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The Dragon's Head Blog: Finding direction in different ways

When you practice by yourself, there’s no-one else to rely on – you have to be your own instructor!

My lovely instructors both said ‘Find a move or something to improve, and make it your Tai Chi Lockdown Challenge’! I decided that mine would be to learn the entire set!  Although I have been practicing for a few years, I have terrible trouble remembering the whole thing from start to finish and this is, in part, due to a condition called Dyscalculia which affects navigation and sense of direction! 

I have been doing the set three times a day, every day.  Sometimes I am able to practice on the beach, close to the shoreline, which is tranquil and lovely.  Often when I finish and I’m returning, I get asked by people “What’s that ‘thing’ you’re doing? We’d like to learn that! Where can we do it?’ Older people, especially, mention that they would love a gentle exercise to help them keep fit and healthy and improve their general wellbeing.  ‘There’s nothing better for your mind, body and spirit’, I say, ‘but don’t take my word for it, go and have a look at our website’!

I thank my lucky stars and Mr Moy, every day, that I am able to practice Tai Chi at this stressful time.  It has been central to my ability to cope and continue to work throughout.  I’m really loving my Tai Chi Lockdown Challenge! 

I have always thought how nice it would be to go to the Orangeville Centre and volunteer for 3 months or so, especially after having heard so many stories from others that have been able to do this. So at the very start of the lockdown I thought, what a good opportunity to do what I thought I would never (mainly because of family commitments) be able to do…to just stop, and retreat, and find stillness.

Almost every day since the lockdown, I practice my tai chi for as long as I can in the mornings, and then I undertake chores/DIY tasks (and there are many of them) throughout the day.

Even though I am at home, I have still felt connected with the society in so many ways – The class Zoom calls, class emails and class WhatsApp groups, branch Zoom calls, regional Zoom calls, national Zoom calls and national chanting Zoom calls, and the real pinnacle connection of the week is the International chanting Zoom calls followed by the talks.

I have been focusing on past workshop instructions, mainly using the ground force and the spine as the engine, as well as the coiling and trying to find (feel) the many circles in the moves. It’s amazing how forgotten instructions from workshops I’d attended years ago slip quietly into my head while I’m practising.

Now, after the many weeks of having this extra time for a more focussed tai chi practice, it has helped deepen my understanding as I always thought that volunteering at the Orangeville Centre might achieve. I have started to feel some of those little glimpses of a feeling from a move that I would get at a workshop, which would then often disappear by the time I got back to class; now I have managed to find some of those feelings again, and to retain them throughout almost the whole of my daily tai chi set.  I now look forward doing my morning tai chi set because of how every single move feels and it not being just a sequence of a 108 moves. It feels great.  Sandra

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