My Tai Chi Reflections

Our usual Wednesday day class in the Lutheran Church Hall in Doncaster East was disrupted by workmen laying new flooring, but fortunately it was a lovely sunny morning and our group took to the garden instead. Instructor Christina reconnoitred the layout, established the angle of the sun, and marshalled her troops (i.e. our enthusiastic class) into the best position on the green square. Which was not at right angles, it turned out, if we were to avoid having the sun directly in our eyes.

Our Instructors were concerned that the bumpy lawn might make balancing more difficult for some, so we started off with a few adapted warm-ups. The uneven ground made us work hard to ensure we didn’t fall over or disappear down the rabbit holes. (A slight exaggeration.) But by the time we had reached the Lohan and Lotus Qigongs, we were all used to the ups and downs of outdoor Tai Chi.

I don’t think it’s boasting to say that Instructors Christina and Bruce are proud of our ‘performance’ of Levels 1 to 6 – but perhaps they say that to all their groups! Whatever the case, we all seemed to enter the zone where one movement flows into the next, and the group is one … with the odd exception of someone tripping over a mole hill. (Just kidding.)

One of the interesting things about outdoor Tai Chi is that there is no mirror. The absence of our reflections changes the experience. In the usual class situation in the church hall, one sees the group not once, but twice: once in reality, and once in reflection. Take away the mirror and the group seems much smaller than usual. And of course, there’s not that compulsion to follow one’s own reflection. Other than the pesky flies, there was not much to distract one from the movement and flow of the forms.

This environment reminded me of the fortnight that I spent in Darwin during COVID. Isolated in a quarantine facility, Tai Chi was a highlight of the day. I followed Senior Instructor Belinda’s online videos that she made during COVID; not only did they keep me on track, but they established a sense of connection. One of the aspects of Tai Chi that I appreciate is its portability. One doesn’t need a special track or court or equipment – Tai Chi works wherever we are.

Even on a bumpy lawn in Doncaster.

Julie-Anne Justus, Student
Doncaster Morning Centre

Updated: 6 April 2024