There’s a BSA pre-meal grace that goes, so far as I remember,
For food, for raiment,
For life, for opportunities,
For friendship and fellowship,
We thank Thee, O Lord. Amen.
And it’s on my mind this morning for taiji. Particularly the “for raiment” part, which means ‘clothes’.
You see, I tend to do my taiji in my pajamas. I roll out of bed, go into the office, and start raising my hands in the first of the five golden coins (I’d do it in the living room, but when I do that my hands get banged up by the ceiling fan). Someday soon I’d like to do it outside, first thing in the morning, but that requires changing clothes — and I’ve learned that if I change clothes, there’s a greater risk of the taiji not happening. Better to do it in pajamas.
While down in DC last week, I wore some of my favorite PJs. They’re actually Thai trousers that I often use for dance events, and they’re made out of this fat, brown nubby Siamese silk, which feels both luxurious and common. They have a nice flow about my legs as I do taiji, and I like the way the fabric flips and swooshes around my legs.
But, those pants are dirty. And I had a huge load of washing to do when I came home. So I wound up wearing a stretchy leotard-like thing from UnderArmor to bed last night. And that’s what I did taiji in this morning.
It’s amazing to me that clothes can make such a difference in the taiji routine. Because of these pants, the routine was totally different. Instead of the swish and flow of fabric around me, I had compression. And I think the result was that my legs got a better workout and stretch. I leaned into all the postures much more effectively, and I widened most of my stances, which tensed and stretched the relevant tendons more. I just threw on yesterday’s tshirt, which meant that the ‘flow-y fabric’ sensation I usually have below the waist was above the waist as I moved through the form today.
Different clothes, different workout? I’m not sure, but it seems like a good possibility.