Wednesday, 12 February 2014

When The Stars Align

Often the Devil farts in my face, to quote Blackadder, as it did at the beginning of the year. But sometimes the stars align and you get what you've been looking for. I've always wanted to learn the slow form of Tai Chi to go alongside martial arts. We even took a few lessons when we lived in Manchester but sadly the instructor had a very heavy accent which made things difficult. I'd really love to learn the full practice with swords and everything, actually, but the opportunity isn't there right now. I've bought videos, always kept an ear out for classes, but I guess I've never been at a point in my life where I could make room for it. Practicing both yoga and karate has drawn me back into a regular meditation practice, which is really helping in the off-season for OW. I have a vile temper (just ask the kids where they get it from), but these sports and habits are helping to get back on top of it. By the time I get back to doing 4km outdoors every week I should be the most laid-back person on the planet ;-)

This morning I was walking Youngest to preschool when I spotted, in the freezing wind and incoming rain, a man practicing Tai Chi at Ashleigh Barrow (what a wonderful place to practice!). When I got home I opened an email from Amazon reminding me I'd been looking at DVDs a few weeks ago - I hadn't made a decision because the reviews were so mixed. Shrugging - I knew neither of the classes available locally were at times I could get to - I laid out my mat and pulled up a yoga programme I'd had for ten years. I didn't like it half so much as classes, which surprised me because I'd always found it reliable. It was too fast, if you can believe that; it felt like there was no time to get into the postures fully and no sense of progression. Jane's classes have wonderful flow and everything feels connected, not just isolated postures that are somehow "good for trimming the waist". Perhaps that's why I never really persisted before. I did half an hour, anyway and then turned it off, ready to lie down for savasana, when I suddenly spotted a Tai Chi DVD in my collection. I don't even remember getting it. But when you get the stars clicking into place like that, you have to give it a go, don't you! It was lovely. There's so much I recognise from karate and yoga that it all makes sense now. I can feel where my balance should be, and although the presenter has a much easier to understand voice and style of teaching, I can still hear that original teacher saying "chi up...chi down" as I practice. So I look forward to learning a new skill!

In other news karate is going fine - the blocks in my kata are still  muddled but I've time to fix that yet. Yoga is lovely but I am troubled by something Jane said last week - she came to help whilst I was working on a leg raised posture and it seems I was hyperextending my knee. So I need a lot more clarification on when I'm supposed to lock my legs out and what it feels like to not do that. It is painful and I need to be sure I'm not making a huge mistake when doing, say, box splits at karate. Youngest is loving Yogabugs still but I'm not sure where to go with her from there; there aren't any classes for kids here that I know of.

I've been skiving on swimming. I just can't face the public pool at the moment and USWIM was cancelled last week, so it's been nearly a fortnight. Still, back in the saddle on Sunday with any luck. Running can sod off. It's way too cold and wet!