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The Dragon's Head Blog: Staying Strong in Great Britain – stories of individual practise, part 1

In Great Britain we have been appreciating how fortunate we are to have Taoist Tai Chi® Arts to keep us strong and still during this difficult time. We are enjoying a dan yu challenge; 50 dan yus for 50 days to celebrate 50 years. Instructors have been receiving many positive messages from participants who are discovering more about their tai chi and themselves from their individual practise. Here are a few of those messages.

“Being compelled to stay at home has meant that my only access to tai chi is of my own making.  The dan yu challenge has brought a structure to the process and I have extended this to foundation exercises and the first 17 moves.  Physically, I feel more in tune with my body. There seems more connection in the moves, particularly in the dan yu’s.  Strangely, by doing the move on the carpet or grass I can feel that I am definitely pushing through my feet. I may be opening up my hips more and getting that extra spine extension. I find I am much slower so this might be why I can feel more.  I’ve decided to stick to 50 dan yus a day, but with more concentration.  I suffer from anxiety and depression so I’ve had to work out a plan of things to do whilst we are in ‘lockdown’ to keep myself well.  Tai chi is helping with that, not only as part of the plan but as a calming influence.  I definitely have to concentrate.”

“I thought of my instructor this morning. We were on one of our favourite local walks in Worth Forest, heading towards our favourite place for a sit down in the forest; a pile of logs that were so comfy it was like sitting on an armchair. Anyway, when we arrived at our favourite spot, we were amazed, and disappointed to see that all the logs had gone. But straight away, my mind went to what my instructor always says when there are changes to our Tai Chi moves; that it’s good for your brain and helps you keep a flexible approach to changes in your own life etc etc. It actually really helped me, and I’m finding that the whole process of tai chi is really helping me at this time – comradeship through our message group, and the encouragement to continue our tai chi practices on our own, and maybe even more so, the mental strength I feel it gives me at this challenging time.”

“It’s such a help to have a healthy focus and an activity that gives such a sense of calm.” Fiona

“I am on week three now of self-isolation, and feel very fortunate to have these arts as a framework/foundation for each day.  I am building my practice day by day, and looking forward to doing more sets outside in my garden as the weather improves.  The first week I was just about managing 20 minutes of practice, and not every day, including dan yus. The second week saw an improvement and I was doing about 30 minutes a day.  Now on the third week and am doing 45 minutes followed by 20 or 30 minutes of quiet sitting.  It’s so important to keep up the practice to boost our immune systems and keep strong.”

“This week I am doing 100 dan yus per day, but break them up as 5 lots of 20. Doing other foundations and Tor yus in between. I finish with a set and I am trying to work on in-stepping and all the numerous other bad habits I have developed!!” Jane


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