The busy person’s secret to training more.

A lot of new students around the 3 – 6 month mark tend to complain about not having enough time to practice. Tai Chi as you know is a very deep and complex art so it is a valid question. I will tell you here what I tell them.

Have you stood in a line today?
If the answer is yes,

  • Did you practice Wu Chi while you were standing there?
  • Did you practice single weightedness?
  • Did you practice abdominal breathing?
  • Did you practice whole body breathing or any of your nei kung such as your internal iron body or iron palm?

All of these things can be practiced without anyone watching being aware that you are doing anything. After all Tai Chi is an internal martial art which means much of the work happens inside and is invisible to all but a very trained eye.

Did you walk to the bathroom today?
Most likely the answer is yes.

  • Did you practice walking with internal alignment?
  • Did you practice being relaxed while walking with alignment?
  • Did you practice shifting your mental attention / intention from your knees or lower back to walk with better body mechanics and placing less stress on injured areas of your body?
  • Did you work on dropping an inch or two so that your shift from one leg to the other was proper walking for a Tai Chi practitioner and not what I refer to as stickman walking?

Did you drive a car today?
Here’s what you could have worked on:

  • Work on releasing all unnecessary tension from your body beginning with your “stomach”.
  • Use Tai Chi relaxed sleepy eyes to see more around you and gain better focus on the road.
  • Breath as if you were doing your Tai Chi set (in other words abdominal or whole body breathing) while you are driving.
  • How are you sitting in your driver’s seat? Sit with good alignment while still relaxing very well. At first you may have trouble with it. In that case this is excellent practice for you.

I had a student who moved here to Tennessee from Florida to study with me a few years ago. We actually drove back from Florida at the same time although in different cars. The day after we arrived he looked at me kind of funny through tired eyes and asked me when I practiced because he had been with me for two days and had not seen me do anything.

I told him the same answer I will give you. I practice all of the time including while we were making the drive from Florida.

The old Masters say, “Practice 24 hours a day”.

Every day I do all of the practices I listed in this article and many many more that are to numerous to mention and that do change from time to time depending on what skills I am focused on at the moment or skills that I am working to improve at the time.

Once again, of course on top of whatever else I am working on, every day I spend time with all of the core essential internal Tai Chi training that I have mentioned in this article plus more. The training I have hopefully elaborated on in this article does not take extra time from my day but I get benefit from it constantly.

I hope this article helps. Now all I need to do is find more time to write. 🙂

What are some other ways you work extra training time into your day?

Photo by Arjan Richter

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