for granted) how stable I have become in my emotions and moods. However, I do get reminded of emotional swings and loss of control when I see other people less fortunate. There was a time when I was much more volatile and things would upset me easily. Perhaps getting older, being a better person, taking better care of yourself, maturing etc all play a part in becoming less "reactive and at the mercy" of situations we encounter in our lives? But I believe that over time as you practice more seriously and regularly, your emotions are changed for the better. This is reflected by other (but not necessarily all) serious practitioners I know of. More balanced and calm, open and accepting, self-reliant & happier. Eventually less anger and aggression. It also helps if you genuinely ponder the principles of Daoism. It doesn't mean that serious practice of Tai Chi will convert you into some Daoist monk who is an island unto him or herself but it sure helps.
These are my thoughts about various aspects of Tai Chi. They may or may not be original and I try to give credit where credit is due.
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