Today I did a half-hour, as calculated by timer. And I prefer this to stopping after every bit of tai chi or qi gong to check my watch or the kitchen clock. But for the life of me, I could not slow down. I never achieved this easy flow of breath and movement. I must have done the form six or eight times in that half-hour.
But first, I did the qi gong forms, Five Golden Coins and Eight Pieces of Silk. When I was done with those, I still had 22 minutes on the clock. So, I thought, “this will be easy. I can do the tai chi form in 12 minutes, twice, and that will be 32 minutes. Awesome.”
So I started. And I did tai chi, I thought relatively slowly. And then I did it again. And then I did it again. And only then did I look at the clock. This is a family-friendly-ish blog, so I won’t say if I uttered rude words, but I had fifteen minutes left. Three times through the form hadn’t even taken me six minutes. Augh!
I did the form again. This time I tried to pay attention to my breathwork — pull in the abdomen on the in-breath, relax on the out-breath. I could feel, this time, that I hadn’t slowed down at all. I did the form again, trying to concentrate on footwork and breathwork. Mmm.. Not slow. And the timer hadn’t gone off. I promised myself I wouldn’t look at the timer until the end, this time. I did the form again.
Still no buzzer.
I did the form again. This time I focused on that moving through water component of Tai chi. Even I could feel that I wasn’t slowing down. So on the NEXT iteration of the form, I just flowed into speed-tai-chi: move fast through every posture and practice the agile, quick movements of which it is capable — something else picked up from the vacation.
And eventually the timer went off.
I’m sweaty. It was a good workout. It was not all the things that tai chi is supposed to be: deliberate, careful, slow, isomorphic, energized, or flowing. It was fast, dirty, sloppy, a little angry, and very much not what my practice usually is.
I kinda liked it.
I think that, in my quest to move up to an hour-long practice, I have to make a point of setting my alarm every day, first for a half-hour, and then for an hour; or better yet, for a half-hour some days and an hour some days.