Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fifth Tai Chi Class of the Season

Did you ever go through one of those periods where you were feeling blah, absolutely blah? Space aliens could land and proclaim that you were their long lost queen, and you would just roll your eyes and say, “Whatever.”  I managed to eat, shower, and get to class without much incident. Before class started, I went into the Ladies Room and noticed that my ponytail was unsalvageable: a bad, bad hair day. While we initially did the Tai Chi form, Bob played a CD that he had recorded which describes what Tai Chi is and its benefits. It mildly irritated me; I couldn’t focus on the form and listen to it at the same time. I did like the section where he said that Tai Chi improves the ability to visualize.

As in previous weeks, for the rest of the class we focused on different things as we did the form. An old one, that we first focused on when we originally learned the form, was imagining that our heads were suspended from above, almost like a puppet. Conversely, we focused on sinking our weight; perhaps the most important concept in Tai Chi. This is what helps generate power. We next focused on all the big and little circles our bodies made as we moved through the different postures, working to make the circles smooth and complete. This was one of my favorite exercises of the day. We moved on to focusing on whether we were pivoting on the balls or heels of our feet and how that affected the energy in our bodies. Lastly, we paid attention to how expanded or contracted our hands were—the closeness of our fingers—in different parts of the form. I never thought about that before, and I think I might have had some of my hand positions reversed from how they were supposed to be.

We are not perky, eager students every day. We do the best we can, and forgive ourselves for not being what we wish we were. It is part of committing to a practice. Focusing and refocusing, despite any negativity, is how we grow. This is true of Tai Chi, Yoga, meditation, and, I would imagine, a lot of other practices. Sometimes it helps to admit it.

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