1. I became aware that much of the body's movements are not conscious. When we introduce consciousness, it becomes apparent quickly that the mind and body do not always work together. I read that tai chi is conscious movement; that there is to be no bodily movement without the mind. The mind directs the body. Easier said (or read) than done! Besides my daily tai chi practice I have been co-teaching a course, Somaesthetics on body consciousness. It has been an enlightening experience.
2. Go slowly. I became aware that I like things to happen quickly. I want to be at the end. The slowness of tai chi form has been good for me. Also, I wanted to know the form quickly. I have realized that that is not the aim. To practice one movement well is better than a whole multi-movement form performed badly. Go slowly.
3. I have learned what it means to "sink chi." To be rooted firmly and deeply in the ground is quite an extraordinary experience. All tai chi begins with wu chi. Wu chi is stillness, emptiness, nothingness. In Chinese foundation myths before everything else there was wu chi. All begins in stillness and returns to stillness.
4. Substantial-insubstantial, yang-yin. In tai chi all is based on this principle. All is flow. Substantial becomes insubstantial becomes substantial. As yin ends, yang begins.
5. The tan tien (roughly the waist/pelvic area) controls everything. All movement begins at the tan tien. This too is quite a neat experience, as much of our movement begins in the arms or legs and not form the waist. To move from the dan tien makes for a very different way of moving. Feels much more balanced.
6. That which looks the easiest is the most difficult to master.
7. Though tai chi is exercise or martial art it is really about self-understanding.