Monday, October 29, 2007

Tai Chi 101

I decided since we are living in China, that I would learn Tai Chi. Hey, when in Rome....
No one can really pinpoint when Tai Chi began, so let's just say a very long time ago. Originally, Tai Chi was practiced as a fighting form, emphasizing strength, balance, flexibility, and speed. Over time it has evolved into a soft, slow, and gentle form of exercise which can be practiced by people of all ages.
Off I go early this morning, since Tai Chi should be practiced outside where it's peaceful either first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon, around sunset. I drag my friend, Edlin with me as she too wanted to try Tai Chi, so we met up with our master at 8:30am.
The biggest issue according to our master is not learning the moves as much as the practice of Tai Chi, or in my case, getting out of bed. Our master gives us the origin of Tai Chi and then performs two types of Tai Chi. We just needed to make a decision which type we wanted to learn. The Yang style which seems very soft, and elegant, or the second one (cannot remember what name he used) which is pronounced in the movements. We opted the for the second one.
We learned breathing, balance, and movement of our hands for the first nine steps. The movements are slow and deliberate and important to watch the placement of your hands, feet and body. When doing this, you only think of your movements, all other thoughts of work, life, family are pushed aside during this time.
Each morning before class begins, I will pass by a group of elderly Chinese women, practicing Tai Chi. Perhaps one day, when I have learned more, I will be able to join them.

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