It’s just like this: when you practice Taijiquan, you just have to run the Taijiquan form. You just do it a lot. Like daily. No matter which form or which style you prefer, you have to do the form.
Of course you can have a closer look at the Taijiquan moves, do push hands, Qi Gong, and meditation. But basically it’s just
Practice Taijiquan = Run the Taijiquan form
And honestly: sometimes that is just a bit boring! I practice only one form. It is a long form, but it still is only one form. So I repeat it, repeat, rerun, retry, and repeat once more day in day out.
Because I plan to do this till the end of my life, I need to make the form interesting. Usually I try to practice whatever we talked about in the last lesson, just to understand it in more depth.
And I started looking for a “theme” or motto! So I start the form and focus on one aspect specifically. Like my feet or Yin & Yang.
Over the years I’ve collected a long list of ideas how I can run my form. So it remains interesting and I can discover new aspects. And obviously I’d like to share this list with you:
25+ inspiring ideas how to run your Taijiquan form
- Do it soft & flowing (quite slowly)
- Run the form like a drifting cloud
- Keep the moves and transitions really smooth as if you pull a silk thread out of the cocoon
- Bring to mind you are made of water (which you are to 70%!) and pour yourself into the form
- Imagine you move through water
- Imagine you move through honey or molasses (read this great article about that!)
- Listen to music while you run the Taijiquan form (I once went to a class where everyone brought their own preferred music. We practiced to Techno, Rock, Pop etc.) Tip: the piece of music should be at least 5 minutes long!
- Concentrate on Yin- & Yang-phases and aspects
- Concentrate on your center (Dantien)
- Focus on one specific part of your body, e.g. feet, hips, relaxed shoulders, open neck, hands
- Discover the different Qi Gong stances during the form (especially arms & hands)
- Feel how you are positioned between heaven and earth (you could concentrate specifically on acupuncture points Kidney 1 and Baihui)
- Put a small (rice) pillow on your head – how do your moves and postures change?
- Look closely: focus on the direction of your head and the eyes
- Roll off your feet ultra consciously
- Practice barefoot, with socks, in Taijiquan shoes or with sneakers and notice the differences
- Run much faster than usually (I do this to find my unconfident postures and transitions)
- Run much slower than usually
- Hold each position for 3 breaths before you continue
- As Taijiquan is a martial art, think about what your “opponent” is doing
- Run the form with strangers: instead of only practicing alone or with your familiar class, visit other classes, try another school, or go to World Tai Chi Day
- Go to different places: you can practice basically anywhere, why stick to the school or your living room?
- Practice inverted: If you usually open to the right, open to the left and train the other side
- Move only the legs (let your hands hang down or put them on your center)
- Sit down and do only the arm moves
- You can run the Taijiquan form in your head! Sit down, close your eyes and practice in your head only
These are a lot of ideas and inspirations to spice up your practice. If you need even more, you could also use quotes. I collected a lot of Laozi quotes. Just choose one, contemplate on it and try to put that thought or insight into your Taijiquan form.
Or you can have a look at the many principles of Taijiquan (e.g. here) and use them for your practice.
And if you know any other way to run the Taijiquan form, please share it in the comments. I would be more than happy to try it!