For directional purposes only. This is for you to first accustom yourself to the foot movements, the hands will follow. Secondly, focus in on your balance. Always center yourself BEFORE you move, this is essential. Thirdly, don’t forget the ten essentials, run down the list every time your pause at a posture; align yourself, make sure you’re body is correct for optimal breathing, etc. And last, as you embark on this journey don’t forget, THE MOST IMPORTANT DETAIL…..STAY SOFT, stay relaxed, breathe and be fluid.
The Ten Essentials:
1.) Straighten the head
The head and neck should be straight and naturally erect. Straining and tensing will limit the blood flow and the vital energy.
2.) Correct position of chest and back
Keep the chest slightly inward, which will enable you to sink your breathing to the Dan Tian
3.) Relaxation of the waist
For the human body, the waist is the dominant part. When you relax the waist, your two feet will be strong enough to form a firm base. All the movements depend on the action of the waist. “Vital force comes from the waist,” inaccurate movements in Tai Chi stem from erroneous actions of the waist.
4.) Solid & Empty stance
It is of primary importance to distinguish between solid (shi) and empty (wu)…only in this way can you turn and move your body adroitly and without effort, otherwise you will be slow and clumsy in your movement and not able to remain stable and firm on your feet.
5.) Sinking of shoulders and elbows
Keep your shoulders in a natural, relaxed position. If you lift your shoulders, the chi will rise with the and the whole body will be without strength. Also keep elbows down or you will not be able to relax the shoulders
6.) Using the mind instead of force
Whole body relaxation.., the goal is to increase strength without exercising force.
7.) Coordination of Upper and Lower parts
‘force” comes from a whole body perspective, only in the coordination of the upper and lower parts can maximum force be achieved.
8.) Harmony between the Internal and External parts
“the mind is the commander; the body is subservient to it”
9.) Importance of continuity
From the beginning to end the movements are continuous and in an endless circle like “a river that flows on and without end”
10.) Tranquility in movement
Tai chi is meditation in movement. The movement is blended with tranquility, and while performing the movements, one maintains tranquility of the mind
The more you practice and study Tai Chi Chuan you will get a better understanding of all the Ten Essentials.