Tai Chi.....harder than it looks

Today was the first proper Tai Chi class.
Last Saturday I went along for a practice tryout and it seemed fairly easy, today's lesson was the first of the proper classes and was obligation free, no fees etc.

We learned a few important points, such as placing the feet shoulder width apart...okay, I can do that, and placing the feet parallel to each other.

My hips and knees didn't like that at all.
So I turned my feet just a tiny bit, others did too, that's something I will work on in time.

We re-learned the exact same moves we'd tried on Saturday, three moves out of 108.
I'm fine with the first two, but the third is a little more complicated and I get lost somewhere in the middle, trying to remember what the arms and hands are doing while keeping my feet correctly positioned.
The parallel feet is only for the opening move, you turn and balance as the moves progress, but it's important to keep the feet flat once you have positioned them.
It helps to stretch the achilles, which is good, because my achilles certainly need stretching, as do my hamstrings.
But....my feet want to raise up on the toes, so while I'm remembering to put them down, the brain is forgetting the arm and hands movement.

Still, it is only the first lesson and I'm sure I'll learn it in time.
There were a lot of women today and once we were all lined up there wasn't a lot of room to move and I had trouble seeing the teacher. Next time I think I'll put myself at the front of the class, so I can see the moves more clearly.
That will be Thursday.
If my muscles stop aching by then.

Because today, I didn't come home and rest straight after, I foolishly went into town and did other stuff.


  1. How exciting. The smaller portion's mother took up tai chi (in her seventies) and said that it helped her balance and her flexibility A LOT. And she also said it was harder than it looks.
    Let us know how you get on - and I hope your poor sore muscles ease off quickly.

  2. I am going to watch your progress with interest. As said before Phil and I tried Tai Chi years ago and had so much trouble remembering the moves while others seemed to have no trouble. We just didn't go ahead with it although I guess we should have done as it is good for what ails you - so they say.
    I somehow feel all my joints are so bad now I probably couldn't do the moves plus the fact that I can only stand up for about 5 minutes at a time.
    Good luck and hope you find it helps you, eventually.

  3. Elephant's Child; a truck load of panadol might help, I was actually surprised by how hard it was to keep my balance when positioning the feet. I've always had good balance before.

    Mimsie; I almost didn't go, I was lying in bed not wanting to get up at all. I'm going to keep at it for a while at least, I think I need to regain balance and flexibility somehow.

  4. Like Mimsie, I'll truly interested to see how it goes for you River and if, eventually you reap benefits and rewards in the balance and flexibility areas. I've heard wonderful things about Tai chi.

  5. In the summer there is an older couple who practice in a little alcove in the park. They play some Oriental sounding music while they work. It is quite graceful to watch.

  6. Just imagine how graceful you will be when you have learned all of the moves and can do them fluidly. Woohoo!

  7. We forget how much work work is. Good for you!

  8. "trying to remember what the arms and hands are doing while keeping my feet correctly positioned." yep, that's the bit I'd be having trouble with as well. I also have terrible balance, although I am tryin g to work on that with my physiotherapist. One thing I've learned from my twice a week work outs at the medical centre gym is that you need to ice your sore bits straight away. For me, that's mostly my left knee. If I'm going straight home, I'll ice it then. But if I'm going on somewhere else, I do it at the gym as I've learned from experience that it helps so much.

  9. Good for you anything that helps balance and helps the muscles keeps you feeling young.

  10. Ahhh, my foggy morning brain and blurry eyes registered, "chai tea" in your post title! :D

    Sounds like Tai Chi could be a good thing for balance and well-being.
    It'll be interesting to read how you feel after say, eight to ten weeks.
    Looking forward to the reports.

  11. I was thinking about tai-chi just the other day. I'll think about again soon.

  12. It looks so graceful and easy.

    And it is DAMN HARD!

    Good on you for trying it, I need to try again. I gave up after a day cause I couldn't keep up with the dvd I was using!

