Yes, I finally went to my first tai chi class yesterday evening. Turns out they have a late lesson on Wednesdays, one that lets me finish up at work, fight through rush hour traffic, and still make it there in time to grab a snack at the Vertskebap before class starts.
So how was it?
I can say at the outset that the venue itself left me a bit hot and cold. It was just a narrow shop in a strip mall with “YOGA” illuminated on the wall above the door. Inside, there were several posters on the walls that looked like the cover of a Pure Moods album projected on the liner notes from Lateralus.
That said, the room where I did my “energy reading” (more on that later), was a really nice and peaceful little space.
Anyway, the class itself was fine. There was a lot of stretching and some low impact movement, which were the reasons I’d wanted to come in the first place.
Then we got to the whole “energy ball” thing, and that was really interesting.
Now I’m not much for new agey nonsense, but I really could feel something in my hands. It felt a lot like pressing two weak magnets together, if the magnets were gloves on my hands. Now whether or not there’s something spiritual or mystic about that sensation, or whether it’s some kind of physiological response to movement, warmth, and/or suggestion is absolutely debatable.
But I did feel something.
After class the “master” requested that I sit with him for something called an “energy reading” if I had the time. I always have time for something called an “energy reading,” so we entered a nice small space behind a sliding paper/bamboo door and sat down on the floor.
We talked for a bit, he did some exercises with me that showed how unfocused and disconnected my mind and body were. (I don’t want to give away this stuff, in case it’s proprietary, but there was a lot of finger/thumb pointing involved.)
Then he dimmed the lights and began to poke me firmly along the center of my chest, with instructions to say “ouchy!” if I was uncomfortable.
I was just fine for most of it, and kept telling him “nope, that’s okay…nope, that’s okay…” That is, until he hit a spot just above my sternum that was definitely sore when he pressed on it. It felt a bit like when you have a knot in your neck, but it was focused in a small spot on my chest.
He clucked and said that this was caused by stress, that it was inhibiting my 4th chakra, and that I’d likely been carrying it around for 10 or 20 years.
“Not all that surprising…” I replied.
He then told me I needed to “pluck it out” and showed me some exercises for doing so which, if we’re being totally honest here, amounted to little other than tapping on my chest while breathing heavily. Now I can totally see how regular breathing would relax me and relieve stress, but I’ve no clue why I’m supposed to whack on my chest while doing so…
Then he went back to the reading and told me, “Your energy is warm. And very, very kind. You are kind in heart and in head. That rare. Most people one or other. You care for people. People you know, and all people. You have children?”
I told him I had a daughter.
“Yes. You love family very much. You very kind and caring to all family.”
“Well, I’d certainly like to think that I’m a kind person.”
And that was it. That was the energy reading.
After that we got to the business of breaking down his class pricing structure and he invited me to attend an open yoga class they’re having this Saturday. I said it was highly unlikely that I’d make that, but perhaps. And then I drove home feeling pretty good.
I was certainly more relaxed than I was when I came in, but then again I’d just done a lot of stretching/meditation so that makes sense.
As for my overall judgment? I’ll probably drop in next week if I have the time.
Take that for what it’s worth.