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Posts Tagged ‘tai chi’

When John was 3, I made a 16 mm movie for a class. It was abstract. It involved giant road signs saying, “You Slow Down!” and my 3-year-old doing one of his favorite activities — dragging all the yard tools onto the top of my car.

My teacher didn’t give me a good grade because (a) there was no logic to it (so?) and (b) there were too many jump cuts (point taken). But who can see a sign like that and not want to take a picture of it? “You Slow Down!”

Wherever I drove today, there were too many crowds and too few parking spaces. An anxious vibe was abroad in the land.

Fortunately, there are activities that invariably slow me down: an hour at tai chi, with lots of ocean breathing; a couple hours playing with grandchildren and singing with them to John’s guitar; an amble among the hurried shoppers; doing my exercises; drinking hot cider; writing about it all. I can’t do any of that fast.

Now I have a question. Does ambling among hurried shoppers just make them irritated or help to calm them, too?

The photo below shows my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss moderating the tempo at work yesterday.

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Weather like this is a reminder that simple pleasures are often the best.

A great blue heron flying over Thoreau Street. Buying three Vietnamese fresh rolls and chai tea after tai chi class. Listening to the smart Hillbilly at Harvard program in the car. Sitting on the porch dipping crackers into the famous guacamole from the shop around the corner. Reading in the bath the first Martin Beck mystery by the Swedish partners Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.

The pictures show flowers from the yard in a pitcher made by our engineer/potter friend, a bird painted on a utility box, and the garden maintained by the tai chi teacher and his youth classes. He says the care taken with the flowers is the kind of care the school devotes to students.

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I confess I was put out at first.

After taking tai chi chuan for two years on Saturdays in Arlington, I was finally getting the hang of chung style when we switched to yang style. I quickly went to the bottom of the class because the other students go for classes several times a week.

But I was won over by the language — the charming terms from nature that describe the moves.

White Crane Spreads Wings, Stands Tall Looks for Horse,  Cloud Hands, Pick Up the Needle from the Seabed, Embrace the Tiger, Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail, and Repulse the Monkey, just for example.

Using a little imagination, you can see why the phrases match the moves. Although you might decide from this little YouTube video that Repulse the Monkey, being a move backward, is more suggestive of Being Repulsed by a Monkey.

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Boston and environs.

It’s mainly weekends that I have time to upload photos, so I hope this isn’t too much.

First is a plaque commemorating the discovery of the telephone, then a mysterious Greenway flower, extra pics of the traveling save-the-earth exhibit, a tai chi session at the Frog Pond, pensive frogs, interesting architecture near Downtown Crossing, and an early morning rooftop in Concord.

I love rooftops. Makes me think of Dickens.

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Back when my sister was teaching tai chi and before she decided to go to medical school, I was skeptical of Eastern health practices.

I should have taken lessons then, but I’ve learned the error of my ways and am more open to trying new things. I told John I’d been trying to find a weekend tai chi class that might be good for back pain.

Last week, he called about a sign he saw in Arlington:  Zhen Ren Chuan, a martial arts studio, had begun to offer tai chi.

Saturday I went.

Tai chi is not as easy as I thought watching ladies in San Francisco and Boston parks. So many things to think about at once! In that sense alone it is a great way to clear your mind of everything else. I will go again. It wasn’t quite like this video, as it was taught by an American who kept it very simple for a beginner, but I liked it.

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