The first two learning levels of Tai Chi are the physical level and the mental level.
The Physical Level
Tai Chi is comprised of physical movements to develop your health and wellness. You can use Tai Chi as a physical exercise for a healthy body. Getting your body to function well is the most external aspect of Tai Chi. When your focus is on your body, you train your awareness and ability to concentrate – mostly on your body’s positioning, mechanical movements, and techniques.
You do this until all of your Tai Chi movements are so natural that you can do them automatically. When your movements become second nature, you’ve completed the first level of Tai Chi, which is the focus of your external body. To attain the first level, you must be able to look straight ahead and extend your awareness. You should be able to simultaneously feel your entire body and comprehend what is going on outside of it without being distracted by your internal thoughts.
Tai Chi is more than just a physical exercise. It is commonly called moving meditation. This implies that Tai Chi’s movements are done in a meditative way. This involves getting your mind to function well, which is the internal aspect of Tai Chi.
Why do you need to work on your mind?
The Mental Level
The goal of Tai Chi wellness is to maintain a relaxed focus and quiet your internal conversations while you do movements in slow motion, with a deep sense of relaxation. You must activate your mind for this purpose.
The meditative movement of Tai Chi is the second level of Tai Chi. It’s about the focus of your mind so that you can work on or work with the subtle Chi energies in your body. This is more about directing your attention to the invisible and the internal.
So in the first level of Tai Chi, you work on your body to make it softer. As you progress with your body, you’re setting the foundation for the next level.
The next level is to make your mind softer. Since your body has been prepared, your focus will shift to becoming more aware of your mind. This means opening your mind and controlling it so that you can use your body and Chi energies in the service of your health and wellness.
By using your mind internally, you will focus on your Chi energy.
The only way to use your body energetically is to turn off and shut down your mind – to get yourself into a place of quietness. This level will require you to calm your mind. Get yourself into a place of serenity.
While in this state, you are still aware of what you’re doing.
What exactly are you doing?
In the simplest terms, you are directing the energy flow.
Your mind is very powerful, and you can use it to cause Chi to travel.
You can cause your Chi to go from front to back.
You can cause your Chi to go left to right.
You can move your Chi from the bottom, all the way to the top, all the while connecting the channels of your body.
In other words, with your mind, you are causing Chi to ascend, descend, and laterally move within your body. In addition to breathing (discussed in a previous blog), causing your chi to travel is another component of the internal art of Tai Chi. Connecting with the energy channels in your body helps you to feel your chi. You can move your chi smoothly to where you want it to work most efficiently.
Then, you can open up your Chi energy to go outside of your body, in the external aura. This is all coming from your mind. You’ll learn to notice ever more subtle, energetic signals, which in turn can lead you to heal yourself. For example, if your heart is broken, turn to your heart, send some love to it and heal it slowly.
It starts with your mind.
Then, allow yourself to become fully open and clear, bringing yourself to a state of stillness.
First, unblock your body to freely flow. This is the first level of Tai Chi. You may have poor physical posture, blood circulation, and nerve flow. This can block the optimum functions of your human body.
Once you get your body flowing, you’ll be able to start freeing your mind from conditioned emotions, thought patterns, and obsessions, and only then can you become internally relaxed and natural.
Second, relax your mind to free yourself from these conditions.
Let’s do some Tai Chi practice, and follow along with my video for more visualization of the movements.
1. Stand with your feet, shoulder-width apart. Release the hips, bend the knees, and relax into your feet.
2. Take your arms out, straight in front of you. Raise them, extend your fingers out gently, and then bring them back down to your sides.
3. Then turn your elbows out, so the palms are facing behind you. Feel the openness of this position.
Because of the position of your elbows being flared out, you feel an opening between your arm and your body. You feel your armpit free and clear. Your arms are not touching your body.
4. Exhale, relax, sink deeper down into your feet. Relax your neck, shoulders, and chest. Extend your spine.
5. Drop your tailbone. Sink and feel a tingling sensation in your fingers. Feel the openness, and how the opening of the body is bringing energy to your body.
6. Put your mind onto your left foot. As you put your mind into your left foot, the energy flows into your left foot. USe your left foot to energize and turn to the right.
7. Shift the weight, step and put your left foot down. Exhale all the way. Energize – one hand up, one hand down. Feel the openness of this posture.
8. Feel your fingers tingling as they are extending out into space. Feel the energy projecting out from your body. Surround yourself with this energy, making it a bubble of protection.
What if you can relax into your being and find inner stillness?
After learning how to release your body and then your mind: what’s next? What’s the next level of Tai Chi?
Find out by taking some Online Tai Chi Classes today.