I did my first qi gong form this morning, and found that I was having a hard time moving. It wasn’t that I was stiff and sore from anything yesterday. It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on, exactly. I just felt off. Something wasn’t right.
So, I lay down on the floor, and I did the Relaxation Exercise. I learned this, now many years ago, from John Michael Greer’s book, Learning Ritual Magic. Lie down on the floor, and tense up the muscles that control your toes. Relax them. Tense your feet, and relax them. Tense your ankles and relax them. Tense your calves, and relax them. In this way proceed up the body tensing up and then relaxing each muscle or muscle group in turn. Finally, at the end, try to tense all the muscles in the body at once, and relax them together.
It took one or two minutes to do this once, and it felt so good that I did the exercise through all the way from beginning to end, again. By the time I was done, some kinks in my back that had barely registered on my radar as possible problems, were gone as if they had never been. My spine was lying a lot flatter on the floor. Whatever challenge had bothered me in the first tai chi sequence was gone.
I wound up doing the other two tai chi exercises, eight pieces of silk and the tai chi form, with much greater ease after that. Sometimes it’s important to listen to the body.