Tai Chi and Qi Gong Discoveries Embracing the One
Knowledge and self-realizations gained during many years of studying tai chi and qi gong under Mr. Tai Chi and Lao Leann.
Embracing the One
We stand feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders down, knees slightly bent. We breathe from deep within our abdomen. With arms outstretched in front of ourselves, elbows slightly curved, we are standing in the pose of Embracing the One. We hold this position indefinitely… internalizing the energy flow. Qi flowing up one arm, through the torso, down the other arm and then passing from fingertips to fingertips in a continual circle. With each inhale, my arms expand outward as if I am embracing a ball of qi in front of me and with each exhale, my arms return toward center condensing the qi. It is peaceful.
Throughout my tai chi and qi gong classes we stand in this pose frequently; often being coached to adjust our posture and to open our arms wider. Yet my arms always drifted back inward, into a tighter, closer circle; grudgingly expandingly only a little bit in response to the prompt. The small gesture of holding my arms as if there was a LARGE ball between them seemed to require monumental psychological will. I remember being told in class once, “You won’t achieve elevated benefits of qi gong until you internalize the movement in your heart – when you feel it inside of you, that’s when you’ve got it.” So, I decide to quit fighting my instructions, and settle into open arms. Standing in this simple pose, my arms still rather reluctantly embracing this larger space, I experience a smoother more coherent flow of my qi.
It is then that I have an epiphany, an aha! I am not required to shrink into nothingness! I need not apologize for taking up space! (Who knew?) I am here, connected to this earth, connected to myself, connected to my qi. I like being surrounded by this sphere of energy. I like owning this space – I am empowered! My arms lighten and open wider yet. My teacher LeeAnn sees the light in my eyes. She gives me a subtle knowing smile, then she nudges my right shoulder downward (as usual) and continues to circulate through the class.
Shifu has taught, “We all are born, live and die. If you are here then the first thing (being born) has happened, And, since you are here, the third thing (death) will come. The important part is in the middle – how you live your life.” Finding my space was just my beginning. With arms opened wide, I now better connect with my energy so that it flows clear and free through my body. In turn, I will reach out and use this vibrant, coherent energy to more fully live this time in the middle; connecting with my community and my spiritual world; doing my work in harmony with power and purpose.
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