After class a couple weeks ago, Denise mentioned to me how Tai Chi has been so powerful for her. She does her Tai Chi every day, even when walking her dog. What an inspiration! She generously offered to share her thoughts with you:
I am not an athlete. I don’t spin. I don’t do aerobics. But I do do tai chi, and have since I was 40.
Tai chi is a funny kind of exercise. It feels slow. Not just the exercise itself, but also the speed at which you learn it. The movements seem small. There’s a lot of repetition. The way it’s taught is one tiny increment at a time. People sometimes drop out because of this slowness. It can feel as if you’re not doing much of anything. You don’t break a sweat. You’re not breathless. There is no pounding music. No instructor yelling into a microphone.
So what is it about tai chi that I find so body-changing?
Tai chi is all about being rooted. In class we think about our bodies as if they are trees with roots going deep into the earth. This makes us strong…how? Well, to be rooted like a tree, we practice good alignment – stretching ourselves to our full height, tucking our pelvis slightly so our tailbone points to the ground, holding our shoulders back, our heads high, our knees soft. And in order to do all of this, we are automatically engaging our core. Many of tai chi’s quiet, gentle-looking moves require all your weight being on one leg. To do them well means posture, core, standing tall. The names of the moves reflect this beauty, this power: Crane Stands on One Leg…Embrace the Tiger…
I am 55, yet repeated bone scans show levels for someone much younger. Instead of losing height, I’ve actually gained half an inch. And although the scale shows I’ve put on 30 pounds in the past few of years, people are shocked when I tell them. Yes, I’ve had to buy larger sized clothing but my body doesn’t really show it.
So if you’re new to class, don’t let tai chi’s slow pace fool you. I’m here to tell you there is a revolutionary, body-changing power to be had in all that quiet slowness.