Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 370

Time and Space

It is interesting how we mark time and space. In Tai Chi, we have a form composed of movements (from 34 to 108) that appear as one as they flow from one move to the next. In our school, the Traditional Yang Form, the 34 Movement Form takes approximately 6 minutes, the 54 Form about 10 minutes, and the 108 takes about 20 minutes.

If asked, I couldn’t tell you why the forms take those amounts of time, only that was what I was taught. That is not to say that there is only one length and speed. The original Tai Chi Chuan was the Chen Style that uses fast and slow, hard andsoft. Yang changed to a more consistent speed and intensity. Sometimes I go through the 108 in as long as 45 minutes or as fast as 5 or 6 minutes. The major consideration is making sure you are adhering to the classic Yang Tai Chi principles (if that is the form you are practicing) of consistent, even, smooth movements. No jerks, or changes of speed.

We use a calender to mark the days of the year in order to plan for certain events that are important. I tend to pay attention to the natural world around me to live my life. Since we are always outside in the park, we bundle up in the winter, and use fewer layers in summer. The trees in the Park change according to the seasons. At my house, the birds, deer, squirrels, rabbits have different behavior at various times of the year.

As I am writing this, I am sitting on a lounge chair on the flat roof of an outbuilding. I feed the Stellar Jays year round from a feeder in my garden, but only when it warms up do I use the roof as my afternoon place of relaxation. I put the Jays peanuts on a railing of the roof and the Jays show up around the same time every day to feast. It doesn’t take long for the timing to become regular. Last year I had them taking peanuts from my hand.

A hummingbird just flew right up to gaze at me, eye to eye. So friendly and beautiful. I feed them from a feeder and have planted plenty of flowers and bushes for them to enjoy. I feel so fortunate to be able to enjoy Port Townsend, the Park, our Tai Chi community, and my home.

I encourage you to take advantage of the out-of-doors to practice your Tai Chi, in order to gain health, well being, in the company of supportive fellow Tai Chi players, year round, and especially in the summer when the weather is more conducive. We have made friends with many daily walkers and their pets, and the kids that come to play in an area next to where we gather. The sound of kids laughter is almost always present and so enlivening as a background sound. There is also Pancho, the cat, who lives next to the park and belongs to one of our Tai Chi players, who comes to brush up against each and everybody in our gathering circle. Many crows, gulls, and a family of eagles nest nearby. Tai Chi with friends, animals, in a lovely park is heaven. Breathe, relax, and enjoy.