At T’ai chi overlooking the lake very, very early this morning (hence the very long shadow above), I wondered how one could ever master this intricate and precise form of exercise. Indeed, it is stretching the core of my very being, being able to move in a graceful fashion with my right arm making one movement, my left arm another, and then coordinating it all with specific movements of my feet, not to mention the proper breathing connected to the different components of the specific forms. It’s like tapping your head, rubbing your belly, and circling the foot, while whistling a tune and reading a book, all at the same time.
This being said, not only is T’ai chi a coordination challenge, but it is spiritually challenging as well, demanding an extremely slow pace, deep concentration, and riveting focus. It’s not about breaking a sweat as in doing push-ups or lifting weights, but it is about all the parts of the body working carefully together in an ancient choreography to stimulate the chi in the body to flow smoothly without obstructions. It is about stretching oneself in the profoundest of ways.