Some thoughts on awareness

Tai Chi Chuan not only changes the way you move but the way you think and relate to everything around you; the environment, animals, people, your own body - your awareness is heightened.

In the beginning it is difficult for people to relate to their bodies. How do I move the top half of my body without moving the bottom, or isolate a forearm movement without using my shoulder? These are all things which require an awareness of your own body.

Another area is where you are in space knowing when your shoulders are raised, wrists too high, facing straight ahead or on an angle.

The very basics such as stance are most important, if you commence from an incorrect stance the whole form will be incorrect. Standing with feet parallel and shoulder width apart sounds easy but can be difficult, most people stand with one or both feet pointing out but do not realise they do it. Their body tells them this feels right and comfortable and the mind reinforces it. It is only by having a teacher offer corrections that the student will become aware how it feels to have their feet in the correct position. It will feel awkward and even uncomfortable in the beginning. Remember, you are training your body to move in a different way, a way it has been for many years, these changes do not happen overnight.

In the beginning try and feel what your body is doing donít over analyse what you are doing. A good teacher will be able to describe the movements in detail, tell you where your weight is, which limbs move and why.

For whatever reason you have chosen to learn Tai Chi if you are able to become aware of your own body you will have achieved a wonderful thing.

Deborah Warland


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