The following is an excerpt from my book Sunset Tai Chi: Simplified Tai Chi for Relaxation and Longevity.
Last week, we introduced you all to meditative shaking. If you haven't read up on that yet, go back and do so! This week, we will go into detail with the first several exercises. This will be especially helpful for anyone who does not easily feel a mind-body connection, particularly when they first begin doing exercise. The tiny details of stretching each body part in all possible angles are only a guide for you to develop your own body awareness. The ultimate goal is to completely loosen every part of the body deeply during this shaking, while maintaining a relaxed meditative mind.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start with the gentle movements of pulsing and some pumping through the ligaments in the fingers. Remember to loosen the fingers and gently move the wrists. You want to notice the sensation throughout the joints as part of the journey to develop awareness and sensitivity. How do you do that? You put your mind in the fingers while you are moving the wrists. Pay attention to the various sensations throughout the joints.
For example, if I put my mind in the fingers, the first sensation that calls my attention is the thumb because it is the biggest joint. And then when I put my mind in my thumbs, I can feel that my left thumb is looser than my right thumb. This is a significant part of the exercise. Put your mind in the joint, and concentrate on each sensation. Over time, you will even be able to feel the difference between the smallest joints: the pinkies.
Of course, at the same time, you want to take deep breaths through the nose while your mind is focusing in the joints. Remember, you need to be between awake and asleep and in deep relaxation in order to gain even more from this meditation.
Now we move to the next joint, the wrist. To isolate the pulsing or pumping in the wrist, focus on the elbows. If you can integrate more of your skills, put your mind in the lower energy center.
Some joints have more varied movements than others. The wrist has more range of motion than the fingers. When moving the wrist, notice the wide angles and various directions it can move: forward and backward, left to right, up and down, circles, twisting, and rotation. Feel or sense the difference between the right and left wrists, and between forward, backward, and sideways movement.
Then we shake the elbows and move the shoulders in order to create the gentle shaking, pulsing, or pumping in them. The elbows only have one major angle of motion, so creating gentle movement through them is simpler than with the fingers and wrists.
That's all for this week! Come back next week for an in-depth guide to shaking the shoulders, and finding the Yin and Yang layers in the shoulders for this exercise.
Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!