THE MANY LAYERS OF TAI CHI

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"Every tree and plant in the meadow seemed to be dancing, those which average eyes would see as fixed and still." - Jalal ad-Din Rumi

 

How many times do you may hear Tai Chi referred to as like an onion because of its many layers? It is an art that you can spend a lifetime studying, but never learn everything it has to offer. The other day I was working with some students who were having some balance issues and I was saying that if you watch a time-lapse video of a flower blooming you can see that the center moves very minimally and the petals open from the center of the flower. A common mistake is for someone to have all their energy rise up to the top, causing them to become off balance.

I was looking on YouTube for a good example and found quite a few. The best videos I found that would best mimic the way to practice the Tai Chi form would be ones where you can see the whole plant root and all.

 

 

When you watch the plant grow in this video you can see that the root is moving downward while the stem aligns itself and the leaves are reaching upward towards the sun. Due to the sped-up motion of this video, you can clearly see that the plant expands in all directions at the same time. Pick a point on the stem and take notice, once it reaches a certain point it no longer moves upwards, it expands in all directions. In the Yang Tai Chi form, there is a clear martial application for each posture but there has to be expansion and awareness in all directions at the same time. If this can be attained then the chi can flow through the body unimpeded and the true health benefits of Tai Chi can be revealed.  


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