Having just returned from a wonderful fortnights holiday in Greece it is a real pleasure to get back to teaching and writing again. All of my courses and classes are starting this week so it will be great to see all the many familiar faces and some smiling new ones too. Although I love teaching Tai Chi, it really was superb to have a distinct change of scenery for a while.
People often ask me if I have a break from my own training when I am on holiday and while I do tend to spend a little less time than normal practising I still usually manage to slip in two or three hours of solid training each day. Mostly I am up early in the morning before it gets too hot and I find a quiet space where I can be left to my own devices without interruption. This time, however, I just couldn’t resist enjoying some beach-side practise despite the heat because the surroundings were so lovely.
Just as the human body requires good food every day in order to function effectively and healthily so too does it require good movement on a daily basis. How you exercise is as important as exercising itself, just in the same way that the body does not simply require empty calorific intake to survive but instead well balanced nutrition. And of course it’s the same for the mind; regular concentration and meditation practise is vital to help keep this cheeky little monkey in check and on the ball. For me, just as I feel it is essential to eat delicious, nutritious food every day, I also hunger for my delectable and mindful martial arts practise that is Tai Chi, the most nutritious exercise of all!
Aside from training then, we had a wonderful time simply exploring the stunning island of Alonissos and reveled in its crystal clear waters, remote beaches and lush green mountainous hillsides. Alonissos is part of the Sporades, an archipelago along the east coast of Greece in the Aegean.
Lying next to Skopelos, Alonissos is barely touched by tourism and is set within the largest marine nature reserve in Europe so the wildlife is stunning both above and below the water.
We observed many rare birds and enjoyed snorkeling in the deep, calm waters to see a vast array of aquatic life. I particularly enjoyed scrambling around the prolific rock pools and studying the little worlds therein. Rock-pooling is great fun; I can easily loose a whole day exploring and observing in the sunshine. And because the rocks were so slippery, jagged and covered in sea-urchins it took all of my Tai Chi skills to stay balanced and safely scale some of the bigger rocks in order to reach the more remote pools.
We usually walked between 8 to 12 miles each day as we explored the coast and rocky paths so by the time we returned back to our tiny apartment we were ready to enjoy some of the delicious local cuisine (think fresh seafood and lush locally grown fruit and veg). So all in all we have come back feeling fit, rested and ready for the Autumn.