When it was announced a year ago that we would be canceling Taoist Tai Chi® classes for the indefinite future I assumed I would continue to practice the 3 or 4 times a week I had been practicing when I went to classes. But where would the instruction come from? I had never thought about practicing without instruction. Even when I did practice on my own, I would focus on the most recent corrections I had received. Was I doing the move the way it was shown?
As the lockdown wore on, I found time every day to do some standing jongs and a couple of sets. With more practice came the desire to expand the moves I was working on. That’s when I started to hear the voices of instructors past and applied what they said to my practice in the present. I started participating in the Saturday morning chanting sessions in April. I soon realized the discussions themselves offered instruction for our individual practice “It’s not about the move, it’s about the feeling.” I began to practice with a focus on how everything felt internally. If I my lower back hurts when I do a move, what do I need to change? If the flow feels good, what am I doing right? So many ideas came out of the Saturday sessions that I had to start a notebook to keep track. I have begun to see how the separate moves contain not just expansion and contraction, but the same expansion and contraction. I found that I genuinely enjoy repeating the same move for long periods to see how I change as I repeat them. I am becoming my own instructor thanks to my personal practice and the instruction made available in the Saturday sessions.