Completing the form!

I am so excited to report that my students have finished learning the "mother form" - Lao Jia Yilu of Chen Taiji. They have practiced and attended class consistently for the past year - and because of our intimate class size, that is a pretty good pace. Cheers with tea! Time for a shut down and reboot. Time for "hibernation" for the winter. It serves to replenish and restore our energy for the spring! 

This month's tip from my "Semi-Secret Manual"
I want to emphasize it is no small feat to have completed the First Form. During my first time learning it, I quit! I don't even think I made it half-way through. I was pulled away by other priorities in my life at the time, but eventually (about seven years later!) - I returned and promised myself that I would finish!!! My second attempt took me about 14 months to complete. 

Completing the form is both the end and beginning of a new phase of learning. As I said to my students, "now that you've finished the form, we can start doing taiji!" Wait, what have we been doing for the past year?! Yes, we have been learning taiji. But now that the form is no longer "unknown," the next steps are to deepen. Teaching this class has allowed me to get re-acquainted and re-energized with the Yilu as if I was learning it again too. As I continue my own practice, I like to see the postures each as friends (75 friends!) I want to know well. What are their quirks? What are the tendencies as my body makes the motions? My teacher always says, "Where's your center? Don't lose your center." Center this and center that. Center, center, center. I get it now. For each of these postures to become a close friend, I will need to find the center within each move, and in doing so, I find my center too.

Embrace hibernation and restoration! Then we can be ready for whatever comes when we awaken...