When I was first approached about trying out a free Tai Chi class, it sounded like an interesting project. But I wasn’t quite clear on what I was getting myself into. So I asked the husband what Tai Chi was.
“It’s aerobics for old people.”
I was a little disappointed by his answer. I was hoping to get my sweat on.
“Oh,” I said. “I thought it was like martial arts or something.”
“Well, it kind of is I think. But it’s low impact. A lot of swaying and stuff.”
It turns out, he was kind of right. But he really wasn’t tuning in to the purpose of it. So what is the purpose?
Remember Right Concentration?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about applying Buddhism to finances, and one of the areas we discussed was Right Concentration. Or centering yourself. Meditating. Getting your brain right, so you can orient yourself toward the Right View. It turns out all that swaying and low impact movement is really great for centering yourself.
I took a free class with David-Dorian Ross. It was done via webcam. It was done at the end of a crazy day. It was done on the eve of another, even more overwhelming day. But as I stood there, focusing on swaying my arms, stepping in and out, breathing….everything else disappeared. My mind was clear. All those tabs in my brain shut down. And I just…was. It was a lot easier for me than meditation has been in the past. Instead of trying to focus on focusing on nothing, my focus on the movements did all the eradication of those extraneous thoughts and stressors for me.
Happy, Encouraging People are Contagious.
Before and after the session, there was some discussion and announcements between the instructor and the participants. Many had been attending sessions since January, and some of them were doing it several times a day. Every one of them was so happy to be there. Sharing parts of their day. Jokes. Zero negativity.
And the instructor himself, David-Dorian, was great. Despite being a gold-medalist and having previously had his own show on PBS, he was warm, welcoming, and made sure we all knew that he didn’t care what we looked like. He didn’t care if we were hitting the moves right. There were no corrections. It was all about the doing, not the accuracy. Yet, at the same time, there was lavish praise for how far his long-time students had come since their own Day 1 ten months ago.
Before we all signed off, he said something I really needed to hear. It might be something he says every time. Regardless, he told us there was still so much time in the day to get everything we needed to get done. He reminded us to have fun, and take just 5 minutes and play.
I work far too much. I don’t really play. We have scheduled date nights sometimes. Where we go out and do things to build our relationship or hang out with friends. But my day-to-day life is more of a checklist. Between work, blogging, and everything my kids need, I don’t take time to just play.
But that night I did. I put off my work for five minutes. I enjoyed the clarity of my mind. And I just played. The genuine happiness that the others had exposed me to spread. And we all had a pretty great night because Mommy was a little more happy.
And if being happy isn’t what figuring out our money is all about, then I don’t know what is.
You Can Try Our Free Tai Chi Sessions, too.
The best thing about this whole experience is that I get to pass it on to you. The classes weren’t just free to me; they’re free to everyone. They’re called “Qi” which is, as I understand it, a term for beginner’s Tai Chi. You can find sessions and register here. The times are in Pacific Time, so I’m really glad to see that they’ve just added an East Coast AM session. In my experience, it was a great way to start/end your day, and even though I didn’t work up a sweat as I had initially anticipated, the mental clarity it brought was worth far more than the $0 it cost.
*I have been compensated for my time and writing about this experience. Regardless, my opinions are 100% my own and 100% honest. I don’t recommend things to you that I would not use myself.*