My tai chi practice took 5o minutes this morning. I did the two qi gong forms, fairly rapidly, to begin.  Then four tai chi forms, somewhat more slowly. My guess is that they clocked in at about 8-9 minutes apiece: long enough for basic work, but too fast for in-depth work.

I’ve not really done the qi gong work properly, except on Mondays during group practice, in several weeks.  Five Golden Coins was particularly enjoyable this morning, although I got more popping and releases in my joints from Eight Pieces of Silk, at least today.  My limbs were popping with the desire to break up some of the stiffness that’s plagued me for a while.  And I feel as though I managed to undo some but not all of the limitations I’ve faced in that regard.

During the tai chi work, I made an effort to slow my breathing, and to pull in my belly on the inhale breath.  This is a way to deepen the breathwork practice; but I also find that it slows me down further, and gets me closer to the desired timeframe for each tai chi movement.

I also managed to get off the carpet on the east and west-facing tai chi movements. This has been bothering me, as regular readers know, and today I was able to break out and pass that invisible barrier a bit, albeit only at the extreme edges of the formwork.  My breathwork and footwork were excellent, in part because I made an effort to keep my mouth closed and breathe only through my nose.

The insight: the breathing through the nose, and the tightening of the abdomen on the inhale, are healing work. So many people are walking around with injured abdomens, I think. Their bellies flop out of their body, and hang out.  It’s not necessarily bad, mind you; some people are genuinely built that way.  But it’s also the case that the common habit of overextending the belly on the inhaled-breath is probably causing problems. There’s probably a different problem that’s resulting from the tightening of the abdominals, too. But that feels like less of a problem; when I overbalance from doing tai chi, as I did today, from pulling in my belly, it’s because I’ve shifted my center of gravity internally.  And this means that, until I can get the sense that I’m not overbalancing, and I’m not shifting my center of gravity on the inhale every time, that I have serious work to do yet.

Today is Day 320… there are 366 days in a year of practice, so February 4 plus 46 days is March 21, 2016.  Looks like I’ll be finishing up on the 21st of March this year.