One of the things that Doctor Yang affirmed was that it’s about getting to the posture rather than being in the posture that matters. I think that’s hugely important. He described the action of his qi gong form as being like moving through water; you need to be steady and determined in movement, or the water will push you over.
I didn’t get there today. I wish. Footwork was bad; I didn’t bother to correct every little bit of my foot-placement. The form was ok, but movements from Dr. Yang keep trying to sneak into my tai chi form. I found myself raising my hands at odd times where they don’t belong, or moving into postures that are in his form but not mine. In all, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. But it didn’t matter: I was happy with my practice. I was a little sweaty, and a little out of breath.
I had a few extra minutes, so I grabbed my yoga mat and did a pair of sun salutations: one on the left side and one on the right. This was another outgrowth of the experiences of last week. These sun salutations consisted of: mountain pose, back bend, namaste, mountain pose, swan dive, L pose (this probably has a different name), swan dive, downward dog, plank, chittaranga (?), upward dog, plank, downward dog, crescent warrior, warrior II, downward dog, plank, chittaranga, upward dog, mountain pose.
It reads more beautifully than it looked. It wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t as hard as I was expecting it to be. But unlike Dr. Yang, in yoga it matters what posture you’re in, rather than how you get there.
On the other hand, I feel more flexible, and stronger, as a result of that little taste of yoga in my day. In qi gong and tai chi, I never do any weight bearing exercise except with my own legs. In yoga, I have to bear up something like 50% of my weight on my hands during downward dog, chittaranga, upward dog, and plank. It’s just how things are. That physical challenge is, quite frankly, a needed part of my routine.
I got a fair bit more sweaty as a result of those two flows through the yoga postures. More flexible? Not yet. But it seems to be of some benefit to try this from time to time. As I get a sense of whether it continues to be valuable or not, I’ll let you know.