Thursday, June 7, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Tai Chi

Here we are halfway through the year and still on track with doing a different exercise each month. This last month has been difficult because I injured my knee and had a week where exercise was out of the question. Luckily Tai Chi is gentle exercise so I was able recuperate then go back to finish off the month with the last class. 

When I contacted Alison, the instructor, she was organizing a beginner class so JD and I joined up and went along on a Monday night in a local church hall. 

The class started with various warm-up stretches. Moving each part of our bodies with slow mindful movements to prepare and relax. I always enjoyed this part of the class.

Duck stance.

Next we got to know some of the Tai Chi stances. Eagle, bear, horse, dragon, leopard and monkey. These were interesting to learn and varied how the weight was distributed in your legs as you positioned yourself. 

Gathering celestial energy.
We also started to learn the Tai Chi form. It's made up of 50 movements and we learned groups of movements at a time. I think we got up to number 17 in the few weeks we attended the class. The movements are all done slowly and carefully. It's a nice relaxing feeling to move that way. Each group of movements has a name. We learned Gather Celestial Energy, Play the Guitar, Fair Lady Weaving and Crane Exercising it's Wings.

Crane Exercising Its Wings.
Practising the form took up most of the class. Going over and over what we'd learned each week. I always felt that I couldn't remember what we'd done but it came back a bit once I was back in class. A couple of times Alison (and other more experienced members) went through the full form of 50 movements. It was really nice to watch to see what we were aiming for. 

We learned other stretches over the weeks too. Single Iron Arm, Beware the Bear and Change One's Mind each with different health benefits. Alison emailed us all the details of what we'd done in class so we could practise at home which was a really nice idea.

Tai Chi is a martial art so the movements can be used as defense. We were shown how some moves could be used in this way. JD and I are used to attacking each other after the Boxing so we enjoyed this part.

The classes always finished with another stretch Five Lotus Petals and then a finishing bow (see below).

Alison and I bowing.

We enjoyed the classes. Alison was friendly, approachable and welcoming.  We loved learning the form, the slow mindful movements gave us a graceful feeling (whether we looked graceful is another matter!). We did feel like we'd have liked to know more about the chi part of Tai Chi. Even so, it's another exercise that I'd like to come back to. I think there's much more to learn.     

If you're interested in learning Tai Chi in Harrogate then this website has the details for you to get in touch with Paul Kenny who will direct you to Alison.    

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:






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