With the clocks having gone back and the rapid drop in temperature it seems quite wintery all of a sudden. However it is at least a little bit light when I get up to do my morning training now and the autumn colours are spectacular. Though most of us carry on as normal throughout the winter it is interesting to observe how the natural world prepares for and adapts to the cooler months. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a lot that is valuable to be learned from nature. So in a moment or two turn the laptop off or put that mobile down and get out there and have a look around. While we can’t simply pack in our jobs and chores and just hibernate over the winter like some other mammals, it is a good idea to be less ‘busy’ if we can. Winter is the time to not only conserve but also replenish our energy supplies and this in turn ensures that we have more than enough energy during the more active months of the following spring and summer. Traditional Chinese medicine advises us to eat lots of slow cooked, wholesome and hearty meals and take time out for rest, recuperation and reflection. Having said that it also important to get outside and directly experience winter on a regular basis as this will gradually allow the body to adapt to the cooler temperatures without having to rely so much on central heating! It’s all relative really; what we perceive to be cold here in the UK might seem decidedly toasty to our friends in Siberia!
During the first winter that I began Tai Chi I found it very cold practising outside in the park every day. Inspired by taunting emails from my friends in Beijing however where winter temperatures are much lower, I persisted and little by little I found it to be surprisingly pleasant. Now, many years down the line, I really relish my winter Tai Chi training and hardly feel the cold at all. For me I think of this season of quiescence as being perfect for fortifying mind and body just as a Bear might enjoy his slumber in readiness for spring. It is so very still in the park first thing in the morning at this time of year (apart from the odd hoot from one of the local tawny owls) that I think it really heightens ones perception thus making it an excellent time to practise and focus.
If you do venture out for some seasonal Tai Chi training make sure you wear lots of cosy clothes. Think close fitting flexible base layers which allow comfortable movement, loose fitting fleeces next and on top some kind of windproof shell. Some gloves and a hat top it all off and remember that if you get too warm while your training you can always take clothes off but if you don’t have them with you in the first place and you get cold you can’t put them on! I also recommend a flask of hot tea to keep you warmly hydrated; Chinese Pu-Erh is a great choice for the cooler months. Enjoy!
And so lastly, the 17th November sees our monthly Saturday workshop come around once more. We train from 10:30 to 16:00 at the Newell Centre (Tozer Way, Chichester) with a short break for lunch. Having a whole day to focus on Tai Chi is fantastic. It provides a chance to make some real, long lasting improvement which is sometimes more difficult to achieve in a weekly, hour-long class. All abilities, from beginner to advanced, are welcome and a good night’s sleep is guaranteed after training all day!
All the details are on the website: http://www.sussextaichi.co.uk