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May 22, 2004

Tai Chi or not Tai Chi?

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I just know that everyone is waiting with baited breath to hear about my latest experiment with the mildly exotic. This one takes us to Ancient China.

Since most of my Abraham-Hicks Discussion and Manifestation Group frequent a tui na practioner who is also a Tai Chi afficionato, we have all been referred at one time or another, to someone who could teach us how to do for ourselves what she does for us. And so, many resistances later, yesterday we found ourselves in his backyard, ready to begin. We were joined by a Flemish filmmaker, who has also reached the age of wisdom.

We are a group with a few special requirements. Because of my plantar flexed forefoot problem, I have trouble standing for long periods of time. One of us has a hip problem which precludes moving her hip in certain ways, and two of us have kinesthetic dyslexia. We cannot hear an instruction and make our body do it. We cannot watch a demonstration, and make our body do it. We never know where are body parts are in space, and we cannot remember body based directions, so it's hard to know what to practice. We have printed instruction sheets, but you know my fondness for manuals. The master has his hands full.

I might also add that we are all self described energy junkies and love pumping it up to fill a room. This is the same crowd that went to Providence.

I made the phone call to arrange our lesson, and told the master that we were interested in Tai Chi . When we organized ourselves to begin, our master announced the first step, and my cronies looked at him in horror. They thought we would be learning Qi Gong . I was to blame for that one, since I was just slinging abitrary terms around on the phone. Negotiations began. One of us had taken Tai Chi before, and knew that it exaserbated her hip problem. Two of us didn't know the difference between Qi Gong and Tai Chi, so they were elucidated, and demonstrated .

Qi Gong is the more ancient form, and deals with the management of energy in the body-- producing it , keeping it flowing, and eliminating blockages. Tai Chi is a newer, elaborated form of QiGong with more complex choreography. As the other dyslexic kinesthete commented "Choreography! I can't' even learn the Macarena ."

Qi Gong was chosen by the majority. The Flemish filmmaker was most gracious. We then had to decide whether to learn "Dragon Tiger" or "Opening Energy Gates" Though I think we were all drawn to "Opening Energy Gates", which seems to involve a lot of arm swinging that looked like fun, our master gently guided us toward "Dragon Tiger", noting the requirement of standing in one place for twenty minutes in the beginning of "Energy Gates, as a possible obstacle for me. I think he was a little worried about increasing our energy, before he knows us better.

So "Dragon Tiger" it was. We began by doing isolated movement of our shoulder blades. North, south, east and west, just kidding. Then we were taught the first hand movement initiated at the shoulder blade. Starting with the hand at rest, dangling near the thigh, moving it across the body at the groin (about six inches out, probably tracing the aura or the etheric body, or the astral body or something like that) and lifting it,from the blade, along a meridian, rolling twice, changing direction at the chest, and coming back to rest along the same path. Very Swan Lake.

Even with this tiny bit of practice, I began to experience burning in the fascia across my shoulders. Same problem I had with yoga and sustained postures. Our master reminded me that the Chinese teach students to perform at 70% of their full capacity, (rather than the American 125%). In order to do 70%, I was instructed to practice the movement only once or twice, several times a day. I'm a little worried, because I don't want to develop chronic fascial pain again, just when I seem have it under control.

A tidbit of synchronicity: I just received, via email, an invitation to the opening of
Cloud Hands Press (Cloud Hands is a Qi Gong form, like Dragon Tiger, I think.). I met the translator/publisher in Mexico, where he helped me shoot pelicans diving (a tricky business using a camera with delayed action).

Photo note: I know these masks are Japanese. Close but no cigar .
another crone

Posted by Dakota at May 22, 2004 06:19 AM