Feel the earth beneath your feet. Feel the connection through the feet to the earth. Imagine roots from the feet deep into the earth, at least as long as the body. Feel the body being pulled down, feel the body’s weight sinking down towards the earth. The body’s weight is centred around a point just below the navel. This centre of gravity coincides with the Tan Tien centre, sometimes called the Hara or sacral centre. It is approximately three fingers width below the navel and right in the centre of the body. It feels as if the weight of the body is sinking down from this point. In balance you can imagine the energy of the earth rising up to this point. Imagine the energy rising from the roots, through the centre of the foot at a point called the Bubbling spring. It rises through the ankles, knees and hips and into the point just below the navel. For this purpose all the joints should be unlocked, relaxed and not tense. You can rest your hands, one on top of the other, on this point and focus your attention there. Feel the warmth behind the hands. Imagine it to be like the kindling of a fire. Stand and continue to pay attention to this connection. The tan tien is the point of connection to earth energy. Earth energy is nurturing and supportive. It is the point of our physical capability. The energy of the earth increases our physical vitality.
When we do the tai chi form or chi kung exercise we connect to the earth. Our physical movement comes from the Tan Tien and is an expression of the earth energy. Most of the time we are expending our own energy when performing physical exercise, but by creating and opening the earth connection the physical expression becomes empty. This means that we are expression less, eventually none of our own energy and allowing the movement to become an expression of the external earth energy. To do this the movement needs to be smooth and relaxed and the mechanics of the movement and the principles of those mechanics learnt and applied. The tension in the movement should be eliminated. That is not to say that it is without strength and power, but that strength should be expressed in an effortless, relaxed way.
To go deeper we try to comprehend the energy of the earth. Wherever you are right now recognise what is beneath you. Underneath your feet is the whole planet. When we root in we are not just considering the area beneath us but recognising and connecting to the energy of the whole planet. We are like a speck of the dust on the surface of a giant ball. Underneath us right now, literally, are the Himalaya mountains, the Amazon rain forest, the Sahara desert, all the continents and the oceans and the core of the earth. Consider how much power and energy is in this giant ball beneath your feet. Because our body is part of the earth, all that energy is available to us. It is like an infinite source of energy underneath us right now.
We are part of the earth. Our body comes from the earth and returns to the earth when we die. All the bones, the flesh and blood are made up of minerals and elements from the earth. Our body appears to be separate from the earth, but it is in a constant cycle and exchange with the earth, both physically and energetically. We are constantly taking in food from the earth and recycling waste back to the earth. There is a deeper earth connection, an energetic one, through the soles of the feet and the base centre. We can become aware of the energetic connection between the lower abdominal area and the earth. Feeling ourselves rooted into ground and part of the energy of the earth. Our body is part of, not separate from, the earth energy. The earth supports us, it is essential to our very existence. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. If we acknowledge that we are part of the earth, then so too are all human beings. We are all part of the one earth.