Gather Celestial Energy

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Prepare

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Eagle Stance

(Ying Shih)
Stand with your front facing towards the South and your back towards the North. East should then be to your left and West to your right. Now stand with your feet together with both heels in contact with one another, but the toes pointing slightly outward. Let your arms hang down so that your open hands lay loosely by the sides of your thighs. The body should be erect but completely relaxed, and your eyes should be looking directly ahead. The mind should be tranquil and you should feel at peace with yourself.

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Bear Stance

(Hsiung Shih)
Step directly to your left with your left foot, ensuring that you execute a heel and toe action with that foot, until both feet are about a shoulder-width apart. Your arms and hands should remain as before, hanging loosely by your thighs. Whilst your body and head have remained in the same position, ensure that your body weight is evenly distributed on both legs.

Sequence 1: Gather Celestial Energy

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1. Eagle Stance

(Ying Shih)
Slowly raise your hands and create a half circling movement round your hips. Bring your hands together in front of your lower abdomen about two inches below the navel. The tips of the fingers of both hands should point to each other, but should not actually touch. The palms of the hands should be facing down to the floor. Your elbows will naturally move outwards as you execute the above movement. Simultaneously draw your left foot in until it is alongside your right foot.


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2. Eagle Stance

(Ying Shih)
Now slowly raise both arms and hands to a point directly above your head by taking them forward and upward in an arc, until the palms of the hands face towards the ceiling or sky. About halfway through this movement, your hands will be on a level with your eyes — at this point let your eyes follow the back of your hands until the maximum vertical point is reached. This will mean that you will have to tilt your head back during the execution of this movement, but there should be no strain or stress. Ensure that the fingertips of both hands still point to each other.

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3. Eagle Stance

(Ying Shih)
Lower both of your hands in a half circle forward and down to a point in front of the lower abdomen. As you do so, allow your head and eyes to follow this movement, until your head is naturally erect and your eyes look directly ahead. Once your hands reach your lower abdomen, let the tension go out of your hands so the fingers point downwards, then immediately slowly rotate both wrists so that the palms of the hands face upward. You will notice that both hands will make a small circle, so that they arrive at a point two inches below your navel. Make sure that the fingers of both hands point to each other but do not touch, and keep them straight without tension.

Next sequence

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The Chinese Art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan

by Chee Soo

Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2003 reproduced with permission