“Bring your attention into the room, focusing on your body, standing here, right now. Feet are hip-width apart, with knees soft (not locked).” That’s usually how I start my Tai Chi classes, sometimes adding, “be aware you are breathing, naturally.”
Slowing down and starting to relax can be a challenge for many of us. Learning what ‘relaxed’ means in our body can take time and come in tiny increments. I remember an ‘ah-ha’ moment for myself in Rancho La Perta, Tecate, Mexico a few years ago. The teacher said relaxing is not something we need to do or add. It’s letting go of something we’re already doing.
Letting go is a life-long journey. We have so many things we want to hang on to – family responsibilities, job deadlines, worry about money, concerns about health, wondering what others will think, etc. Our go-to response is to try harder, do more, push ourselves more and more.
When we start to let go, particularly on expectations for ourselves, we not only start to relax, but also create more space for the things and people that are important in our lives.
Even with Tai Chi we can put pressure on ourselves, to learn and remember moves, to keep up with others in the class, to feel like we’ve accomplished something. A different thought – come into class thinking “I’m going to enjoy myself; I’m going to go with the flow. I’m going to just ‘be’ for now.”
“Letting go is a basic, if not THE basic principle of T’ai-Chi-Ch’uan. it is said that a student’s progress is determined by how much he is willing to let go of — tension, emotional programming, fear, thinking, defensiveness, etc. The natural being is already powerful and wise. You must let go of your interference with the body’s power and wisdom.” Bob Klein, Movements of Magic, The Spirit of T’ai-Chi-Ch’uan.
How might you start letting go?