Once I begin it doesn't take me long to feel the immediate benefits, I begin to enjoy the movements - my mood changes from feeling apathetic, sluggish, anxious or having muddied thoughts - I start to feel good, warm, the movements begin to become smooth and I start to relax, sink and synchronize. At my level, it doesn't take me long before I begin to feel energised, warm, coordinated, pain/discomfort-free, clear-headed and focussed, for a beginner they may have to be more patient before they experience these feelings and their "chi flow." I soon experience a sense of freedom in movement, mind, and from pain and discomfort and my mood elevates - in other words I feel quite free and youthful (yes youthful), all those hesitations are gone and I feel great and am in a state of "Flow".
The Rewards of Persistence
If I'm not persistent and give in to my apathy I wouldn't see and feel the benefits & rewards that I'm experiencing now - that is breaking through an existing plateau to reach another higher level of feeling or skill. This is noticeable and like an "Aha!" moment, it should be celebrated. By really giving your attention to your daily Taiji practice and regularly working on one, a few simple aspects you can really make a breakthrough in good time. When I mean one aspect, I mean paying attention to, and working on very basic things that you have taken for granted or that you've previously misunderstood or neglected. These can be as simple as being mindful of your bubbling well at all times - so easy to neglect and overlook. Or did you even realise that you weren't doing it properly? A couple of weeks - a few months of just being mindful of your neglect can make the world of difference to the quality of your Taiji..... then your awareness and sensitivity expands to your knee alignment, how your hips seat which flows on to your upper body, shoulders, arms, hands & fingertips or crown of your head, etc... It is that subtle and connected. You can only permanently improve and build on such basic foundations through regular mindfully focussed practice. Then other principles and processes fall more into place and you can feel the difference in your Taiji movements with such basic corrections.
Increased Enjoyment of Practice
Another benefit of regular higher quality practice I've noticed is that I enjoy and want to practice more. The enjoyment of and motivation to get back into the Taiji flow further fuels your improvement. Previously I usually only trained once day now I'm more motivated to practice at least twice a day (time permitting) at almost double the amount of time, sometimes more. This is just as well as you're less likely to give in to any of those self-destructive, negative excuses or escapist distractions. My teacher said that you really only make good progress when Taiji practice becomes an enjoyment. The momentum generated by this stage is great but you have to stick with and persist through the dull, repetitive periods when you feel that you aren't going anywhere. That's life.
Whatever your Art - persist with practice
Not even mentioning the great health benefits from regular practice, the end result is that you develop a great momentum in your Taiji training and development and improvement surely follows. Whether your goal is mindful meditation, maintain your health & wellbeing, to reach the advanced aspects of self-defence or just to develop the Art of Taiji - you feel much better about yourself and you have become a stronger, healthier, disciplined more resilient, & trust-worthy person. Your self-esteem increases and you trust and respect yourself more, it's completely worth it. So whatever your Art is - persist with your practice!
Lee Chang Tye