Spring is near and life is beginning to return to the earth. My favourite time of year is about to erupt into pink and white blossom.
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Over the last months, my online lessons have flowed into similar paths. In the winter the challenges that come up during the practice and journey in Tai Chi and Qigong are 1) motivation, 2) injury and physical health, and 3) environmental stresses and pressures.
What I assure my students is that Tai Chi and Qigong training follows the ebb and flow of real life. I am both a teacher and a student who lives an average life full of ups and downs with joy and sadness. I walk the same path as us all and experience the same and different challenges. I find it personally harder in winter than the other seasons across all bases; emotional, physical and spiritual. What keeps me well in winter is my home practice. A regular home practice is a chance to connect with your body and your sense of being.
Developing a home practice must be a nourishing experience, to reach this I apply flexibility and potential. There’s no point slogging away trying to establish a home practice that never happens, and then in the process resenting the movements and yourself for the lack of routine etc. Especially in the cold and dark months, where many would prefer to hibernate (me). Find what you love about your Tai Chi and Qigong practice and move from that point. Be flexible in your approach, change it up, return to the foundations, or simply return to breathing and moving slowly. What feels good to you? What lifts your spirits and gives you a boost? If your practice feels nourishing, you are more likely to continue.
Look for potential. When at the lowest ebb, even 5 minutes of mindful movement and deep breathing will have a profound affect on your physical ease and mental balance. When at the peak of flow, throw everything you have into choreography, dynamic movements and detail in your practice, making positive use of the moment. Every part of ebb and flow has potential, no matter how small, we can work with potential in a healthy way. Learn to create space for your practice, and yourself in whatever measure feels comfortable and use your immediate challenges to guide you. Listen, observe and enjoy.