Learn to experience the chi, or breath energy flowing through and moving your body. On the beach accompanied by the crash of the surf and the call of the seagull; in your own yard lit with the symphony of the rising sun, glistening dew and chirping birds; or in your room where you have the privacy and peace of familiarity - experience the chi for yourself. Try just standing quietly arms at your sides and feet at shoulder width. Let your knees be flexed. Just stand there relaxing your mind of all thoughts; let yourself flow into the rhythm of your surroundings. Your breath will become deep and regular as you relax. Sense the energy flowing up from the ground into your feet and through your body. Sink into that energy. Let your arms ride up before you on the wave of that rising energy, slowly, effortlessly. Let them slide off the energy wave, and slowly sink back down to your sides. Play with this flow awhile. Perhaps at some point you will feel the need to turn gently to one side, your arms floating outwards. Maybe you will need to take a step in some direction to maintain your balance. Take your time and move slowly. Be loose; allow the energy from within you to move your body, instead of imposing movement through will and muscles.
In t'ai chi - all movements are generated from the center of gravity within the body - the tant'ien, just below the navel. Body and Earth and Air are still one, flowing through and within each other. Experiment with this, as a further refinement of the earlier exercise. Again, standing quietly, arms at side, feet at shoulder width, knees lightly flexed, rest until your breath becomes deep and regular. Experience the energy flowing through your body, but instead moving your arms, try turning to one side from your tant'ien. Step into the direction of that turn. Let your shoulders follow, but don't force them. Just experiment walking around in various directions. Let each turn originate from your tant'ien. Let your arms be loose, and your knees flexed. After some time, keeping the awareness of your tant'ien, let your arms slowly rise and move to the flow of energy. Expanding and contracting, rising and falling, circular flowing, nowhere going.
* Practice by Saraswati Ransom