Why do we face South to start practising Tai Chi?
A great question asked by Morgan from Leeds
Firstly what I say here applies the Lee Style Tai Chi as taught by the late Master Chee Soo. If you practise another Tai Chi Style I suggest you check with your instructor to see there are no contradictions.
Taking into consideration your available practice space any direction that is suitable will be fine.
However, if you have the choice, as Chee Soo says in his Tai Chi book, stand facing South with your back facing North. East should then be to your left and West to your right.
I am fortunate that my living room, my practice area in bad weather, allows me to face South but when the weather allows I prefer to train outside.
The Chinese Five Elements System places North under Yin and South Yang, well to be accurate, South is Lesser Yang and North is Greater Yin.
So we start facing South and perform ‘Gather Celestial Energy’ drawing in Li energy in the process. At the end of the form set 41 we perform ‘Gather Earth’s Energy’ drawing the Chi up the body into the chest and then letting it sink (Set 42) to its natural home in the Dan Dien. Between the sets of the Tai Chi form we move through Greater Yang (East) and Lesser Yin (West) passing through Lesser Yang (South) as we absorb oxygen energising our body. Stretching and relaxing muscles, moving the weight from one leg to another exploring and perfecting our balance in the process. Then learning to circulating our Chi and allowing in Li energy from heaven, letting it pass through us revitalising us, providing it is unimpeded by tense muscles and a busy mind.
So by facing South to start our Tai Chi practice allows the Li energy to reach us more easily as we perform our movements
These benefits only come when one puts in the the practice on a regular basis for the benefits of Tai Chi have to be worked for. Having a goal to attain these gifts is not enough the Tao (The Way) must be walked step by step.
I hope you found this helpful. Any questions please ask.
The only stupid questions are the ones you didn’t ask but wish you had.
© Copyright 2018 Howard Gibbon – all rights reserved
Howard, who was a student of the late Grand Master Chee Soo for 21 years has been practicing and teaching the Lee Style of Tai Chi and related arts since 1973.