The process of learning Tai Chi, as well as most physical activities, involves educating the body how to do an action in a relaxed, yet efficient manner. In Tai Chi, the student first tries to mimic what the instructor is doing, without much real understanding of how best to accomplish this. The student is usually in an uncomfortable state much of the time. The stance or movement feels awkward and uncoordinated. It is at this point, many students give up because learning Tai Chi is not supplying the sought after results.

If the student sticks with it, and studies seriously, the movements start to become more natural as he or she understands exactly what is supposed to happen, and how to apply the principles to an action. And with enough time and practice, one will, most probably, find the results that were expected.

There is a little mantra that I repeat to myself and encourage students to repeat to themselves, and it goes like this.

“How can I make this (move or stance) more comfortable?”

Each and every part of every movement will respond to this simple question. Ask, then open up so the answer will express itself in your mind and body. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the wisdom of the body to find comfort and relaxation in even the most complex parts of our Tai Chi form.

Dr. Milton Trager, the originator of Trager Psychophysical Integration, taught a very similar idea. The client or student would lay on a massage table and the Trager practitioner would move the body around, with the idea of bringing movement and openness to the body/mind. While doing this work, the practitioner would say to himself:

“How can this be lighter? How can this be freer?”

And the body would hopefully respond under the practitioners hands. Dr. Trager would always say, “The practitioner can only give what he has.” That means that the practitioner must keep exploring his own inner self to find openness, lightness, and freedom so he can help others to let go.

So keep asking, stay open, keep up practicing, and you will attain.

Best Wishes,