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Tai chi progress

Today, a post to catch you up on one aspect of my life. I've been such a crap blogger lately that I figured I'd do a short series of posts to let you know part of what I've been doing during my absence from the internet.

Those of you who've been around for a while know that I started taking tai chi class back in April as part of a fitness program for people with fibromyalgia. (And yes, I have fibro, along with rheumatoid arthritis. And a bit of rosacea - evidently, my body hasn't met an inflammatory response it doesn't like? But I digress.) The program involved one tai chi class per week, during which we learned the 10 form, one yoga class per week, and one additional day at the gym during which we were free to do whatever we wished. I wished to learn tai chi, so I took an additional tai chi class, during which I started to learn the Yang short form.

Brief primer on tai chi - there are four or five major schools, one of which is Yang. The Yang form is composed of three paragraphs (how much do I love that? SO much!), each of which consists of 36 moves. The first paragraph of the form is considered the "short form". The 10 form is an international competition form that allows judges to judge in an apples-to-apples manner: everyone does the same 10 (some say 8) moves, regardless of whether they've trained in the Yang, Wu, Chen, or Sun form.

Tai chi class at home I became friendly with several of the women in my fibro class, which was a 12-week program. I was fortunate to be able to join the gym at the end of the program, where I've continued with the Yang form. I've completed learning the first paragraph and have started learning the second paragraph, which promises to be rather tricky indeed. But I've also worked to retain the 10 form - sometimes helping another fibro patient who turns up at the regular tai chi classes.

And for the past few weeks, two of women who were in my fibro class with me and I have been doing our own tai chi class in my living room every Wednesday evening. We push back the chaise and the ottoman to make enough room, then put on some New Age music and do warm-up exercises, qigong breathing exercises (a combination of meditation, visualization, and repetitive movement based on one's breath), and, of course, the 10 form. It's been wonderful to reconnect with both of the women, and it allows all three of us to keep in practice with the form and to form a small support group of sorts.

I've been lucky enough to have the support of our tai chi instructor, who makes me practice the form with him on Tuesday and/or Wednesday to be sure I've got it right, and sometimes in refining moves I learn stuff I can pass on to the others.

Since starting tai chi, I've dropped about 15 pounds, upped my energy, felt more calm, centered and content, and definitely improved my flexibility and stamina. My kids still think it's a bit odd, but given the tremendous results I've seen from the practice, I've become a devotee.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
annemariepace
Aug. 25th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)
I'm always happy for friends when they find something that makes them happy! Yay for tai chi!!
kellyrfineman
Aug. 25th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
I really do love it. Hope you're having a good week - I've been thinking of you and yours!
amygreenfield
Aug. 25th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
That sounds *wonderful*. I've never tried Tai Chi, but you make me think I should!
amygreenfield
Aug. 25th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... not sure what's up with the text appearing in bold?!
kellyrfineman
Aug. 25th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
Your text looks normal and not bolded to me, although I could understand being that excited about tai chi. It really is wonderful - highly recommended for folks with fibromyalgia and other autoimmune functions (there are scientific studies), because of the gentle movement and the mind/body connection. It's kind of like moving meditation.
dampscribbler
Aug. 26th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
That wonderful, Kelly! I took Tai Chi in college (Yang Short Form) and loved it, and would really like to find a class to take again. You're motivating me to go out in search of one again (I tried a few years ago but nothing at the time fit my schedule.)
kellyrfineman
Aug. 26th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
I hope you can find a class that fits your schedule, even if it's a different form.
double_t_t
Aug. 26th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
That sounds wonderful! Congratulations on the weight loss. I'd love to take a Tai Chi class and a belly dancing class, but alas, I've not found any close to me. It's wonderful that you can meet in your home and to have your instructor's support is wonderful! Congratulations again Kelly!
kellyrfineman
Aug. 27th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Thanks! My instructor is pretty darn wonderful, I must say. And I am quite in love with tai chi.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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