6. Soften your hands
No, I’m not talking about which dishwashing liquid you use or which hand lotion. Instead, this is a cue about how you’re relating to others or to circumstances in your life. Feeling the quality of “softness” versus “tension” in your hands is a clue to just how tightly you’re “gripping” your life. If you’re “hanging on for dear life” it will show up in how your hands feel.
Legendary T’ai Chi Master Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing said that he once had a dream in which his hands felt light, like balsa wood, and beautiful, like a “fair lady’s hand.” When he woke up he applied this to his T’ai Chi practice. From this dream, he developed what he called the “Beautiful Hands” posture.
In “Beautiful Hands” you relax your hands so that your wrists are straight (not bent), your fingers are gently extended, yet slightly curving, and your whole hand feels soft, light, and highly-sensitive. If you apply this hand posture as you move your body, your movements flow more easily and you become more sensitive to pick up on the energy in your environment.
When you apply this to working with a partner in the T’ai Chi practice of “Push-Hands” you are able to sense what your partner is doing before they do it. You can sense the energy underneath and preceding the action–a good skill for all your relationships.
Your body is an expression of, and a mirror for, what is happening in your mind and emotions. If you practice “softening your hands,” as in “Beautiful Hands,” you can become more relaxed and sensitive to pick up information inside you and around you.
Here’s a practice cue: Notice the quality of tension in your hands and fingers. Imagine softening your hands so that you can feel the air on your skin and the space inside your hands at the same time.
Softening your hands in this way, helps you to release tension in your hands, shoulders, and neck. It gives you an easy cue to use when you feel tension rising. Try softening your hands when you feel stressed or agitated. Notice how this makes you more present and aware and begins to shift your reactive state.
I’d love to hear how this works for you,