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Monday 16th April 2012

On The Practice of Tai Chi - Shandoor Weiss

Imagine rising early before the busyness of the day begins.  After bathing you quietly approach your favourite spot, perhaps outdoors near a tree or a quiet clean room.  You have time to attend to yourself as there is nothing else to do right now.  Time dissolves as you begin to explore the range of movements that your body feels comfortable with, perhaps some of your favourite gentle warm up exercises.  You may feel drawn to some deeper stretches, or some breath work, perhaps shaking or massaging the body loose and alive. Coming to the attention posture, the body, mind and heart in balance.  The mind quiet enough to hear the underlying sound of simply being.  Nothing else in the world matters; there is nowhere to go, nothing else to do but the movements that await you. There is nothing to think about, for the body already knows the sequence. 

The form begins as we glide into each posture slowly sticking to our own yielding motion.  The body merging with the movement as if suspended in a warm liquid all around, both outside and inside.  The slow turning movements helping us to find the fullness of the expansions and how these in turn, give way to contractions.  Onward we flow, finding circles of energy and movement that blend and help us to centre.  At some stage we come to a moment that seems whole, a feeling that seems to tell us without any words that we are complete and whole, as we are.  We rest in this stillness once more.  We are prepared and ready to approach the day... with ease.

The movements of Tai Chi are taken from nature and they restore contact with the natural world.  We learn how to be rooted like a tree, with our full weight resting on the ground;  the breath becomes deep and natural, like the gentle swaying of a large tree in the breeze; the whole body becomes connected like a string of pearls;  the waist is flexible, like clouds waving across an open sky; the mind is still and calm like a large mountain; the spirit is allowed to soar, as though a graceful heron had just spread it's wings;  our attention becomes like that of a hawk soaring effortlessly, waiting to seize a rabbit - or like a cat crouching ready to seize it's prey;  we slide down like a snake and stand on one leg like a Golden Rooster;  in moving we flow like the currents of a great river;  in attitude we resemble the ocean, which is king of the waters because it lies lowest of all.  By the practice of Tai Chi Chuan we embody the essence of the natural world.

Shandoor Weiss

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