Friday, March 11, 2011

Hot for Teacher

posted by Melissa

I suppose tai chi is like Bikram yoga in some ways.  In hot yoga (Bikram) we learn the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises every class.  In tai chi, you learn the same form in every class.  In yoga if you have a good teacher, it makes a world of difference.  I think the same is true for tai chi.  When you find good teachers, there is an inherent trust in their authority, and within that trust I find that I can delve deeper into my practice.

checking out books from the SPL.
I am still having a difficult time connecting with tai chi.  I like classroom settings, I learn best with others.  I like to ask questions when I don't understand something.  And sitting here at home with tai chi books and you tube tutorials, it just is not cutting it it for me.  Especially when the subject is so expansive, with so many different types and forms.

So, we did take one class last Saturday, and while I like the teacher, I don't think going to Bothell every week is going to happen.  At that class what I do remember is that after the first thing, where you simply raise your hand up and down.  Yeah, I totally got that.  And that is what I practice over and over again.  And no, I did not do it for 30 minutes.  So, after that first thing we did something called "parting the wild horses mane."  But I can't remember how to do it.  So, I go to my books.  Seriously, none of the books I have mention that movement.  How confusing is that?

Learning tai chi from a book is like learning to knit for me.  I have no patience for body gets all tight, my jaw is like a vice, and my shoulders are up to my earlobes with aggravation.  I could give it more of a chance.  I will give it more of a chance.  But I still get the sense that I need a good teacher.

I was picking up my eldest daughter from a birthday party last night and was invited in to have a glass of wine
(delicious zinfandel, by the way...from Mazzocco Vineyard in Healdsburg, CA)  I was chatting about this month's topic and my friend shared about her amazing tai chi experience in North Carolina.  And it was the teacher that made it for her.  He would record the lessons on cassette tape and she would take it home and pop it in her boom box and practice along.  This was years ago, and she has tried to find tai chi again, but she admitted that she has not found the right teacher again.

I am excited to go tomorrow and watch an advanced group practice.  I am hoping for inspiration.  Maybe even a chance to chat with the teacher, Saul.  After all, he did learn from the man I mentioned in one of my posts, the guy that brought this form over from China in the 70's.  I already forget what form that is though.  Yang style, I believe.

Ok, I have about 30 minutes before Jamie and Amy get home from yoga.  The kids are all quiet (weird) and the house is pretty clean (even weirder), so I am going to get out that book and at least give it another go.  And maybe just put it out there to the universe that I am wanting a tai chi teacher (in Seattle) for the next couple weeks.  And trust that he or she will show up.

I also echo Amy's thankfulness for our teachers at the Sweatbox.  They are such a good balance of warm and disciplined.  If you want to get hot and sweat, while doing some mind and body bending yoga...that is the place to be in Seattle.

I leave you with this video I found on you tube, please feel free to share your thoughts on it below in the comment section.  I love the part about his sleeves. (around 3 1/2 minutes)



Bob Redmond said...

Thanks for the continuing info about Tai Chi Meliss and Amy... here's an idea you may take, pass along, use in a business plan, or ignore... one of my imagined "great ideas" that always seem to remain on the back burner.

I have always wanted to "translate" Tai Chi into contemporary movements, like "stepping onto the bus," or "hailing a cab," or "opening the laptop computer." That way, these movements would be (a) easier to remember in practice, and (b) remain relevant in everyday life. Unless you're a cowpoke or equestrian and actually DO spend time grooming the horse's mane.

Anyway, then I would start my own Tai Chi school and live in comfort on a retreat in Hawaii, where many people would come to take the class and get serenity (Serenity Now!).

First, though, I would have to learn Real Tai Chi and understand what it was all about. Unfortunately, that never happened. So I offer up the New Form idea, the Hawaii retreat, the serenity, to you both. Good luck...


Melissa said...

Bob, I lOVE you idea. If none of us take on that project, someone should. You are so creative! and it's never too late, you could always learn "real" tai chi :)