There are a number of things in tai chi that initially appear counter-intuitive, and one of these is the overall concept of ‘less is more’. In western culture we are told to give 100% of our effort, and to push hard to achieve results. In tai chi this approach does not work – any excessive stress, tension and strain will only restrict your development and delay the benefits that proper practice brings.
In tai chi a good approach is to use 70% of your overall capacity – gradually your 70% will increase, leading to improved stamina, balance, energy etc. This is not to say that tai chi will not and should not be done without effort, or that you will not feel the effects of practicing and moving your body in new and different ways. But this way you will get to enjoy the benefits sooner and enjoy the journey more.