Beginner students often say that they find it difficult concentrating on every part of their body at one time as they move through the Tai Chi form. As when the focus on the alignment of their knees, their hands get forgotten and when they focus on marrying up the heaven/earth points (crown/perineum) they forget to watch their shoulders. When starting out as a beginner in Tai Chi there are a few ways of training that help develop the mind body connection as well as good alignment and posture.
Choose one part of the body e.g. knees. Spend a few minutes going through your form or specific movements within the form focusing on your knees. Not looking down at them directly, but building up a 3D image in your mind of where your knees are. Go inside the body and feel their movement internally rather than visually. Don’t worry about other parts of the body, let the movement of the rest of the body flow and stay focused of the knees. Over time your body will learn the movement and you will move away from thinking about how to move the knees correctly, and just do it naturally through ‘body memory’.
Spend a few minutes focusing on a particular detail, this could be the coiling movement within silk reeling, or the step out in single whip. Here instead of focusing on a body part, repeat one particular detail from within the form numerous times. Looking out for alignment, posture, internal movement, connection to the Dan Tian and softening.
Spend a good few minutes after practicing a single body part and details, going with the flow, creating fluidity and gracefulness in your form. This is an essential part of our Tai Chi practice so that we begin to move away from robotic movements, joining them together with relaxation, breathing and soft strength.