I haven’t had much to say of late about tai chi itself. Yes, I’ve told you all to do the work, and to keep practicing, and so forth. But I haven’t said much about the actual work itself. There hasn’t been much to say. The movements have been, by and large, incredibly easy.
Today, I happened to notice as I did the Golden Pheasant movements, and the three kicks that follow them, that it’s no longer difficult to hold these poses. There was always a stiffness in my hip joint which made these postures awkward to hold for any length of time… So I didn’t. It’s not really good, in tai chi, to hold any posture. Our goal is to perform it slowly, so as to strengthen the muscle and bone around a given area.
And I’m discovering that this has happened over much of my body. There’s an ease and a freedom of movement that I didn’t have two years ago, but that I have now. Yes, I’m still slightly more than two months out from two years, but you take my point, I hope — once upon a time, these movements were stiff and jerky and not at all graceful… And now, by and large, they are.
It’s difficult to explain to someone who’s only read this work, as opposed to done it, what a change this is. I think about how my knees would creak alarmingly while I was doing knee bends, or carrying milk to heaven movements. Or how my elbows would pop in disturbing ways while throwing mock punches. These sounds and movements and disturbances in my body have largely ended. It’s not to say I can’t crack my knuckles or that my ankles don’t make popping sounds from time to time. They do. It’s just that they no longer do so as a matter of course, or in the ordinary course of my daily work.
I feel much more at ease in my own skin.