What is the importance of drawing the left leg up alongside the right foot at the beginning of the “Gathering Heavens Qi Posture”. The reason why I ask this question is that I have seen individuals actually close their legs together, whereas in all of the other styles of taijiquan everyone begins with their both legs shoulder width apart. Surely bringing the both legs together so that they are touching causes them to become tense and rigid and effects the flow of Qi and blood into the both legs, another aspect is that by bringing the both feet together closes the “Meeting of Yin” (Huiyin Conception Meridian 1 Point) ) which is located between the both legs and is where all the Yin channels within the legs meet. So it is an important energy point (Qixue) that must be kept open to allow the Qi to circulate freely throughout the whole body and so this area must be kept soft and relaxed as is found in other styles of Taijiquan.
So does it matter if you draw your both feet towards each other and touch them together as many do who study and practice the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan. I think it does matter, as I believe that many individuals simply perform the Lishi Taijiquan form without any consideration towards how their actions can effect their Qi flow, they simply just perform their Li Style Taijiquan form for relaxation purposes and pay no attention to sensing their Qi movement in the practice of their form work. It always pays to question your Taijiquan movements and see if they can be improved not to just allow the movements to flow smoothly together, but to see if they actually hinder the circulation of Qi because both feet are touching or the arm is resting against the body and it should not be. Obviously all the movements of the Lishi Taijiquan form should be circular in the actions and should smoothly flow from one to another encouraging the Qi and blood to flow smoothly and for the nervous system to become calm and relaxed.
So once you step off to the side with your left foot into a neutral bear stance do you have to draw your both feet together the answer is no of cause not, simply use your both legs to help raise and lower your both arms as is the “Gathering Heavens Qi Posture” should be and then continue into the next posture. The Beginning “Gathering Heavens Qi Posture” and the finishing Posture “Gathering Earth’s Qi” should be the only time that the individual has their body weight evenly distributed between their legs, as these two postures are “Double Weighted Stances” or double Yang stances everything after and before these two postures should then be a combination of Yin & Yang Stepping and stances.