At the start of the class we stand with the feet together, arms down by the side in order to prepare for the coming session. There are five main elements to this.
Relax the body – just let go and feel the body relax as much as possible. It should feel as though the weight is being pulled down and the muscles relax. A good posture should be maintained, feet firmly on the floor, head drawn up, chin tucked in, shoulders open.
Quieten the Mind – Leave behind all the busy activity of your life. Affirm to yourself that this time is for you.
Connect to the Earth – There are two main energy gates, the first is through the base centre to the Earth. Feel a good physical connection between the feet and the earth. Imagine yourself rooted to the ground. Imagine the energy rising from the roots, through the soles of the feet (the bubbling spring), through ankles, knees and hips and into the Tan Tien.
Connect to the Light – The second main energy gate is through the crown. Feel yourself drawn up as though to a light above the crown. Feel that light shine down and connect behind the eyes. Feel the warmth of the smile in the eyes.
Open the Heart – This provides a sense of balance and wholeness. Focus the mind and the breath on the heart centre.
Ideally all these qualities will be maintained throughout the session. They are all basic qualities of Tai Chi. Most times as the session progresses these qualities will deepen i.e. you will become more relaxed, more focussed, more connected and more centred. As you deepen into the qualities of Tai Chi in practice and in life, this preparation will become more immediate and deeper. It is said that a Tai Chi master will be able to tell the level of students development just from observing this one opening stance.
These same qualities should apply to meditation practice as well. As you sit at the start of meditation feel the same qualities of relaxation, mentally quiet but alert, connected or rooted to the earth and connected to the light with the heart centre open.