Tuesday, November 28, 2017

28 Days of Tai Chi

My original idea, back in the spring had been to try yoga. I felt like I needed something. I can't remember if I was thinking I was in need or more inner peace or health and fitness at the time, but I wanted something easy that I could learn to do at home on a consistent basis. The kiddos are still fairly young and in between my then work schedule and the Missus' work schedule, coordinating regularly scheduled visits to the gym has been something of a challenge. I couldn't be bothered with hauling my ass all the way down to the CRWC or paying for some place like Anytime Fitness. I wanted to at least attempt to do some moderate activity with some tangible health benefits at home.

I thought yoga was  good place to start, but as soon as I spooled up a video and tried to get my yoga on, I realized some drawbacks almost immediately. The first was, of course, the dogs. If you get down on their level, they're going to get all excited and come over and sniff and be like, 'hey man, what the heck is going on?' The second was the Younger Spawn. Kelv was all about jumping on me when I attempted to yoga, so I had to rethink my notion a little bit and that's when I decided to give tai chi a try.

Why Tai Chi? Well, simply: I can do it standing up. Which takes care of the dog problem and most of the kid problem. (Occasionally, the boys try and jump on me or headbutt me while I do my routine, but I can live with that.) I found a good series of YouTube videos with a variety of routines on them and started practicing. I couldn't really achieve consistency practicing my Tai Chi on a daily basis, but at the start of this month I decided to really double down on it and lo and behold, I've done at least ten minutes of Tai Chi a day since November 1st.

I've heard it described as 'meditation in motion' and I agree with that. There's something about it that's very calming and centering. Do I think I've really fully explored the health benefits of Tai Chi? I'm not sure... I think if I can turn this into a habit I might try and snag a DVD so I can get some actual instruction beyond random YouTube videos so I can get better at it- I feel like there's some health benefit to it, but I'm not sure if that's psycho-somatic or not. Some of the routines I do feel very much like workouts, which I like.

I feel like I need to educate myself more about the practices of Tai Chi, but in the month or so I've been doing it, I have found some favorite moves. This video starts out with three of my favorite movies: Rising and Sinking (to warm-up), Buddha Asks Heaven For Forgiveness and Dong Hai Chuan Serves The Tea. I could do these three moves all day long- they're ridiculously relaxing and my favorite way to warm up and get into a routine. Repulse The Monkey remains a challenge... I think I've come close to getting it, but I still feel like I look like a jackass when i do it. 

I'm not a huge fan of the Withdraw and Push on the video I linked too, but I found a different routine that does it pretty well in a couple of ways that I enjoy that I fold into my rotation from time to time as well. This one was a bit of a challenge- especially when Immortal Touches The Earth involves you bending from the waist to place your palms flat on the ground. I can't even touch my damn toes!

So, what's the point of all of this- other than centering my chi a little bit and trying to be more calm, patient and centered in my life? Well, I'd like to make a push and learn the 24-Form Tai Chi. I've got a few of them down already, so I'm on my way, but I'd like to be able to go through all the forms at least once a day at some point. I also think more education and more practice are in my future as well!

I have no idea where my Tai Chi journey is going to take me, but I'm glad I started it. 28 days down and hopefully many more to go!

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