Wednesday 24 March 2010

Tai Chi

I have just started going to Tai Chi - Kam Chuen classes. I have thought about going to a Tai Chi class for a couple of years and the other day I noticed this class running locally. I like my teacher and find it elegant and calming. Like yoga the moves and breathing connect the body and mind.

The class is just one hour. We do warm ups, learn a movement with a lovely name like ‘Lion plays with a ball’, and then we work through a sequence of moves adding the latest movement at the end. We wind down standing (in Wuji) a comfortable standing position, and I can feel the energy around me and in me. In Tai Chi the energy is Chi and in Yoga it is Prana. We finish by giving ourselves a self massage, which is always lovely.

Just like in a yoga class I benefit from a bit of adjustment, how and where to hold my body so it is in alignment and how and where to hold my hands, for example holding an imaginary ball of chi energy, running my hands through water or fending off an attack. Having a good imagination helps. I like to visualize the actions if I can, then the movement can flow. Each time I have left the class feeling light, really calm and a sense of achievement.

Like Yoga Tai Chi can be practised by anyone of any age so I was surprised when my mother said that some of her friends had tried Tai Chi but had found it too slow and they could not turn off their minds. It is quite amazing to think that, today in our western civilization, women of 60 and above are so busy and stressed that a Tai Chi lesson seems slow. Luckily there are such a variety of fitness practises both from the East and West, so we can choose what suits us individually.

I love Yoga and, while I can, I will find a place for Tai Chi too. It's like learning more than one language. They have their similarities and I hope I can learn from them both.