Tai ChiY2D93: what Next?

One of my readers gave me permission to stop writing about tai chi yesterday in a comment, but just because I have permission to stop — doesn’t mean I will. Today’s practice was relatively light. Somehow the “burden” of the work has lifted in the past few days, and a large measure of it has to do with most of the burden of school being lifted. I still have to write comments, but I have a plan to finish the remaining ones today.

During the qi gong forms, I noticed that my neck has been very stiff during the work, and I tried an experiment. I usually put my head down after I’ve bent over to touch my toes — but by that point my neck is already stiff and my spine is very much locked up. So that may be where the tension arises.

Today I tried it the other way — I bent my neck first, and then bent over to touch my toes. Much better results, in the sense that my neck feels looser today and less stiff. Clearly, small changes can sometimes have useful effects.

My friend Matt pointed out yesterday, though, that tai chi is building my flexibility but not very much muscle. Per Gordon’s remarks the other day, there’s a dietary change, too — GMO issues aside, there’s still accumulating evidence that too much meat, and almost any amount of sugar or gluten, is bad for me personally.

I began this tai chi program almost exactly 15 months ago, and it’s worth considering, what next? Tai chi by itself has effected some wonderful changes in my health and my flexibility, but to complete the changes means going, in the words of C. S. Lewis, further up and further in. This means adding to the exercise regime and changing diet; but also changing some mindsets — what food looks good, what food looks bad, and how to eat it…

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  1. In west London we get organic chickens from Buckinghamshire and Surrey just next door, so no, I don’t.

    From a water consumption/methane production perspective, they’re also not as bad, obviously.

    BUT… as my properly vegetarian flatmate says… vegetarianism is binary. You either are or you aren’t. So from her perspective, they’re all the same. And she’s probably right.

  2. Hear you on the meat thing. It’s very much on the way out for me again. Gluten and sugar are already near-banished.

    In my head, there’s a thing called a ‘high holiday-tarian’ where meat is reserved for two or three times a year a la medieval peasants… and when it happens it is extremely expensive and ethically sourced.

    That’s where I’m realistically headed.

    • I definitely need to eliminate gluten and sugar. Do you find chicken is as bad as pork or beef? I hear you on the “ethically sourced” — there’s a growing slow food / local food movement in Connecticut, and I’m pleased to be able to eat locally raised cow when I can.

    • Good to know. I agree with you about the “High Holiday-itarian”. That sounds about right… Although as a ‘middle class’ peasant, I seem to have quite a few more saints’ days and nigh-pagan celebrations worthy of flesh-eating than perhaps I should.

      Could you refresh my memory at some point about Fasting rules? Do you just not eat at all for 24 hours, two days a week? Or is it more limited than that? What about water, coffee, tea?

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