Aha! It’s so much fun to have an “aha” moment, suddenly seeing or understanding something for the first time.
In Tai Chi class, we repeat movements over and over again. That helps us relax, helps us feel where our weight is as we shift back and forth and to the side and helps our body start to remember the moves. Yes, we want our body to remember, not just our heads. We start with our mind and then hopefully, our body learns and takes over, helping to relax and empty out our minds. We feel better because our mind focuses on shifting weight and directing energy.
We start class by standing with feet parallel, hip-width apart. Knees are soft (not locked), in alignment with our ankles. Sound simple? It is not. I say this out loud in class, as a reminder. This past week a student asked when we were standing, then practicing our Tai Chi walk, keeping our feet parallel, with knees soft, if her knees should be soft. “Yes,” I replied. She said it just hit her that she locks her knees, in and outside of class.
“You say that in every class,” she said. “I wonder why I just now became aware that I often have my weight back on my heels. It makes my legs tired and sometimes hurts my knees.”
That was her “aha” for the day and it was a big one. It takes repetition, reminding, practicing to form a new habit that sticks. Standing and walking in a way that is healthy for our body is one of the most important habits we can learn. We laughed as the student said,” Oh, that’s what you’ve been talking about.” She laughed, too. We all enjoyed the “aha” of the day, because it was a good reminder for all of us.