Everyone knows that exercise is important in keeping you healthy. But how do you work out several times a week without exercise getting boring?
You try something completely different.
Like exercising your body AND your mind with the centuries-old Chinese martial art of Tai Chi.
I’ll bet you don’t think of Tai Chi as a martial art, do you? With its slow, flowing, graceful rhythms, it’s hard to imagine fending off an attack with a mere wave of your hand. But… remember The Karate Kid? Wax on, wax off? Daniel was actually learning karate from Mr. Miyagi while cleaning the old master’s car.
It’s the same with Tai Chi. Sped up, the moves could knock an opponent on his ass.
So I decided to give it a try. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to combine exercise with self-defense training for a girl, does it?
I’ve started with the 24 form. The moves are memorable: the wild horse waves its mane; the white crane spreads its wings; drive the monkeys away; grasp the bird by its tail; wave hands like clouds; stroke the horse from above; play the pipa; the fair lady works the shuttle; needle to the bottom of the sea.
Those are fanciful names, but there are also the more obvious ones: boxing the opponent’s ears with both fists, punching and kicking.
Breathing is also an important part of Tai Chi. And when you concentrate on breathing as you move, a funny thing happens. You go into a zone, a kind of trance. Your eyes, your mind, your body, your breath all focus on what you’re doing. It’s a kind of meditation. And it’s incredibly relaxing even as you’re strengthening muscles and bones.
I’ve had some of my most creative ideas for books in the moments after a Tai Chi class ends. Because when your mind clears, there’s more room for creative inspiration.
If you’re a writer, author, or someone just looking to shake up your exercise routine, I’d recommend Tai Chi. Anyone who’s read my thinly-veiled contemporary romance Fear Of Flying know how much “breathing” has helped me during takeoffs, landings and airplane turbulence!
How about you? How do you shake up your exercise routine?