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
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
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.
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 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.