Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tai chi easy (trademarked)

I discovered tai chi easy (with a trademark symbol) 18 months ago.  I decided I had flunked regular tai chi in classes at a senior center.  The instructor was good at tai chi but not very good at teaching. My feet did not want to work in rhythm with my arms; I was very frustrated.  (I've never had dance lessons and danced very, very little anytime in my life so my feet want to say put.) The classes came at fee, not a large one but I wasn't getting my money's worth.

Then I discovered the free weekly session in Tai Chi Easy taught by a psychologist at the community college. Just right for me. The feet stay planted. As I tell others, it's mainly waving the arms around. That's not really true. It is mostly arm movements but they are to be accompanied by rhythmic deep breathing, good posture and focus at all times. The latter three elements are deeply satisfying because they were crucial to the yoga I have done since I was pushing 30 and knew I needed to do something physical. 

Whereas the regular tai chi has "forms" to learn that are very beautiful to watch, I was not about to learn them with my leaden feet. Tai chi easy is a simple series of movements, about 15 different ones (I haven't counted).  It took most of the first year of classes (only on the college schedule, none during the summer) for me to learn the  progression and be able to practice a nice flowing set. I have learned although I always think I've left out something or changed the order a little. But not to worry, it's okay.

I thought last summer I would practice tai chi during my beach walks but I was not certain enough of the sequence and felt self-conscious. Now I am certain enough and this early in the season I have the beach to myself. It's lovely to stand at the margin of sand and dune grass, facing the calm bay with it's lapping tide and very distantly on the horizon maybe a black shape or two that are boats near Martha's Vineyard. The air is fresh, the lapping waves are quiet, nothing disturbs my concentration. The deep breaths are wonderful. I plan to do this every day that the weather allows. By the time the beach is busier with sunbathers and tourists, I will have lost all self-consciousness ... I think.

A couple of friends have been taking the class with me the last couple of months. We plan to meet during the summer about once a week, go to a beach near where one lives and do the routine. We have talked about taking a lunch and having a picnic after ... we'll see if that works out. I like the very early morning and, as the weather gets warmer the hour will get earlier.  I love yoga but some of the positions are too demanding for my replaced hip. However I include a few yoga asanas with my tai chi. It may not be the trademarked form, but what works for me is simply what works for me.


barbara cecelia said...

June -- You have a wonderful attitude toward tai chi -- the easy version sounds like something I could do. Something to think about. -- barbara

June Calender said...

You can find out about it online, Barbara. Although the guy teaching is is very good and I'd never have got into it online. Thanks for the note.