Transfer your body weight slowly onto your left leg and at the same time draw your right foot back and slightly bend your left knee. Having withdrawn your foot about twelve inches, raise your right toes off the floor. Whilst moving into this stance, rotate both wrists so that your hands make a half circle, outward and upward, about the size of a football. Then draw both arms back towards your sides, making sure that both palms face each other and that your arms are parallel. Now bend your body slightly forward, keeping your back straight, so that you can look down between the palms of the hands.
Move your right foot forward and transfer the weight of the body on to it, making sure that your right knee is bent and that your left leg straightens. As you effect the leg movements, rotate your wrists so that at first your hands droop, then circle inwards towards your body, then move upwards so that the palms of your hands arrive directly in front of the shoulders. Now slowly straighten both arms by pushing forward with the back of your hands.
Slowly move your body weight to the rear and onto your left leg with your left knee slightly bent. As your weight is withdrawn, with the same slow precision draw your right foot back until it rests on the heel a short distance away from your left foot, then slowly raise your right toes into the air. Simultaneously, bend your elbows arid slowly bring your hands back until they stop a short distance in front of their respective shoulders, with the fingers still pointing towards the ceiling.
Move your right foot forward, and once it rests on the floor transfer your body weight on to it, bend your right knee and straighten your left leg. The body should be kept erect without stiffness, and the eyes should look directly ahead. Whilst moving your right foot, rotate your wrists, so that your hands circle forward, outward, then back in front of the shoulders — at the end of the movement the palms of both hands should face directly forward. Now gently and slowly push both hands forward and straighten both arms, keeping them on a straight line with your shoulders.
Slowly withdraw your body until your weight is fully resting on your left leg, but keep the left knee slightly bent. With the withdrawal of your weight bring your right foot back by allowing it to slide along the floor until it is a short distance ahead of your left foot. Once your right foot stops moving, raise the toes of your right foot, but keep the heel in contact with the floor. As you commence your weight transfer, bend both elbows and slowly draw your hands back, still on a line with the shoulders, letting them stop a short distance away from your body with both palms facing outward.
The Chinese Art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan
by Chee Soo
Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2003 reproduced with permission