After teaching thousands of people of all ages and physical abilities over the last eight years, it is clear to me that there is one technique in Tai Chi that is more powerful than all others.
My main teacher, Bruce Frantzis, introduced me to this technique and taught me how to use all its variations, under different conditions. He has encouraged all his instructors to pass along this technique because it is practically a lost art.
Just this week, he released The Insider’s Guide to Tai Chi, where he describes Tai Chi’s most powerful technique in detail:
Upon recognizing what your own qi feels like, you begin two separate phases that synergistically work with each other. The first is centered on your central nervous system. Having gained the experience of putting your mind (awareness) into your muscles, you now learn to put it into your nerves. Relaxing and releasing the nerves themselves enables you to recognize the constant buzz that runs through your entire nervous system.
Most of us are not aware of this ever-present stressful buzz because it has become so normal. This buzz is a sure sign that your nervous system is either beginning to rev up (like a car going from 0–60 miles per hour in a few seconds), or even worse, has been locked habitually into a constant rev. This rev or buzz is how stress seeps through and hardens into your body. You now focus on ways to re-soften this nervous buzz inside you and progressively relax and release it from your nerves.
With a growing capacity to relax, you move into the second phase. Here you want to release the more-subtle nervous buzz of blocked qi inside all your body’s tissues. Progressively, step-by-step, you find and release the rev in your joints, blood flow, spinal system, internal organs and glands.
Each stage of releasing the rev from your bodily systems makes your body more awake. This takes you into more subtle and powerful experiences of what it means and feels like for your body to be fully alive.
The enlivening technology of Tai Chi — not what is visible on the outside, but what you do on the inside, with your mind, your chi, and in your nervous system — holds the potential to transform the way you feel throughout the day, every day.
Every time I get a clear hit of just how to release a new layer, or relax to a new level, it blows me away and makes me hope that you can find a way to experience it as well.