“6000 miles to go,” the captain announces. Seated in a Korean Air 747 airplane, I’m headed for China. I eagerly anticipate being in a park in China, seeing graceful Tai Chi in the early morning, seeing residents start their day with gentle movement they enjoy. I not only want to watch, I want to participate. I practice Tai Chi. I teach Tai Chi. I know how relaxing and flowing it looks and feels.
China, halfway around the world. I am in a beautiful park, the Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing. A man with black hair, greying sideburns, stands on one leg, knee bent, the other leg in a silent, slow kick up into the air. Tan silk shirt and flowing black, silk pants. A living statue, that is serene and centered. He is stillness in motion.
Looking right I see a group of about 20 men and women, following a slender woman in a red jacket, who is leading the group with her slow, methodical steps forward, then backward. Chinese music emanates from the black boom box sitting on the cement near a grassy area. Big smiles on their faces. They aren’t distracted by people walking in front of them, nor by tourists taking pictures. They are enjoying their own moment, totally focusing on the movements they do every day to feel calm, yet energized.
Doing Tai Chi in the parks of China, studying Tai Chi with Masters in Chenjiagou and the Wudang Mountains were wonderful experiences for me in May. Yet, we don’t have to go to China to experience the calming and balancing benefits of Tai Chi. We can do it right here where we live. As we move into the fall and winter seasons of more inward, quiet and colder moments, we are invited to explore and strengthen our internal energy. Tai Chi calls to me. It also may be calling to you, from centuries ago, in this time and place, to learn a wonderful practice for reducing stress, improving energy flow and increasing balance in your body.
Arlene Faulk is a Tai Chi teacher with Heartwood Center. New Beginning Tai Chi Classes are starting. You can contact Arlene at 312.642.0722 to register or for more information.