#8: Tai Chi

This is not something I had much preconception about, apart from having walked through a park in China once and seeing many people balancing oddly.

But it was very easy to book myself into a class at the local leisure centre. I had no idea of the right attire, but I forgot my bag anyway, so it was lucky that it was fine to do it in normal clothes and bare feet. Certainly you don’t need to dress with any anticipation of working up a sweat.

It was extremely gentle, and I would almost go so far as to say boring, but I think that is a case of adjusting to the pace. Others in the group were clearly regulars, and seemed to get into the flow of it much more readily.

Two things hampered my enjoyment of the class: 1) I was literally the only person there of working age. Indeed many must have advanced quite far into their retirement. So that left me rather preoccupied with the need to get a proper job, rather than mobilising my chi around the sports hall.

And 2) I very much needed to fart. This is a problem that is difficult to ignore when conducting a squat in a crowded but almost silent room. If I could have put those things aside then I am sure there is a lot of merit in Tai Chi.

A buxom and engaging Scotswoman led the class in quite a low key style; she demonstrated the movements and we followed as she moved: shifting our weight, moving our chi, reaching for the moon. Much of it involved holding an imaginary large sponge ball between our hands and moving it around. None of it was fast, or in any way difficult, but afterwards I do feel as if I have done some exercise; I suspect it has strengthening properties. And no doubt it would be even more beneficial if I were doing it properly.

I probably won’t go to that particular class again (I’m still too traumatised at being 30 years too early!); but I would certainly have another go at Tai Chi, especially in foreign climes or if I found an evening class.

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