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What is this tingling sensation?

by Lee Cheow Lin

I joined the California Fitness Centre TaiChi class merely out of curiosity sometime in 2005. Since then I always look forward to the weekly classes.

Basically the classes are divided into 4 sections, first is the warm up exercise, followed by mediation, Qi Gong Exercise and lastly the practice of the 37 steps form and some theory.

Before I joined the TaiChi class, I was into high impact exercise like running and playing contact games, like soccer and basket ball. I had never imagined I would join a TaiChi until I met Master Chong as Tai Chi always gave me an impression that it is for elderly.

But after having a few lessons with Master Chong, it enlightened me that this is one of the best relaxation exercises for the everyone. Of course, a yoga practitioners would challenge my claim, but as I practiced yoga myself, I know that in order to get that Qi flowing, you may have to do quite a number sets of Surya Namaskar and also do a few difficult postures, and it is these postures that make yoga not very suitable for every one, especially people who are very inflexible or having fracture injury before.

How you know the Qi is flowing?

During the mediation and while doing the Tai Chi Chi Gong, you may feel a little bit warm on your palm and some light, tingling sensation at your fingertips. 

What is this tingling sensation?

According to the western viewpoint, the light tingling sensation on the limbs is due to poor blood circulation or ‘paresthesia’, i.e nerve damage due to pressure, however, according to the Traditional Chinese viewpoint, that is the Qi, it is this Qi that promotes personal energy for self-healing and well being.

In addition to that, you will find that during the mediation, you will feel that there is balloon, or more correctly an invisible force between your palms. When you bring your palms closer, it feels like you are pressing against some invisible force and when you move your palms away from each other, you can feel that invisible force is trying to hold back your palms, that is trying to move them closer.

I used to get this tingling sensation or Qi at the end of forty-five minutes to one hour of yoga lesson or run for more than a hour. After practising the Tai Chi Quan forms , I can have this tingling sensation and the invisible force automatically just after a few minutes of mediation.. It makes me believe that Tai Chi Quan movements have helped me to stimulate the flow of this Qi because before that I could not get this Qi unless I exercised, but now (after practicing the 37 form), it comes to me automatically just after a few minutes of mediation.

At first, I found TaiChi movements were very simple; I realized I was  wrong after I started practising it. I was really surprised by the incredibly high number of joint rotations and muscles involved during the practice. Behind it there is a set of principles at work like sinking the shoulders and dropping the elbows, relaxation of the waist and hips, using the mind instead of force, finding stillness within movement, etc. All this has been repeated so many time by Master Chong. By following this set of principles, regular practice will definitely improve our flexibility and joint movement, and it also improves our posture, not to mention it improves our Qi.

Nowadays, especially during the holding- ball form, I can really feel like there is an invisible ball between my palms. At the Wave Hands As Clouds form, I find my mind is so calm and relaxing.

In fact, I’m surprised by the complexity of Tai Chi Chuan; I started in the year 2005 and every lesson I never fail to discover some new things; you will find that even if you known how to complete the 37 steps form, there are still a lot of fine details in the movements still awaiting you to explore, like how to coordinate the upper and lower parts of the body, how to find stillness within movement and etc. 

It has been almost 4 years since I started learning Tai Chi Chuan from Master Chong, I still find that I still very far away from seeing the light. But I believe, although I may not be able to become perfect at it, I should try to get better and better with consistent practice and with patient guidance by Master Chong.



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