Last night was my first Tai Chi class. There are many differences between Tai Chi teacher Mr. Ting, and yoga/pole dance teacher, Ashley*. Their clothing was the most obvious. Ashley looked lithe and stunning in skin tight lycra yoga capris and a sleeveless top. It was clear she also lifted weights by the looks of those fabulous upper arms. Flawless skin and shining hair completed the picture. Ashley was smiling and sweet. Delightful!
Mr. Ting is a small, balding, dignified Chinese man. He was wearing baggy sweats and a beat up sweat shirt. My kinda man. Everyone had on their regular clothes. You don’t need any special gear for T’ai Chi, except for soft black cloth shoes which come in a box with Chinese characters printed on them. Of course, I bought a pair. I also bought a dvd for $58 so I can practice at home.
Mr. Ting and Ashley were equally hard to understand. Ashley, because every squeaky sentence ended in a question mark, and Mr. Ting for the obvious reason.
First of all, it was not Ashley’s fault that I chose not to continue with yoga. Yoga requires the ability to get up and down from the floor. You have to be able to do things with your legs that I haven’t done in ten years. Groaning with every change of position does not lead to higher consciousness, which I was searching for. Since I was the oldest and most decrepit student, no one else could commiserate with me, nor did they want to. I felt like an outsider, and I was right. My neck is still stiff from that awful class. Sorry, Ashley.
Segue to Tai Chi at Silver Tiger Internal Arts Studio in Mt. Laurel. As usual, I was the first one there. As a matter of fact, the building was dark. Relief when other cars pulled up and middle aged people of all shapes and sizes showed up. Nerves started up again when my legs got tired just standing at the registration desk. What was I thinking?
No worries it turned out. I took to it right away. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get all the moves right the first time. As a matter of fact, Mr. Ting had me come up front with him so he could correct me. That was special. Once I got over the pride thing, I was able to get into the right frame of mind.
Doing the positions of T’ai Chi is comparable to being in a semi squat for a whole hour. My rear and thighs were burning after ten minutes. Thank God for that morning walk yesterday; at least my muscles were loosened up a little bit.
All of the movements are super slow. The arms are held out in front of your body for most of the positions; an hour later at Bungs, my upper arms, which are in terrible shape, started to really ache. I know I got a workout!
The whole time you are doing these movements, Mr. Ting is telling you what to do verrrrrrryyyyyyy srrrrrrooooowwwwwrrrryyyyy. Not a question mark to be heard. He also is free with the criticism, but concerned that the students don’t feel like he is being too harsh, almost apologetic.
Amazingly, after only two short walks and an hour T’ai Chi class, some of my aches and pains are diminished. My worry has been that I would have to don a bathing suit in order to get some exercise that wouldn’t aggravate the arthritis I have in my body.
Sometime today I have to crack the books. The temperature is supposed to go up to 50 so I hope to get out to the barn later and run the carder for a while, maybe get a dye pot going. It’s certainly going to be warm enough to walk with the dogs in the back of our property.
Then I think I’ll break out the dvd from Mr. Ting and practice T’ai Chi.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.