I was able to slow my practice down considerably today. Instead of taking each movement in the tai chi form as a single-breath action, I made each movement into an eight-to-ten-breath action. The result was a tai chi practice that took almost forty-five minutes. Which is actually somewhat longer than the recommended amount of time this practice is supposed to take. That time? About twenty-five minutes.
And yet, when I perform this tai chi form with only five breaths, it takes about fifteen minutes. Somewhere in there is a balance point, at which I breath six to eight times per movement, and it takes the right amount of time to do the form.
My biggest difficulties in moving so slowly were at Grab the Needle at the Sea Bottom, at Half Spin, at Windmill Kick, and at Buddha’s Twist. There was something about those movements that just made it difficult to do that slowly; and yet I can see, and feel, how to slow them down in the future.
Despite yesterday’s hard effort, today was soft, and I felt as though chi/qi flowed normally. More on that, when I have additional data. A year ago on this day, I was reading about cultural appropriation in yoga, and musing on my potential role as a teacher; there’s a group of students at school that are (occasionally) pestering me to teach them, so I really have to think about that. But I was also working through the form incredibly slowly, as I did today — which helps me recognize, again, something that I said in the interview with Peggy Freeh — that some themes arise year after year, at about the same place in the year.
You see that again, in the entry from two years ago, when I was having a pretty wearying day all around, and I was bored out of my skull by my practice. It’s the right time for reinvigorating your practice — two third-ish of a year into the practice (two-thirds of a year is 244-245 days — I’m off by a bit; but you can also see that between year one and year three, my practice has expanded by about two weeks: day 237 was on October 30 three years ago, and now it’s on November 12… so even though I’m practicing daily, I’m still doubling up on some days or something, and the count isn’t accurate), I was feeling low and slow. Just like today. Ha! And yet, it turns out that reinvigorating a practice with new intentionality is a valuable way forward. What are you doing to reinvigorate your practice these days?