How Do You Use Your Mind in Tai Chi?
I am still a student in learning Tai Chi, and even if I gain any level of skill, I will remain one until I die. And as I practice my perspective will progress with whatever skill I gain along the way. So, I may revise articles like this in the future.
Using the mind and not force. What does this mean? When you are using relying on physical force, you tense up and fight gravity. Examples of this would be if you are weightlifting your muscles are working and against gravity.
In Tai Chi, you use the mind, and the body moves, so you not actively moving a particular part. Say the hand when you are doing the form or posture. The key is “sinking” letting go of the tension in the upper body.
You use your mind to feel where the tension is and release it down. Sometimes it is not tension but again using your mind, you relax muscles that are “too active” and try and relax this activity again down. The sinking will spiral down as your mind leads it to the ground.
This action will have an equal and opposite reaction from the ground, that will rise from the ground and into your feet. Spiralling up and is what causes the hands to move a particular direction. The whole process happens in unison, yin-yang interacting together. The yin is the sinking, and the yang is the force from the ground thrusting up.
All under the guidance of the mind and no tensing up of the muscles. Different Tai Chi styles have different drills to exercise this.
What happens for beginners though, as they let go of tension, “sink” or do these exercises the action open blood vessels and the sinews. And may cause a level of internal discomfort. This is simply vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels due to increased blood flow. And because the inside of your body is tight, this is the reason for the little discomfort. The same way you would if you stretched a tight part of the body. This is normal as these parts of the body are opening.
I still feel a level discomfort but to a lesser degree than before. A lot more can be said regarding this. But when one practices, one can begin to understand the health and combat benefits of this martial art.