There is an old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
However, I think a Tai Chi practice a day is better. This is because Tai Chi is not just an exercise for the body but for the mind too.
We say that if there is no intent then there is no Tai Chi. If you just stand there and breath then there is nothing different between what a normal person does and what you, a Tai Chi practitioner, does.
When we stand we are not standing we are activating our mind. In our mind we formulate a connection between heaven and earth. This is not some mystical shit for the New Age groupies.
Instead, it is a method to open up the body without moving visibly. The key phrase is “WITHOUT MOVING VISIBLY”. There is movement but its subtle, like a gentle ripple on the pond surface. You can’t really see it but you can feel it.
If you do it you will feel your spine lengthening as if it is reaching upwards towards the sky, hence connecting to heaven. You will also feel as if your feet is merging with the ground, developing roots that dissolve into an endless bottom, as if you are standing on quicksand.
With this connection set up then you can move into the preparatory posture with two feet apart. But you do not move without a reason. You have to use your intent to command your body to move in a specific manner so that you have an integrating between inside and outside, internal and external.
In this way when you stand in preparatory posture the way you stand is different from the way a normal person stands. You will also be standing in a manner that is not the same as the average Tai Chi practitioner.
This is only the beginning. You next have to use intent to configure the inside of your body. You don’t try to relax, you don’t try to control your breathing. This is where we approach the practice differently.
You don’t try to relax because we practice a specific method to bring about a state of minimizing the use of strength. This in turn will allow you to relax. This type of relaxation creates a state of pliant tension such that the body is like an inflated ball sans the attempts we see sometimes to be like a ball by splaying the elbows sideways.
This relaxation method is based on using the mind to tell the body to do something and this something brings about the relaxation. You don’t have to try to relax. Just doing the principle will bring about the relaxation.
We also don’t try to breathe in and out to bring about the relaxation. Doing this can cause the mind to be attached when we want to detach the mind, to allow it to quiet down, so that we can listen and feel how our body is responding to the series of commands that our mind will issue it to perform the subsequent movements.
The carrying out of the procedures to create the Ancient Bell Body will open up your body from within such that you can feel as if you are hollow inside like an actual bell.
The Bell Body will magnify the ballooning of your body like an inflated ball without having to make posture physically. This is a more natural approach. This is also why we say this is a true internal approach because you can’t see it.
We can also conceal the feeling of this internal opening of the body. When necessary we can demonstrate by letting another party feel how this opening of the body allows us to channel an external pressure into the ground without having to move the body a lot.
After the creation of the Ancient Bell Body then you can proceed to start going through the other movements of the form. You have to be careful not to lose the Ancient Bell Body. It has to be kept intact throughout the performance of the entire form.
The Ancient Bell Body is the foundation for freeing up your old habits so that you can tap and use the power that is already inherent in you.
Yes, you read correctly. We don’t have to acquire internal power, we merely have to remove the obstacles that is stopping us from being able to use what we already have all along.
Unless Newton’s Laws of Motion and Classical Mechanics do not apply to you then you already have internal power. Its just a matter of unlocking it.
Power issue aside, practicing Tai Chi daily with the Ancient Bell Body is beneficial for your health. For one it makes for good posture by opening up your joints. This is something that you will understand once you feel it.
The second point is that Tai Chi practice somehow energizes the body. This is why it is good to practice it in the morning and if possible, do it also in the evening.