Happy New Year! I think it's great that this is the Year of the Fire Rooster. Roosters are pretty proud creatures to begin with - so that tells me this is the year to stand tall and announce yourself (on time) with fiery confidence. ;)
I started the year with a trip to the motherland - and dedicated several days to practicing at Lumpini Park in Bangkok. The air and heat were so thick that I was breaking a sweat even before I began. Hydration and proper breathing and breaks were necessary. But it was still great fun - practicing solo in a brand new setting. For those of you that haven't been, the Bangkok cityscape is distracting. Lots of bustle, cars, ads, vendors, flashy buildings. It was a great test of focus. I could have stopped because it's either too hot, or the food vendors too tempting, or the pull to sightsee and shop all day. I told myself each morning I would complete my warm-up sequence and at least 2 form repetitions each day, then touch-up on certain moves.
So was it a "success"? Definitely! I won't say that I made strides in my form execution, but I am certain that I cemented my practice of taiji. It set me up for how I want to practice this year: keep it simple and consistent. Steady weekly repetitions of the same form with a focus on lowering my movements so that they originate from my core - rather than sloppy "surface level" hand sweeps. My teacher always checks if we're "ready," and its this lowering that allows for a broader range of options without losing footing.
Blessings to you and your loved ones.