Tonight I had my first Tai Chi experience. It was quite different from any other class I’ve taken. It’s a slow, meditative, and physical exercise – but yet there is a lot going on beyond the surface. There was a lot of talk about energy. Sending energy out. Bringing energy back.
It took me some time to figure out what I was suppose to be doing. The other students were much further into their training and I was grateful the instructor. He included me in the class and at some points gave me some one-on-one to guide me in the right direction.
As I said before, I am very much in my mind. But this was a twist on it’s use. We were focusing on the actions in a way that “thought precedes movement.” In other words, we were having our minds lead our movements.
Believe it or not, I had trouble with this.
As a soccer player, my body is use to quick actions. Or rather, quick responses to the action on the field. I’m sure there is thought before my movement but it feels like it’s happening simultaneously. In yoga, I perform the sequence while paying attention to my breath and the subtle cues my body gives when I’ve hit my limit.
Following thought is tough.
At one point, our exercise was to move wherever our mind took us. Yeah. That didn’t work so well on my end. Starting from scratch and in slight panic mode [ok. that’s a little dramatic.] my mind would flit from one thought to the other. “what do I do? what are they doing? I have no idea what to do. make something up. what direction is my mind going in? oh, all of them!”
I ended up standing there – frozen in time.
I’m sure I had a deer-in-the-headlights look because the teacher came over to help me out. He broke it down a little more and explained about the movement of energy and our focus*. It was interesting. I definitely had to mimic his motion so that my brain would quit seizing and pay attention to the now. I got through it and felt grounded.
Being a form of martial arts, I was surprised to find that it was a lot of deflecting and using internal movements (and energy) to sink into positions and hold your ground. Again, the sports I generally play I’m engaging my body. The force comes from my arms and legs – not my core.
It took quite a bit of focus to bring that action from within.
Lately, I’ve been all about trying new things. Tai Chi. Kundalini Yoga. Reading different authors. Approaching things differently. As a result, my thinking is changing. My self-talk is improving. Which I believe is a great start to getting my body to follow suit.
What new thing have you tried lately?
*I would go into more detail but I’m still learning what it’s all about. Baby steps, people.
Photo credit: sacbja.org