When you're teaching quite often there's a tendency to over-correct and try to fill the gaps with all your knowledge but people can only absorb so much whilst pre-occupied with doing the movement, maybe it's better to have more space between words and instructions and let people feel what they are doing.
When you practice a move or exercise enough and come to understand it you make it yours and you move beyond imitation.
Recently I had a teenager in his last year of high school attend my class, a fairly typical robust, enthusiastic, good kid. He was there by default & not necessarily because he was interested in Tai Chi but willingly gave it a good try. Having a person of such young age was a fresh experience given the usual stereotypical perceptions of Tai Chi, so I was keen to see how he found it....He found it difficult. He wasn't necessarily an athletic boy but looked strong and bubbling with nervous energy and he had a lot of trouble slowing his movements and his mind down given the mindful repetitive Tai Chi movements. He also found the standing postures hard to take on his thighs (even more so than usual) and to stand, sink and relax was very stressful for him. Just the slow up and down movements heated him up noticeably, judging by the way his attention was jumping around. He had a lot of trouble listening to his own body - he told me that this exercise was "too intense", he needed many breaks & that he felt very hot. I was surprised that he heated up with chi so quickly & that he found it so difficult. I usually don't think of young people when thinking about people who might be interested in my class but I believe that Tai Chi can help a lot of them by giving them a method to calm their turbulent? nervous? sensitive? minds and emotions. Teenagers also need to learn how to "relax." It's probably a bit scary for them to meditate and look introspectively....but beneficial nonetheless.
When you're relaxed it's difficult to be fearful, anxious or angry. You're much more likely to make a rational, thoughtful decision than to quickly jump to one that you may regret.
Meditation is always a good thing to practice, slowing and observing our thoughts as they arise, perhaps sitting still in the zazen posture....but for someone like me who needs movement, lightly focusing your mind on the changes that are purposefully occurring in your own body - following the principles of Tai Chi in movement - is a much more involving way of cultivating mindfulness with much, and arguably more of its benefits.
These are my thoughts about various aspects of Tai Chi. They may or may not be original and I try to give credit where credit is due.
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