Principle Eight

Keep the back straight and the head drawn upwards toward Heaven. Align the seven energy centres. Feel the pull of Heaven throughout the form.

The body should be straight, drawn up as though being pulled upwards by the top of the head. The back should be kept straight, but not tense. The pull should not be forced, but a constant natural awareness. In balance we also feel the pull downwards to earth, maintaining a gentle stretch. There should be a constant pull, but this is strengthened in the yang movements in the form.

Keep the head held upwards do not let the head drop forward to look at the hands or feet. If you need to look at the hands follow them, with the eyes.

The seven energy centres, or chakras, should be aligned, from the base centre up to the crown. This vertical alignment should be held throughout the form, but without tension.

“We learn to maintain our connection to Divine guidance, to let Spirit direct our lives. If we choose to let the universe lead our lives we need to learn to connect and listen to the divine. The body is a vehicle for spiritual connection. It is no coincidence that the traditional positions for prayer and meditation create a vertical alignment of the body. The energy body creates a vehicle for direct communication with the Divine.”

Tai Chi is the totality. The Tai Chi form opens us to the totality. The energy centres are opened as we stand and the movement opens the channels and meridians within the body until the body becomes only energy. The centres vibrate at increasingly higher levels and raise us up to higher divine energy, like a radio mast. We reach up to the divine and we draw in the divine. We recognise our spiritual nature through the senses, emotions and consciousness of the body.

Finally the Tai Chi form brings us to a state of being. The body is relaxed and we feel the gentle pull of earth and heaven. The mind is still and quiet and the senses are withdrawn. The body feels energised, vibrant and alive. The mind is still but alert, sensitive to everything, but not involved. The heart feels open, the energy swirls within us and extends around us. Yet, perhaps the most important part, is that we feel connected, as though part of the whole.

We have two bodies, interconnected, a physical body and an energy body. Tai Chi awakens and energises both of these. The bodies are integrated through the energy centres, the chakras, into a complete being. The essential quality of Tai Chi is to experience a sense of the divine through the physical body.

Practical Exercises
1. In the yang movements feel the pull of the head upwards
2. Go through the form focussing on the crown centre
3. Breathe to each centre in turn, to increase awareness of it.
4. Check your movement in positions where it is difficult to maintain the thread to heaven.