What is ‘listening’ in tai chi & qigong?
Ideally, listening is very light; it is being able to sense and respond to the gentlest of touches. If the pressure of one hair were placed against your skin, you would feel its direction and give way.
Setting up how to feel it… Listening is most easily felt when you are working with a partner, but in a different way it also applies to solo tai chi practice. To feel it, it is necessary to have a partner to help you:- 1) Hold your arm out in front of you, slightly bent at the elbow so that your palm faces you, and have someone touch your wrist either with his fingers or the back of his wrist. It is better if he doesn’t grip you.
Feeling it… As your partner pushes, there should be no muscular tension. This is easy, your arm will simply fold with the gentle pressure. Try to sense the exact direction of the push. Was it directly towards you, or was it fractionally left, right, up, or down? Was there any pressure between your wrist and the other person, and did you respond precisely to that push? This is ‘listening’ and ‘following’.
A conversation. It is the same as someone telling you their point of view, when you are only focussing on what they have to say without judgement or wanting to interject with your point of view.
And if you want to change the direction of that conversation? What if you want to redirect that push? If you stop listening, your muscles kick in and you’re no longer ‘going with the flow’.
Listening to your body.
And the point is… Listening is ultimately about relaxation and the ability to read your own tension, pinpointing where it lies, and how to release it. When doing a solo tai chi form this is equally as applicable as working with a partner. It’s your own tension that will let you down making your movements more clumsy and wooden. You’ll know when you’ve got it right because the movements will feel smooth and easy. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ James Drewe teaches Taijiquan and qigong in both London and in Kent. Details of weekly classes can be found on the website, and there are classes for 2-person Taijiquan one Saturday a month.
CONTACT: http://www.taiji.co.uk http://www.qigonghealth.co.uk Email: email@example.com Phone: 07836-710281 or 020-8883 3308 _______________________________________________________________________________________________