Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Graduation

This is a cross over post from my weightloss blog "Finding My Thinner, Inner Person". It's also my 701st post! I find that just as amazing as the fact that I got through the entire beginners' class!

Last night, we had our last Tai Chi Beginners class. We went through the entire set a couple of times, then reviewed some bits that most of the class was having trouble with.

It was nice that we could review some of the parts at the end - that our class timed out so that we would have a couple of sessions to work on it. Many classes end as soon as you get to the last few moves and there isn't time to work on them. The result is that most people who finish the class feel like they really didn't LEARN all of it.

When we had our tea break in the middle, we sat around on the floor in a big circle. Sue, our instructor, asked us, "What did you want or expect of this class when you signed up - and did you get what you wanted?" Then she turned to me - "Sayre, you start."

Gee. I love being put on the spot. I groped around for some thoughts and came up with these:

I came to Tai Chi after a year of practicing KenPo - a hard martial art (meaning contact). I started taking that because I was in serious need of stress relief. I figured that punching bags or people and working my body hard would relieve a lot of stress. What I discovered was that being slammed down onto a concrete floor repeatedly during the course of two hours per week was not relieving my stress (at which point the class started laughing).

Mostly, my mind just never stops. There are conversations and ideas and lists of things I need to do going on in there all the time. And I decided that what I really needed was to learn how to slow down. My mom took Tai Chi - how hard could it be? So I signed up for this beginners class.

When I started, I had high blood pressure. My doctor said I was a stroke on legs just waiting to happen. Three months in, my blood pressure was easily controlled with medication. Before, even with medication, it was on the high side.

And every week, my mind goes quiet. The slowness, the concentration - everything just disappears except what my body is doing. I think of it as a meditation for the body. The effect lasts for a couple of days - I don't feel as stressed and if I start getting wound up, I can even just sit at my desk and review some steps in my mind to relax.

So yes, I did get what I wanted out of this class.

Later, I was asked what my plans were now that we were essentially done with this class. Would I go to continuing classes? The answer to that is a resounding YES! As many as I can do in a week - plus I will come to the beginner class again. Once you have graduated, you can go to as many classes as you want to, whenever you want to. I don't want to lose this - and for me, that means LOTS of repetition. Lots.

So, last night was our last official class. Next Tuesday night, our class and the Sunday morning class are going to a special dinner prepared by one of the foremost Asian chefs in our area. She will close her restaurant to other customers and fix a special meal just for us.

And after that? I start all over again!

2 comments:

Jan said...

Congratulations. I teach Tai Chi to seniors, I'm a senior, too. I loved your line "My mom took Tai Chi - how hard could it be?" What type (family) of Tai Chi did you learn? Indeed, how hard could it be. I teach Yang Long Form, 108 movements. In my class we open with Tai Chi Ball, do mini lessions, do the entire form, then cover some QiGung for health. Our closing and salute are in a circle.

nikki said...

Yay! I'm so happy that you have found something that is working for you.