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The Silent Strength of Wuji
 
by Nancy Deye, ATCQA Certified Tai Chi Instructor

(This is an excerpt from the author's book, the Essential Principles of TaijiQuan, which you can find on Amazon.com. You can also purchase directly from the author for a signed copy. Contact the author at nancydeye@gmail.com)

Before Taiji, it is Wuji. It was in a state of mixed Qi. Thus, Wuji is called the Mother of Taiji, the power before myriad things were created.

- Grand Master Mr. Tu-Nan Wu

Relax

Bring attention into the awareness of the body. Be present and mindful. Stand naturally with the feet placed shoulder-wide apart. Place the hands to the side with the palms facing inwardly and relax the whole body. Close the eyes and feel the skin and the muscles supporting them; mentally check for tension and encourage full relaxation there. Move down to the angles of the jaw making sure the teeth are not clenched. Let the tongue lightly touch the roof of the mouth behind the two front teeth. Then let the sense of relaxation travel down the sides of the neck. Tuck in the chin slightly and feel a gentle release in the back of the neck. Exhale to let the chest rest. Take the mind to the right shoulder; let it sink down; feel as if weights are attached to the elbows and the right hand is hanging heavily by the side of the body.

Then go over to the left shoulder and let it sink down as well. Gently rolls the shoulders back and down, bringing the shoulder blades closer together in the back and the heart lifting in the front. Imagine that a soothing stream of clear water is washing down the back, carrying any obstructions away with it. Feel the downward movement pass through the body, relaxing every muscle. Feel the weight sinking down through the legs to the soles of the feet. Focus on the "Bubbling Well" foot point connecting and rooting the body to the earth.

Align

Keep body upright: head erect, back straight, shoulders back, down and aligned over the hips, the knees slightly bent and the tailbone gently tucked in like a pendulum pointing to the earth.

Now, take the awareness to the "buy hui" ["bye way"] point, the soft "baby spot" at the top of the head. Imagine that the head is being suspended from a silver string and let the body hang gently and effortlessly. Feel the spine lengthen and decompress. Stand still in this position with the body correctly aligned between the ground and the sky, poised between heaven and earth. Sense the drawing of Qi energy from the two great forces of heaven and earth.

Imagine cleansing the whole body from the inside. Sense warm water slowly trickling down from above, starting at the top of the head, moving through the body, and exiting from the bottom of the feet, releasing any remaining tension.

In this shape, seek quality by emptying and releasing various parts of the body. Start by checking for any tension in the right side of the body, then go to the left. Equalize them by releasing any tensions that are found. Move to the upper and lower hemispheres of the body. Check and equalize. Check the front and back aspects of the body followed by the inner and outer aspects. Aim for the release of any tension in order to be balanced and equal. Release what can be released, accept what cannot. Tensions often give ways with practice.

Much of the process is initiated by the mind, but as time goes on, it is worth releasing the control of the mind and opening trust in the body and spirit. After dedicated practice and training, muscle memory and body/mind awareness naturally gravitate to correct form and its ability to release tensions.

Breathe

Breathe naturally through the nose. Relax the diaphragm so that it expands with each inhalation and contracts with each exhalation. Keep everything relaxed. Gently steer attention to the lower abdomen, the Dan Tian. Keep the focus there as long as it feels comfortable then return to a natural breath. Maintain a slow, relaxed breathing pattern. Think of the breath as a long string of energy as it enters the nostrils, moves down to the belly, circling, energizing, and harmonizing before it takes its route back up and out.

Place gently awareness on rooted standing, breathing and body awareness. Nothing is uncomfortable or forced. Relax. Experience calm. Within this framework, a heightened awareness grants ability to sense a pulse throughout various junctures of the body and utilizes the breadth to enhance the flow of Qi throughout, permeating the organs to increase functionality. Prepare to combine mental focus and physical action.


 
 

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