Slowing Down – But Not in a Bad Way

The Husband and I are trying to get consistent in our nightly walking.  We tend to go in spurts, being Good Doobies for months, then getting waylaid by rain or Santa Ana’s (wind conditions) or cold (yes, it goes into the 40’s in So Cal) (and yes, we’re weather wimps).  We also do various floor and strength exercises because we want to keep active and healthy for as long as we can.  It’s probably more important now than ever.

I also go through my meditation phases.  When the least little thing sets me off like a rocket and I’m constantly tense, I know it’s time to light a candle, sit cross legged on the floor and get myself quiet.  I think meditation is highly individualized and we should find our own method to give ourselves the peace we need.

I’ve wanted to find something, though, that would be a nice combination of slowing both body and mind.  I’ve flirted with yoga poses from time to time, and I’ve liked it but I really yearned for controlled movement.  Flipping through a Great Courses catalog last summer, I found a package of Tai Chi Fit videos on a deep sale and figured, why not.  I’d heard of David-Dorian Ross, the founder of Tai Chi Fit and winner of 8 US gold medals in competitive Tai Chi, and I might have even owned a tai chi video of his back when they were still VHS.  I’m really happy I stumbled upon him again.

The package I bought has 10 separate programs and came with DVD’s and access to each program on the Great Courses website, as well.  I think I’ve seen them all at least once but I’ve picked a few favorites.  I guess I should cycle through them all again, though, because you never know when something will spark with you on a different day. 

It’s important to note that these aren’t traditional tai chi but a form of fitness workout that incorporates tai chi, as well as yoga and kung fu in some of the videos.  Perfect for someone like me who just wants to follow along with the soothing, calm movements and slow myself down, not really learn a martial art, per se.

Ross is usually accompanied by one or two other people that he guides and jokes with.  He emphasizes that you don’t have to do each move perfectly, just do what you’re comfortable doing and keep smiling.  I think you get out of a workout what you put into it, no matter what it is—so if I feel like squatting lower one day but not quite as low the next day, it’s all good.  I’m betting he’s not as casual as this, though, with his actual tai chi students!

The workouts are easy to follow – there’s only one move so far that I just can’t seem to find the rhythm for – so there’s no awkward learning curve.  Sometimes I do it at night with the lights off, with only the glow of the screen, so there aren’t any distractions.  My mind doesn’t wander doing this, like it does with other regular exercise videos.  I don’t go into a meditative state or anything woo woo, I’m just more aware of what my body is doing and how much effort it takes to move and breathe with mindfulness.  And I gotta say, it makes me feel both grounded and graceful.

I’ve sent DVD’s of the sitting workout to The Mom and one of my favorites, Live Longer, Feel Younger, to my BFF.  This hippie chick is just trying to keep her friends and family healthy! 

What do you do to keep yourself as stress-free and healthy as possible?

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