A lot of Tai Chi and Qigong students practice secretly out in the wild. What is this secret training and how can you add it to your practice? It's being outside of your training space or studio, it could be somewhere in public or somewhere non Tai Chi related, in everyday clothes, doing every routines and sneaking some Tai Chi and Qigong practice into what you are doing. Examples:
- Standing in a supermarket queue and doing a variation of standing practice.
- Driving a car, paying attention to how you are using your shoulders, their alignment through movement, and being aware of unnecessary physical holding or tension.
- Standing in a queue, in a modified forwards bow stance, shifting weight subtly from 30-70% on each leg, switch legs.
- Walking somewhere, and being mindful with your posture e.g. lengthening the spine whilst rooting the hips (ding).
- Standing at the post office and modifying (shortening) the lower body silk reeling stance, going through a short training session.
- Sitting at your computer, paying attention to your posture, replicating as much as possible the correct Tai Chi and Qigong alignment.
- When gardening, use the strength of my waist, kua, core and lower body instead of my arms and shoulders.
- Practicing breathing colour into one of the yin organs the inner smile waiting in a queue.
- Attending a yoga class and adapting the movements to be more qigong based than yoga.
- Waiting in line, practicing empty stance leg and right. This is great single leg strength and conditioning training.
- Walking in the woods and practicing deep physical relaxation, either focusing on a specific body part as you move and observing and adjusting as you walk, or with an overall sense of physical release and ease.
- Standing at a bus stop and practicing connecting the pressure going into the ground with equal force in the opposite shoulder, switching from left to right (ground path, rooting with opposing force).
- Lying down in bed, aligning the body into a modified standing practice pose, using dantian breathing to fall off to sleep.
- Standing on a tube whilst it is travelling and taking a stable lower body stance e.g. a modified forwards bow stance, lowering your centre of gravity and maintaining stability through softening.
- Waiting in a queue and practicing expanding and compressing the joints in my shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers, over a small range of motion.
- Picking something up off the floor by performing a full squat or a low stance (not out in public for this one!).
I have done all of these, and still do regularly. There's plenty you can do without anyone being the wiser. Queues are a firm favourite place! All you need is a single point of focus, and you can adapt most standing, sitting, lying down and walking activities. This is part of a life long practice.