|Just Stand Still to be in Sync with Nature
18th June, 2004
Most T'ai Chi masters prefer to hold T'ai Chi classes at sunrise when fresh chi emanates from the earth, trees and heavens. T'ai Chi at sunrise prepares you for the day by increasing your yang or stronger energy, and decreasing your yin or softer energy.
The second most appropriate time to practice T'ai Chi is at sunset when at the end of your day, you want to slow down, decrease your yang energy and increase your yin energy.
Skilled T'ai Chi exponents exploit the strength of the earth (yin), and the energy (chi) of the heavens (yang) and focus their physical and spiritual energies to improve balance, stability, flexibility and skill.
Because much of the benefit is derived from deep breathing, T'ai Chi is best when practised outdoors in close conjunction with Nature. The presence of fresh air, natural light, and sounds, sights and smells of Nature can subdue your ego and facilitate the state of mind where there is no room for body consciousness or inhibitions.
The benefits of practising T'ai Chi outdoors are immeasurable. Experiencing Nature's grandeur in the form of a beach, mountain or park can heighten our sense of being part of something larger than ourselves.
This awareness can bring unexpected peace and help repair or come to terms with the disappointments in life. Feeling the sun or rain or breeze on your skin, while you are totally wrapped up during the dance-like sequence called the "Form", can transform your senses, giving you the unique feeling of well-being. It can also teach you a lot about life as you observe the cycle of birth, growth, death and decay in the natural world.
When your spirit yearns for connections with Nature, any waterfront can also be a great place to practise T'ai Chi as it can connnect you to the power of the sea meeting the land and sky. It can also challenge your ability to move, stay rooted, and keep your balance.
For the Standing Meditations, Chinese masters often recommend that their students seek and emulate the strength and energy of an oak-tree, firmly rooted, solid, and strong at the bottom, yet soft and yielding at the top.
Inspired by the talk of Nature, I can't help but share one simple exercise which can be done anywhere, anytime. Here is how you do "Standing Quietly Doing Nothing":
"Quiet Standing" is perhaps the single-most important and valuable exercise in terms of its effects on improving health, healing, and managing, reducing or eliminating stress.
Since it does not involve any complicated moves, it is easy to concentrate on stillness, balance, total body relaxation, allowing your internal energy to sink to lower belly, and then descend to the Yong Quan Points (acupuncture point on the balls of your feet).