Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tai Chi

Sometimes I can be really impulsive; I think of something and I do it, and I'm quite single-minded about it. On other occasions it can take me ages to act upon something. This was one of those occasions.

It all started with a workshop on the Sunday morning of the Rocket Festival in May 2008. We were feeling a little groggy so, looking for something to perk us up a bit, we headed to the healing fields and ending up taking part in a Chi Kung workshop with some friends. I really enjoyed it.

Now the most well-known form of Chi Kung is Tai Chi, so I guess it was back then that I first got the idea that I would like to take up Tai Chi. For a while I had a decent excuse for doing nothing about it - Kate and I were on the road. I couldn't join a class. Then we moved to Madrid and I didn't have that excuse anyone, so that key skill of all art graduates - procrastination - came into play. It was only on our return to Spain this autumn that I thought I really must get around to joining a class. I was feeling physically inert and Kate's dedication to her morning yoga routine shamed me into doing something about it.

The first few places I checked out online were dead ends - either the timetable advertised on their site was no longer valid and the sessions clashed with my work or they'd ceased offering Tai Chi classes altogether (this was when they bothered to reply to my e mail inquiries at all!) Eventually I found the Centro de Relajacion in nearby Quintana that had a Monday class I could make from 12 til 1pm. So along I went for my free trial lesson.

I suppose if I'd thought about it a class from 12 til 1pm on a Monday was unlikely to attract large numbers of young professionals, who are no doubt gainfully employed at this time. However I was still surprised to find myself the only male and only under 60 in the class! Still, the senoras were very welcoming and laid back. It was also helpful for me as the class I was joining was technically an advanced class; what I lacked in experience I was able to make up for in youth flexibility. They were very complimentary about my efforts to copy the tablas they were working through - for while the teacher was giving us instructions in Spanish it took me a copy of seconds to translate - too slow, so in the end I just focused on copying. I had been worried about following the instructions but as it turned out I was able to understand most of them, though this was occasionally detrimental; during the relaxation exercise to start the class I was so busy concentrating on understanding I wasn't able to relax!

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