All of the tai chi grandmasters are talking about “relaxation” of the body and mind. Isn’t that what we all desire, whether or not tai chi is a part of our life? I think so.
Each morning one of the grandmasters gives a keynote address to the entire gathering. They have an opportunity to explain their particular style and each one has emphasizes principles that are foundational, regardless of particular style.
Grandmaster Zhong Zhenshan said “the mind pays attention to the breath but doesn’t direct it. That allows the two to naturally come together.” Grandmaster Yang Jun said “relaxation helps us root into the earth, unify the body’s energy and be agile for change.” Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei said “the torso is upright. The shoulders are relaxed. The whole body is a circle; there are no straight lines.
These are merely snippets of the emphasis given to relaxation in tai chi. Each grandmaster developed,and taught a 10-movement form. Each stressed relaxation and were live examples of that when teaching individual moves.
Then last night we had the wonderful opportunity to see performances, of each style, solo and two-person forms, group demonstrations. Yes, beautiful to watch and also beautiful to feel. Some moves were even and smooth, some were slow, with sudden explosive follow-up steps. Powerful and relaxed at the same time. We saw it and we felt it.
Tai chi helps us cultivate that powerful, centered energy because we learn to relaxe our bodies and minds. That, in turn, carries into our daily lives and affects how we move and relate to others around us.
Just think of the strides we all could make in living fuller lives, in positively relating to people in different cultures and with different world views,if we all would learn to relax.
It starts with us as individuals, one person at a time. Tai Chi has some excellent lessons for us, in how we can make that start to happen.