As I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling, gulping air, eagerly awaiting my next breath, feeling my heart beat in my chest, watching the dust motes float through the air, inhaling a few hundred of them, I thought: Geez! This is only 20 minutes into the warm up!!! The floor feels good. Cool. Firm. Not moving. May the nausea continue to stay a bat. Breathe! Breathe! Certainly, I did not feel alone. All across the room, giant lung-fulls of air were being consumed.

I am happy to say that I did not toss my cookies, though it was close. Note to self: No Cheerios before Tai Chi! Got it! On Thursday afternoon I had a sit-down introduction to Tai Chi. In this intro, Sifu told me that, though it looks easy, it is strenuous and that more than likely I would become nauseous at some point during the warm up. Of course I thought that I wouldn’t. No way. Not me. Wrong-o! I was very nauseated after attempting to do what looked like rowing push-ups. instead of going up and down, you do the push-ups in what looks like a circular motion. Very difficult and strenuous.

He also cautioned me not to compare myself to anyone else because we all have different abilities. After the 30 minute warm-ups were complete, our instructor came in and instructed us to to assume a position whose name escapes me at the moment. Basically, it is supposed to be a relaxing position. Feet shoulder width apart, facing front, knees slightly bent, arms out, hands facing each other, fingers slightly curled inward. Sure. No problem … for the first 2 minutes. As this was my first class, I was wondering if he’d forgotten about us. My mind kicked in as my shoulders started screaming wondering when he was going to come back in! The answer, but 5 minutes later. Now, 5 minutes doesn’t seem so long unless you are standing there holding out your arms, sweat dripping down your forehead into your eyes, trying to fight back a bit of nausea that just doesn’t want to go away. πŸ™‚

Thankfully, the 5 minutes ended, then it was time to start Tai Chi! Huh? Start?! But I’m tired! LOL! Block A students, of which I am one, went to the small studio to the left. Block B students, stayed in the main studio. I walked to the smaller studio, bowed, and entered. We started right away with some painful, muscle-burning squats designed to increase power, posture, and balance. Then, we were broken into smaller groups to practice various Tai Chi moves. The teacher helped me learn the first 3.

This time went quickly, soon the time was up and we were excused. And, in true Chinese martial arts fashion, we were asked to volunteer to help to clean the school. So, before leaving, I and another student cleaned the men’s bathroom and shower area … wax on, wax off! πŸ™‚ I actually loved this aspect of ‘training’. It makes it a community where everyone is a part of the school. It also teaches humility. No one is special and exempt from helping. Of course, it’s not required, but everyone pitched in to make it nice and clean.

When I left to drive home I felt good. I still had a touch of nausea, but it was certainly manageable. Now, it’s time for me to follow Hobbs’s lead and get a quick nap before continuing with my day.

Guess what?! I’m going back tomorrow to do it again. We are supposed to try to get in 2 Tai Chi classes/week. This was my first one. There’s another class tomorrow at 9:30 AM.

Though I’ve never taken Tai Chi before, I don’t believe that this is your YMCA variety martial art. This is the real deal! That stuff that I saw on the DVD was total fiction.

The coolest thing was the the mixture of students all there for their own reasons. Some where bigger, smaller, shorter, taller, older, younger, all working together. Good energy. Good balance.

Time, opportunity, and choices II
On the street in Charlotte