  13. Rose~from OZ; I'm particularly hoping for more flexibility. Standing at a checkout for ten years has seen me become as stiff as a stobie pole.

    Delores; that must be a different style, there are many, this one I'm trying doesn't use music. One of the other ladies who came last Saturday said she'd done Tai Chi years ago with a different group and they used gentle music.

    Robin; that's the plan and then I will move on to a different group if I can find one who uses music, or perhaps a seniors aerobics class.

    Joanne; I almost gave up in the first five minutes....my knees weren't happy, but I stuck it out and I'll be going again.

    Marie; ice never works for me, I use heat to relax the muscle instead. Then a little massage on each knee if it is particularly sore. Usually the heat and walking normally is all I need.

    Merle; I'm hoping to keep the arthritis at bay too, I have it in several places. I want to be able to keep walking and moving, doing things for myself as much as I can as I get older.

    Vicki; I'll let you know after the end of the four month beginners classes.

    Susan Kane; I thought about it a lot too, at least once a year for several years now.

    Kelley; I've learned form the teacher that you aren't supposed to try and keep up if you can't. It takes time to learn each move and once your body knows that one by heart, you can concentrate on the next bit. With a DVD you can pause it while you go over a move until you know it. Try again?

  14. Uh-oh! If you feel odd with your feet parallel, that's something you might want to work on even outside of T'ai Chi. Anything off of parallel starts to have major repercussions in your hips and back and neck and even carpal tunnel and stuff. Really. See Pete Egoscue: Pain Free. I straightened myself out with his book and got rid of all kinds of pain I'd put down to old age. Gone! Good luck.

  15. It sounds much more complicated than I thought. I really thought it was easy, never having done it.

    Bt that’s true for everything: if it doesn’t hurt, it can’t be any good for you.

  16. I've been doing Tai Chi and Qigong for over 30 years, so I want to encourage you to keep going with some tips to help you stay the course.
    1. Don't pressure your body too much posture wise at first.. it's taken your body a while to be what it is, so you have to ease into it.
    2.Watch that you don't start too low.. a higher stance will get you lots of benenfits with less pain.
    3. Espsom salt warm not hot bath will ease the lactic acid out of your muscles. Slower movement can be more demanding in some ways.
    4. It took me years to achieve the paralell stance, like I mentioned be kind to your body.
    5. I teach a class with tai chi movements, so no memorization and less footwork, some people love this approach, and it can lead to learning the form. There are some videos that use this approach and much much easier to learn and do.
    6. Don't beat yourself up if you get confused.. after all there is time to catch up.. go with the flow and enjoy the journey.

  17. Murr Brewster; I'll work on it, I promise. And I'm thinking now of classical ballet dancers who spend so much time with their feet and hips turned outwards, yet don't seem to have much trouble from it. Perhaps we just never hear about it?

    Friko; it does look so easy when you see a team demonstrating their routine in a park. We just haven't seen the years of training and practise. I'm sure there are lots of things that don't hurt yet are still good for you, I don't agree 100% with no pain, no gain.

    Linda; welcome to drifting. Thanks for the tips, I'm 61 and have spent years standing at a checkout lifting groceries so I've got a bit stiff and arthritic. I'm being gentle with the movements and I know parallel feet will take time. Mine don't turn out too far from parallel anyway.
    By higher stance, do you mean standing straighter? Because I'm doing that.
    I'm going to search for DVDs to watch and copy at home too.
    Apart from that, I plan to position myself closer to the teacher, so I can see the movements better. Our class is quite large, about 40 women in a room a bit too small for such a crowd.

  18. Hi River, Yes by higher stance I meant not bending your knees too much and this will make you take shorter steps.. all of this is a gentle way to start.There are some videos of me that accompany my children's Tai Chi book ( but the same moves that I teach my adult classes) at http://www.followmetaichi.com//all-videos.html

    Above all breathe and enjoy!

  19. Sorry that link had a typo it is:


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