Getting around to doing tai chi

Lots of people never get around to doing tai chi because they aren’t sure when they’ll find the time. We tell ourselves we want to do a good job of learning, so we put it off until we have enough time to really give it our best try. This sounds a little silly when you think about it, at least if you tell yourself, or others, that you do want to do tai chi. What happens is we don’t get around to doing anything.

To learn it, of course, you have to put in the time. I suggest accepting whatever level of practice you can do. Make a plan. Set up to do tai chi at a specific time and place, and on a regular time schedule. Something is better than nothing, and practicing tai chi on a plan is better than letting it happen whenever it works out.

Another obstacle to learning is not remembering what to practice. Even when you have attended a number of classes and been exposed to several things, it’s still hard to get started, all because you don’t remember what to do.

This is perhaps the strangest thing about beginning tai chi. I recall that I used to feel odd trying to do tai chi moves, even at home alone. It felt awkward and a little embarrassing. I suspect it’s a similar thing for others.

What changed my mind and my behavior was that I felt awkward feeling awkward, so to speak. I decided that if I was going to do tai chi at all, then I better do it, in spite of how goofy I thought I looked, or how it felt.

Of course, in my case, I was ill and rather desperate. Maybe that’s what it really takes to break the barriers of routine and self-image—a great, undeniable need that doesn’t go away and can no longer be ignored.

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