When you relax into the turning of the waist and feel how it connects to the legs, you begin a process of rooting while moving that creates a dynamic and springy stability. Kind of a paradox, right?
You feel like a giant spring, anchored to the floor even though you're moving around, that is constantly being wound up and then released.
Too often, people conflate relaxation with just slumping on the couch. In Tai Chi, we actually mean, "moving in a way that doesn't constrict your nervous system and even more, having a sense of continuously releasing the nerves as you practice."
When you are relaxing into more and more leg and waist turning, your goal is to get connected all the way to the floor.
Here's an example:
In the Tai Chi Mastery program, Bruce explains how letting this turning penetrate the legs actually protects the joints of the legs and lower spine. You must simultaneously relax the nerves and the tissue to allow for turning, but also keep space in all the joints, so the turning movements pass through the joints.
Here are some of the key points to develop this quality in your practice:
- Turning from the waist should eventually feel like it directly screws the foot into the floor.
- Turning must go through both legs in all stances.
- Look for sections of the leg that stop turning because these freeze points will put pressure on the joints in that area (thigh or lower leg on the knee, for example, or hips/glutes on the lower spine).
You can practice this continuously in the Tai Chi form or in a variety of other movement patterns.