When you are first starting you should focus on the sequence of the postures and basics of the form. At this stage, the emphasis should be on learning the footwork and postures.
Once you can complete the sequence in the correct order without forgetting or adding postures the focus should be on refinement. Refining the foot and hand movements of each posture and the transition movements between each.
As your practice advances, there should be more emphasis on the integration of the ‘The Ten Essential Principles’ into your postures. As Yang Chengfu when discussing advanced students stated:
“I hope that later students will not merely chase after the externals, but will instead pursue what is internal. If you want to achieve the highest achievement, have some patience and it will come” (C. Yang, 1934, p. 12).
Yang Chengfu believed that:
“The most important principle of taijiquan is the value placed on the regularity of movement and stillness. Therefore when practicing, the height of one’s stance, the swiftness or slowness with which one extends one’s hand, the lightness or heaviness of movement, the stretching and contracting of one’s advances and retreats, the broadness or finesse of one’s breathing, the attention from left to right or from up to down, the alignment of waist, head-top, back, and abdomen – one must know that for each of these there is a constant measure” (C. Yang, 1934, p. 11).