Tonight marks the third night this week that I’ve spent at least an hour practicing Tai Chi. During each evening, I practiced the 108 Movement Form (Yang Family Long Form) 3 times without a break. Since each repetition of the form is about 20 minutes, an hour of practice is guaranteed.

With all of this regular practice, the rust is starting to burn off: strength is returning to the legs, the motion is growing steadily more fluid, the connection between the upper and lower body has improved greatly. The connections within the body have grown so much more intricate that I can now feel the connection from the hands, all the way down to the feet and even the very Earth below. After the conclusion of Tai Chi tonight, I still had enough strength to do a few repetitions of my favorite Choy Li Fut form Siu Moi Fah.

As this adventure continues, I’m becoming ever more certain that Tai Chi is an essential element of the path of self realization. Indeed there are few arts capable of producing the inexhaustible marvels enjoyed by practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan.

With each evening’s practice, the flow of Chi within the body’s meridians becomes more intense. Wherever Chi flows, the circulation of the blood follows, so there is increased blood flow throughout the entire body. After a good night of practice, one can easily feel their Chi flowing rapidly: up the back, into the head, then down into their solar plexus (Dan Tian.)

This is the proper way for Chi to flow, but in most people the Chi is not flowing in the proper direction. One must practice some form of energy cultivation (Chi Kung) in order to assure that their energy is balanced. Nothing happens of its own accord, mindfulness and practice are required to realize genuine harmony.

How wonderful is T’ai Chi Chuan whose movements follow nature.
The whole body filled with one unbroken chi.
Use the mind and not strength.
The body feels relaxed and the chi lively.
For everywhere chi goes there is a manifestation in the body.
All this is a function of the mind and has nothing to do with brute force.
Movement arises from stillness, But even in movement there is stillness.
The spirit leads the chi in its movement…
Let the strongest aggressor attack us,
While four ounces deflect a thousand pounds.

–by Li I-Yu — Lost Tai-Chi Classics of the Late Ching Dynasty.

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