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The Dragon's Head Blog: Staying Strong in Great Britain – stories of individual practise, part 5

“I have just done what felt like one of the softest, quietest most beautiful sets ever, stepping softly, feeling an opening and relaxation in the whole body and moving from inside, quietly. Amazing!  I feel that the focus on the quality of quietness and letting go in the chest and shoulders in this lockdown is having a positive and beneficial effect on my Tai Chi, general health and wellbeing.” Sheri

“Physically, I have not noticed any change, but with the better weather and being able to practise in the open air, I have appreciated the stillness and meditative aspects more.” Edna

“I have done 55 dan yu each day this week, a total of 385, and while doing them I have continued to think about my shoulders, so relaxing them and not getting them to be stiff, or moving them up and down, so not hunched. I have also tried to give myself time to do the dan yu, without thinking what I am going to do next and then rushing to do the next activity.” Linda

“I have found the dan yu exercise has benefited my tai chi by helping my balance and control. The first set I did after several days of doing a lot of dan yus felt really good, and I managed the first snake without toppling! This has continued too – just did a very enjoyable set.” Maggie

“Working from home since end of March has given more time, but it took me a while to adjust. Things started to settle down once I got myself in another routine.  Doing dan yus on a daily basis does help – now more comfortable, now can do more in one session (started over 4 weeks ago with 5 and today managed 40). Shoulders don’t hurt any more.  Lucky to have had both fine weather and garden – practising Tai Chi set outside.  Again, doing this more regularly helps memorise what move comes next!  Being on your own requires more focus, more attention and more effort – but again it helps to ‘discover’ what your body can do and to be more attentive since you have only yourself to think about.” Monique

“I do feel that doing them (dan yu) first thing in the morning suits me. It takes me until 20 or so to feel relaxed and into a smooth rhythm and then it feels comfortable to carry on.” Susie

“I have found that by doing the exercises at my own pace and quietly trying to tune into my body, I am beginning on more occasions to release the tension in my shoulders and gain a feeling of wellbeing.” Carolyn

“This week I have wanted to continue to explore the new internal movement that I have started to experience, rather than increase the number. My back is much better, and I think the softer Dan yus have helped. It is quite a difference for me to get enjoyment out of them – it has taken a few years to get here.”

“I have also discovered that if I just do Dan yus cold and on their own, I find them a lot harder and not so soft, but if I do all the other exercises first it makes a huge difference, I suppose it gets the chi flowing and opens me up more before doing the Dan yus and makes them freer.”

“Because of doing Dan yus every day during our lockdown, this has enabled me to discover new things about this movement. I actually enjoy Dan yus for the first time, they have become softer and more effortless, and I have discovered a gentle inner circular rotation which feels really nice. Therefore, I have been doing the set with being aware of the movement of the sternum, this is what I am working on now, having experienced something new from within.” Melanie

“95 last week.  Feeling positive as I feel I am improving.” Joan

“I feel this challenge has made me think about my Tai Chi on a daily basis, where prior to the challenge I would only think about it on the day of my class.  I am aware that I have a lot of tension in my shoulders and hope to work towards releasing that.” Carmen

“Some changes I have noticed when doing my dan yus:
I am getting better at relaxing my shoulders and chest – possibly related to the time of day I’m doing them (will try to be more aware of this), but may also be due to the fact that I’m not rushing to a class after a long day at work, cooking the evening meal, etc.
Sometimes I have felt that my body is continuing to go upwards, inside, even after I know I have reached my full physical height.
On a few occasions, at the top of the dan yu I have felt like I am going over a peak then rolling down the other side – the only way I can think to express this.” Shirley

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