Sunday, August 17, 2014

Drivel - Tai Chi

Part of the fun of moving to Hawaii is that I've been exposed to activities I never dreamed of participating in before. I knew they existed, but I looked at them with my Eastcoast disdain. Only after being here awhile did I finally try a few. 

     Luckily my first exposure to yoga was a gentle form aimed at seniors. The emphasis was on breathing, getting in touch with one's body, balance, posture, relaxation, stretching. The instructor's voice was incredibly soothing. Within a couple of sessions I was hooked because by practicing some of my yoga I was able to fall asleep so much faster. Various yoga exercises are now permanently incorporated into my life, little things like breathing, checking posture, relaxing. I'm not into all those exotic positions like I've see in many yoga classes, but I do greet each morning with the gentle yoga I first learned. It has helped not just physically but also mentally. Working hard on homestead and house projects, I often ache and find myself slouching because of it. The yoga training helps me get my body back in balance, relieving back and shoulder aching. 

      Before moving here I never placed any value on massage. But building a house and creating a homestead just beat up my body something fierce. I was really out of shape when I arrived, so when I started working all my muscles complained, my legs ached, my back and neck screamed, my arms were killing me. My knees drove me to doctors who wanted to do various surgeries. On the prodding from a dear person I much admired, I tried medical massage. I am incredibly thankful. Medical massage is another of those things that I've incorporated into my life now. People have asked me what's it like. Well, it depends upon the masseuse for sure. I've settled on using two, going to the one who is most effective for the particular problem that's bothering me at the time. I haven't tried a chiropractor yet, but I think most of my problems are soft tissue issues rather than bone alignments. A few sessions of massage usually gets me back online again. After a particularly hard week, a couple days of massage seems to help fix me up. 

Tai Chi:
       My latest addition....and the blog title. While in Taiwan I had often watched people doing tai chi in the mornings. I found it mesmerizing. I wanted to be able to do that. Just recently I've had the opportunity to join a beginners class offering a graceful and gentle form of tai chi. I'll tell you, I'm hooked. Like gentle yoga, the emphasis is upon balance and body, but also on memory. And heaven knows that I could use better memory! 
I'm not a graceful sort of person. More like a workhorse rather than a ladies riding horse. So I tend to be pretty mechanical in my movements. But tai chi hopefully will change that. I wouldn't mind being a bit more graceful. I am definitely improving my balance. More so than with yoga, I'm becoming more aware of the movement of my body parts. I'm learning to slow things down. Learning how improved posture leads to better balance. Surprisingly to me, I find that tai chi really uses muscle strength. Because movements are slow, it takes decent strength to hold ones arms, legs, and body in the various movements. 
I've been through one ten week learning session so far and am eagerly looking forward to the next set of classes starting in September. Like my gentle yoga and medical massage, tai chi is becoming a constant companion. Homesteading and house building is hard on me (I'm not complaining. I love what I'm doing), so if these three activities help keep me functioning well bodywise and mentally, then they are winners. Whenever I find myself slipping into "hyper gear", doing a bit of the tai chi movements brings me back to the slower lifestyle that I prefer. Even after 12 years I find its far too easy to fall back into that Eastcoast hectic mode whenever I get stressed. Gee, a lifelong ingrained habit is easy tough to beat. 

No comments:

Post a Comment