Of Tai Chi and Half Halts

Mark has been wanting to take tai chi classes.  While I have some experience with it, and use it extensively in my own riding and teaching, I have not wanted to add to a life already near to bursting with activity.  As I lay on the ground waiting for the ambulance, I committed to finding a class for us during my recovery.  As it turned out, a wonderful sensei I have known for years was teaching a weekly class not far from us.  Three days after the accident, we began.

Last night during class, Sensei paused the lesson for an urgent distinction.  All the world is some combination of yang or yin, expansion and contraction, sending forth and drawing back.  Before yang/ sending forth, or bodies naturally draw back slightly to prepare.  Before yin, our bodies prepare by slightly moving away from the new movement, by expressing yang.  This seeming contradiction is natural and necessary.

Go ahead, pause your reading and try this now!

Again we moved through the tai chi form, only this time we intentionally prepared for each movement by moving oh-so-slightly towards its opposite.  The movements expressed a new and beautiful flow and groundedness.   The “human half-halts”  created seamless transitions and expressive movements.

Play with this the next time you ride!  Before asking for yin (collection, downward transitions, quiessense), generate slightly more yang (impulsion, extension, exhuberance) and  vice versa.  Come back and share your discoveries with us!

An Unexpected Season

I chuckled sadly when I noticed that the last post in the blog was Mark’s exhortation of wearing helmets every time, every ride.  The post was his response to Courtney King-Dye’s accident.   She was not wearing a helmet.  The results may have been very different had she been.  We’ve been praying for her and are so grateful as she continues to recover.  But for us, helmets remain; every time, every ride.

I only chuckled at the irony.  Since then, I was also involved in a bad accident. Naturally I was wearing my helmet.  I know by the way I landed my results would have been very different had I NOT been.  As it is, I have small fractures in 3 vertebrae that are, thankfully, well on their way to healing completely.   No riding for the next month or so, but teaching and writing are doctor-permitted and self-prescribed 🙂

Spring traditionally sees the young horses’ teeth floated and formal education begun, and the older horses’ return to schooling and showing.  The accident occurred literally the day this season began. For me, forbidden from the saddle, this will be an adventure, a season unlike any other I have experienced.

Let the journey continue!