Beginning of spring seems to be the best time to start Tai Chi practice. Our class began on March 22, three days after the equinox and the arrival of the spring season. First trees already bloomed indicating that new energy is coming to the surface and will improve the flow through us. The same energy that opens the blossom flows through us every minute of our lives since birth till death. It has its ups and downs and we follow them without knowing.
During the first class meeting we went over few meditative and breathing exercises to encourage awareness of breath energy and to slowly build the strength of the lungs. As a result of mindful breathing two practitioners felt dizzy and one felt sleepy. The first usually happens when too much intensity is applied to the breath and the second when not enough intensity is applied. During the second meeting we introduced a sequence of gentle breathing exercises that encourages the diagram to gradually stretch and become more flexible.
Most breathing and energy work becomes more powerful when practiced with a friendly and welcoming group. We exercise in a circle pressing energy towards the middle or pulling outwards. Sensitive and aware practitioners can observe waves going through the air as they accumulate in the middle of the circle and then stretch once we pull. The picture reminds of a summer day when heated air while moving above a highway makes a clear appearance of its swirls. In our Tai Chi room the air does not express heat waves but the waves of Chi created by us during the exercises.
Some stereotypes indicate that Chi is a special thing which flows only during mysterious exercises, and can be felt only by long term practitioners or particularly gifted people. Good news is that Chi flows all the time with or without our awareness. Sometimes we are aware it but most of the time we ignore it since we are "too busy with very many important things." Fortunately, as soon as this attitude is abandoned, the feeling of Chi returns to its natural state.
Every class begins and ends with a short meditative exercise for calmness and awareness. On the beginning and on the end of the class students observe their breath and reflect on it.