Now that I'm beginning to understand the 13 points and body structure better it's affecting both my practice of our Stage 1 lessons and I find it creaping into my local Taiji practices here where I live. It's interesting, the 13 aren't really different than I've been taught in my local Taiji lessons, they just seem more detailed and more to the point than the general Taiji principles I've been taught in the past. As Sifu describes them over the course of the lessons, he doesn't just remind you of the principles, the 13 points are very specific and he describes them in ways that explain how to do the principles/points, not just that you should do them. I was close in the past, but what's the old saying, miss by an inch, might as well miss by a mile.
My previous practices have allowed me to work some on Song at a basic level and I do think it's given me a head start on our training, but it only gave me some experience with suction and condense and very minimal, fleeting experience with expand and project. Now it's like each and every practice layer onto the last to stoke the fire (energy) and they reveal more - now I can actually feel opening and closing and the condense and expand that they create. I can feel if I have the suction and condense in/on the sternum (never had this before, only in/on the Dantien) and in/on the Qua.
This is allowing me to reassess my alignment and structure in my Taiji and standing meditation training locally. I can feel that I don't have the 13 points and the Yin, Yang and neatral with most of the alignment/structure I've practiced in my Taiji training. It's close, but there's little or no Yin/Yang energy in some of it. More Yin, very little yang. Biggest adjustment has been to the hips and the Qua to get and maintian the energy in/on the center of the hips and on the front of the body and to stretch/expand the Mingmen to allow the Yang energy to open up.
Over the years of my previous practices, I've practiced relaxing, relaxing the shoulders, dropping the elbows, hollowing the chest, and using the waist to coordinate and control all movements (all directions) and moving the body as one, but I'm now discovering that's not the same as true Song and maintaining Yin, Yang and neutral. I'm only at the tip of the iceberg, but at least I can now tell that the iceberg is there waiting to be discovered.
Practice early and often. Don't underestimate the Bitter Pill and sitting. It's helping me to watch the videos over and over and over. I get something new every time.