Life lessons from Taiji Quan practice (2)

Hello Dear All Who Ventured Here,

Firstly, a very personal thank you to everyone who took the time to write to me to tell me they enjoy reading these thoughts of mine! Your encouragement means a lot :)

I have been training Taiji every day for two weeks now, and I have to say I feel so much more joy in practising the form. It is never boring, just like a river can never be boring: it is a flow that you learn to enjoy and move with, and the better your movement, to more enjoyment you get.

I have terrifying little time to write though, somehow between training every day, procuring the food and getting the laundry done, there just is not much of the day left. And I absolutely cannot compromise on sleep, as then I would be in no shape to train. So, here is short and sweet instalment number 2 of life lessons from Taiji Quan:

3. Have a strong foundation: always stay rooted in yourself.

Whether you are stepping forward, back, to the side or doing a leg press, a Taiji movement should never compromise your balance. Actually, the form can be seen as an exercise in moving from one balanced position to another balanced position. Whichever position you assume, you will probably be aiming to have your legs slightly bent, and your back – straight. When you stand like this (try it right now: legs slightly bent, back as straight as can be) you develop a sense of rootedness, groundedness. It is as if the physical stability of this position radiates and gives us a comparable degree of mental, spiritual stability. It is a lovely feeling. You are rooted in yourself, you are grounded in your stance, in balance, at peace. And as you move, you keep that feeling.

When practising, I began to feel that this has implications for life outside of taiji as well. One should aim to move through life never compromising one’s sense of self. Not giving away my balance as I strive for something too hard. Not reaching out or bending back in a way that compromises my centre. This sense of being centred, of being rooted, can relate to different things: for me, it is staying true to the values I hold dear, and the goals I really have (such as helping as many people as I can with my acupuncture skill). I almost lost myself to the promise of money last year, when I was invited to form a company with a friend. Then I slowly realised I was losing my balance and my sense of direction, I was being pulled to become a sales person and away from my true goal of helping people with my skill.

Moreover, in life - just like in Taiji - you need to flow, to adapt in an ever flexible way. But adapt while not losing your balance! That may be the key to the life’s wisdom, don’t you think?

This is me practising Snake Creeps down along a treetop walkway in the KL Eco Forest Park.

This is me practising Snake Creeps down along a treetop walkway in the KL Eco Forest Park.