While each stage develops energetically on the previous one, stage 4 is a significant step up in energy work. The form now specifically focusses on the higher centres. This is serious energy work and should be approached with care and respect. Once again, as in stage 1, we have standing positions which target the throat and third eye centres. As before the standing positions should be relaxed and focussed. They hold the energy at the centre and then the following movement moves the energy at the same centre.
Tai Chi Circle / Pillars in the Sky / Point Down to the Ocean
Same qualities and movements as at the start of stage 3.
Push Down to the Ocean
As you step down, after the turn, with the left foot make sure that there is enough width in the stance. The push should be forwards and downwards, from the heart. The churn is similar to the golden sun chi kung movement, but is through the higher centres, crown, third eye, throat and heart, hence pushing forwards and downwards from the heart.
Half Moon circle / Punch / Follow Step
Feel the connection between the left hand and the wrist as you turn to the right. Turn on the ball of the right foot to give movement for the turn. Shift all the weight onto the right foot so that you can draw the left foot in and then step, again with width. Again turn the right foot to re-align and bring power to the punch.
Repeat the movement, but this time the right foot is already in the correct position to allow the turn. Again shift all the weight onto the right foot as you turn so that the left foot can step. Again width with the step and turn the right foot for power.
Touching the Water
This in many ways feels like a bow, but try to maintain some sense of the thread pulling you upwards, don’t lean forwards. Again turn the right foot this time to allow the weight to sink down onto it. Sink about 70 or 80 % of the weight back onto the right. Then rise and move weight forward, hands opening up at the heart. Feel the upward pull on the crown as you come forward.
Fold the energy into the heart. Footwork is important to the movement. Right foot turns first, then left foot turns on the heel. Right hand, left hand and then right hand scoop the energy into the heart.
Wave hands Like the Clouds
as in stage one but with stepping movement. Good opportunity to reset the pace, to slow down again if you have become too quick.
Open through the Heart / Kick
Difficult move requiring good strength to do slowly. After the third wave the hands drop down and then rise through the heart and open, hands pushing outwards. As you come in after the third wave hand the right foot is pointing 45 degrees right, allow the body to come in aligned with that foot i.e slightly facing right (rather than the usual alignment where you come in to the centre). Now turn left and extend the left leg as you turn. The stronger you are the higher the leg can lift. But the effect of turning the body is to minimise the movement of the leg to the left. Toes touch down.
Step Across / Open through Heart
The left foot is empty and steps across to the right diagonal. Make sure the left foot is placed down with the foot turned left (almost facing forward, not to the diagonal) to form a good base. Again hands open through heart pushing outwards. Kick with the right, empty step, toes touch down first, then lift and place the right heel down and swivel on the placing the foot down in the direction you want, continue the rest of the turn by swivelling on the ball of the left foot. The effect of this is bring the weight more on the right foot than the left, facing 45 degrees left.
The right hand is facing the throat and the left hand is facing the Tan Tien. Feel the connection between the right hand and the throat centre. This is a most delicate position, the image is the arc of a silver moon held vertically, the feeling is of holding a new born baby. Breathe to the throat centre. Although the weight is more on the right than the left don’t feel that you have to keep it there. Move gently if it feels right.
After standing for a few breaths, feel the body turn left, if you can, let this be part of the natural movement. Then turn right, drawing the right hand across the throat centre, like drawing a silk scarf across it. Again very delicate. Try to feel it. Turn back drawing the left hand across. The third time the right hand comes across the throat, let it go past and upwards, as if reaching up to touch a star. All the weight comes onto the right foot and the left foot comes in.
Step Down into the Water / Waterfall
The left hand dips into the water, feel as though the water drips from the fingers. Use the waist to create the circular movement. Keep the feeling that the right hand stays touching the star, even though it moves. There is a balance here between the water and the star.
Streak of Lightning / Golden Shield
This is a tricky turn, so to make it easier start the turn as you finish the third dip and draw down the star, so that by the time you draw down the streak of lightning you have already done part of the turn. It is most important here to get the strength and width in the stance. Golden Shield is one of the most powerful positions in the whole form. It is good to have a strong stance and be well grounded. The ball of the right thumb connects with the centre of the left palm. Push the hands away at the heart. Strong upwards pull at the crown. Imagine a Golden Shield, not only in front of the body but rising up. Press the hands quite hard, to awaken the chi, although as you become more experienced at the position it can become quite a delicate connection. If necessary sink deep into the position to balance the energy.
Reflections in a Mirror
The left foot, pointing 45 degrees, should step directly behind the right to get the width for the next movement. The right hand pushes level with the heart, fire hand, feels like fire from the centre of the palm. As you turn back the left hand comes up towards the face. The centre of the left palm connects with the third eye centre, reflections in a mirror.
Alignment / Waving Hands
The rest of stage 4 is now pretty much a repeat of the last section in the opposite direction. The only difference is here, in order to turn back to the front. After the last fire hand, sweep back and come into alignment, now facing left. Step left with the first wave hand and then step back for the second and turn to the front as you wave hands. The turn is complete, ready for the third waving hands.
Silver Moon / Silken Hands / Waterfall / Golden Shield
All as earlier.
End of Stage 4