Today was the worst tai chi I’ve done in four years. I woke this morning a trembling mess from this illness that’s gripped me for 24 hours (and appears to be mostly over, at this point, thank you so much!). The symptoms are coronal headaches, joint pain, general body pain (call it 6-8 in the joints, 4-5 overall), snot and sinus headache, and dry cough. Also, as I discovered this morning, balance issues.
I fell down.
Barely a third of the way into the form, I felt myself toppling. At grab the needle from the sea bottom,which involves a squat to pick up an imaginary object on the floor in front of yourself, I found myself dangerously off-balance, and tipping forward well off my center-line of gravity. I managed to stop myself before I hit the ground.
I stopped doing the form, went into the bedroom, sat on the bed for twenty minutes with my eyes closed, and thought carefully. If I can’t do the tai chi form, I thought, I am too sick to go to work. It is the end of the semester, the end of the school year. My kids are panicked about their Latin exam, and their last two regular classes to study Latin with me are today (they do have next Monday and Tuesday, but it’s not the same… by then their exam will be upon them). My colleagues are overwhelmed too, getting ready for their exams. A substitute can’t cover for me adequately; we’ve been over this. Round and round in my head I went, explaining to myself why I needed to be well, why I needed to be able to to tai chi today.
I went into the kitchen, and had some yogurt. Then back to the office, and… tai chi, again.
It was the barest sketch of an outline of the tai chi form. No push-ups, no qi gong forms, no long slow movements. Just each move in the barest minimum of time it took to do the movement.
I didn’t fall down. I made it to the end. I didn’t throw up the yogurt. It sucked.
Yet by the time I’d showered, shaved, and gotten dressed, I was almost normal. The headaches were gone, the joint pain (which had genuinely subsided overnight, even before I began doing tai chi) was barely noticeable, and the balance issue was resolved. The combination of meditation and food and tai chi had evened out most of what I was experiencing; I still couldn’t do tai chi well at all — but even the little I’d been able to do had restored composure and self-control and even a bit of healing.
Maybe it was the best day of practice I’ve ever had. I finally got to see the health benefits in action.