For the past year I have been learning a Tai Chi form created by the Ni family, the Harmony T’ai Chi short form (originally the Integral Way spiritual tradition of ancient China). I have been doing this form, which includes 18 movements, at least once a day for the last year as part of my morning routine. The choreography is much more fluid than when I first began. The long form contains 108 postures.
This morning my Tai Chi class was outside, a very overcast day. Today my teacher said I am ready to reverse the form. For the form to be complete, the same choreography needs to be mirrored on the opposite side. Though I first learned the movements by copying my teacher, for the opposite side she said we have to figure it out ourselves, using the first side as a kind of map. She also said it would take about a year to learn and fully integrate. After this is accomplished, I will be ready for the long form.
So my brain was really popping today. Every piece of biological circuitry was electric, working to reverse the first movements. I don’t think I have ever had such a challenging kinesthetic and intellectual exercise. It felt like my cerebellum was turning inside out. The more I concentrated the more overcast it became, until I’m not sure whether my brain or the sky exploded first.