A practice like tai chi is kinesthetically based. Meaning, the dominant sense used that can assist you experience and learn is the sense of touch. Or more broadly, your sense of orientation in space, your feeling of control and momentum, and sense of balance. There’s a giant difference between seeing a path within the forest and sensing all its details when walking on it. Are you aware of each little rock under your shoes? Do you are feeling the little variations of angles with each step? Can your feel the heat or coldness emerging from it? How moist or dry is the air?
The visual sense is the dominant sense within the body. And in today’s world of all-night lighting, TV, computers, digital window signs… our visual sense is very over-stimulated. A good amount of your brain is dedicated to the processing of visual information. Your sense of balance is greatly affected by visual cues – close your eyes and stand on one leg for so long as you can. Then do it again together with your eyes open. Notice the difference? Your visual sense is of course far stronger than your kinesthetic sense.
If you wish to experience an interesting shift in your practice, it’s essential dampen your visual sense with the intention to let your kinesthetic sense get an opportunity to become stronger. Very simply, close your eyes of darken the lights! For those who practice at night with a dimmer switch, you could have an ideal tool at your disposal. You probably have a safe backyard, try practicing outside within the dim lighting, and eventually on a pitch black night.
If you can discover a technique to dim the light that enters yours eyes (sunglasses maybe?) as you practice, you will develop a heightened kinesthetic sense. The kinesthetic sense is reputed to be the gateway to the world of intuition. Try it and see for yourself how differently you will perceive your world.
It is usually better to practice in dimmer light at night as it allows your brain’s production of melatonin to regulate to proper levels. Melatonin is a hormone mediated by light. It allows you to get a great night’s sleep. Practicing at night in dimmer light is a wonderful way to scale back stress, amplify your qi, and then combine it with a deeper state of healing sleep.
Most people never consider practicing in the dark. But id you are able to do it carefully (always put your safety first and accept full responsibility), you will make all sorts of progress that other people never will, because they’re stuck in practicing the same way all the time. May you awaken your kinesthetic powers.