Energy, energy everywhere! Think about it; there is energy within us, all around us and in everything we see and feel. There is energy in both natural and man-made things. There’s energy in your house, a tree in your back yard, your car and even the air you breathe! The mystery surrounding this energy lies in the fact that we can’t hear it, see it or touch it.
In tai chi we speak of many different energies, including our own internal energy, or chi. All living things possess a life force and even inanimate things, such as rocks, possess their own energy. We speak of earth and heaven energy perhaps as we focus on our breath in meditation. Equally important in the practice of tai chi is the notion of various energies to be aware of such as ward-off energy, sticking energy, pulling energy and splitting energy. These forces are constantly at play and require our attention as we practice both the empty hand form as well as pushing hands.
The very existence of these energies and the level at which we must raise our consciousness is part of what makes tai chi such a profound art form. We can practice tai chi at a very surface level, enjoying the benefits of an aerobic exercise while relaxing and toning our bodies; or we can practice tai chi at a much deeper level by incorporating the use of these energies or forces and using our creative and meditative skills to achieve a true sense of the martial aspect of tai chi in our practice.
Approach your own tai chi practice with different goals in mind. Perhaps focus on true relaxation and meditation one day and the next day concentrate on your energy flow, followed the next day by your ability to maintain good posture. But always stay in touch with your internal energy as well as the energy you project – it’s everywhere, within us and all around us!