It’s been kind of a bad year, health-wise, but life goes on and tomorrow I go back to Tai Chi class.
I didn’t realize how much I’d missed that social interaction until I saw the familiar friendly faces when I stopped at the Center to drop off the quilt I’d made. And how much my body missed the physical poetry that is Tai Chi.
Below is my blog post from August, 2011, called In The Zone.
My goal is to recapture the fluidity I had then.
Standing tall, I take a deep breath as I raise my arms straight out to shoulder height. My open fingers mimicking a falling rain, I lower my hands to waist level. They float toward each other, palms down. My right hand then slices the air like the flat of a blade leading me to pivot on my right heel in that direction. The left foot adjusts its angle and I “drop” into position, bending at the hip and flexing my right knee.
Poised in a protective stance, I sense strong energy pushing back on my extended right hand, pressing against my outward facing palm. I am holding it back away from me, keeping it at bay. My left hand, palm down, hangs low in front of me, guarding my center, shielding my core. I hold this position for a moment, letting the opposing force know I am ready and prepared for it. I am invulnerable.
Standing tall again, my right arm gravitates down while my left arm rises towards it; they cross at the forearm, as though suspending something in front of me, something round. I visualize a delicate sphere, it is my world; I am hugging my world. I am the unbroken shell surrounding it. No harm will come to it as long as I cradle it, making it invincible.
My weight resting on my right leg, I lift the left foot and step out on the diagonal, advancing against the unseen force. The motion is fluid, my left hand leads; my body follows, turning to confront that which comes at me from yet another direction. I allow my body to flow with the motion. I concentrate and think of nothing but continuing with the synchronized moves. I am part of a formation, a phalanx, performing a silent ballet. I am in the zone, the Tai Chi zone.
The dance progresses; the right hand moves up by the left shoulder and forms a fist. The left hand retracts against the body gathering energy then pushes back as the fist lashes out. The fist continues its momentum coming to rest by the right hip; the body follows its arc, swinging to the right, back foot pivoting on the toe. I am now crouched and ready to strike. I push that invisible force back once more and step forward with purpose, delivering my right-handed thrust.
I do not fight any one person in these pseudo matches, though I do face an enemy. Locked in a pitched battle against my personified disease, I withstand and do not cower. It is a contest I engage in daily, this struggle to gain and maintain my equilibrium, to meet the challenge of life’s burdens and its inequities.
When I practice Tai Chi, I achieve a level of serenity and all around peace no other form of exercise can give me. My worries succumb; my stressors evaporate. The poetry of the motion is beautiful and graceful, the camaraderie of performing it with others comforting and soothing. Performing it in solitude becomes meditation in motion. I withdraw to my innermost self and find medicine for my soul.
In case anyone wants to join us!
We are the largest Branch in the country and the most diverse. For our 20th anniversary, I printed out flags for all the different countries represented in our Chapter. I then had to figure out how to place them on the cake. The answer came to me at the party store. Swizzle sticks!
I think the motion, calm and power of Tai Chi is absolutely beautiful. I took it several years ago with my daughter as a class offered by our local town recreation district, but had a very hard time understanding the instructor and was frequently confused. I like your description of the moves; it would have been nice to understand them that way. Ah, well. Perhaps I can find another class somewhere. I really would like to learn.
Thanks for the lovely post, Irma. You gave me my first early morning smile. 🙂
Hi, Wren. You should check your local area for a Chapter. We’re everywhere! There are Chapters in 27 countries and counting. My first class gave me a shot of energy. I think the welcome might have had something to do with it, too.
I feel the same way with my yoga practice. I haven’t tried Tai Chi yet, but I’ve heard great things from people who have. Beautiful post on your experience.
We follow the teachings of Master Moy Lin-shin and there are Chapters in 27 countries. Our headquarters is in Canada. It is a gentle art, but gives you a workout!