It’s almost a rite of passage. You reach a certain age, and your doctor or the doctor in the AARP magazine tells you that you should be doing taiji, whether for high blood pressure, poor balance or one of the myriad other consequences of stress and the passage of time.
You’ve seen people doing taiji on TV or in a park, and it looks so relaxing and easy that you decide you’ll sign up for a class and give it a try—whereupon you discover that what looked so relaxing and easy is going to take consistent effort to yield much benefit.
You’re going to have to learn a sequence of movements called a form, which will take many months, maybe even a year, even if the form is called a “short form.” You’ll have to go to class pretty much every week, not just when it works with your schedule, as people seem to do with yoga, because you’ll be forever craning your neck trying to see what the teacher is doing if you haven’t learned the sequence.
Plus, the teacher will keep harping on things you weren’t aware of and didn’t expect you’d have to deal with, like the fact that you lock your knees when you stand and scrunch your shoulders when you raise your arms. Continue reading