Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 63 of 365: Tai Chi Me

I've talked about Model Me: that part of my personality that never truly comes out unless I'm modeling or acting. It's a vibrant, assertive, confident side of me that runs wild and unfettered. A side of me that I've been trying to integrate into my everyday life, but with staggeringly slow success.

I've been teaching tai chi for the last month or so. I always go into each class a little unsure, only to lose myself in the form and find that a solid hour has already passed. Whereas my own instructor taught me the form at an intense pace (which I loved, but I can see how off-putting it can be to other Westerners), I go slowly. I break down each move. I put everything into simple terms and provide "cheat cues" to remember what part of the body moves at what point. My voice drops a decibel or eight and I provide instruction in a way that has been described as melodic -- almost like a lullaby.

I've noticed that there is something different about me when I teach tai chi. Different than when I taught young kids. With the kids, I was always high energy. Even when I was trying to curtail a tantrum or help a kid go down for nap. My heart was always going a mile a minute and I developed a habit of constantly darting my eyes around the room, even if I was paying attention to just one kid. With tai chi, I'm calmer. I'm more patient. I go with the ebb and flow and laugh off whatever stumbles occur. I feel like I'm in the middle of the best yoga class ever. I'm so irritatingly peaceful that I feel like I could take a nap immediately after class, even though we all worked up a steady sweat.

I've decided to call this Tai Chi Me. And, like Model Me, it's something I hope to actually integrate into my day-to-day life. It's reassuring to know that I can be that calm -- and I don't need a yoga teacher to guide me into that feeling -- and I can be that understanding. It forces me to take a step back and laugh at how I must be outside of modeling and tai chi/yoga. Really, who is this quiet, passive girl with neurotic tendencies and an Irish temper?

It's why I've been seriously considering my yoga studio's teacher training in January. I have until the end of the month to decide, as deposits are due by then. Part of me has been shying away from the idea, if only because the cost of the classes and textbooks and the workshops can be as high as $3000. But something in me keeps tugging me back to the idea and I cannot shake that I'm supposed to be in this year's class. I know everyone and their cousin wants to be a yoga teacher these days, but, if tai chi is any indication, teaching yoga will only expand on that peaceful side of me. Not to mention I love teaching adults -- people who actually want to be there -- and being able to concretely see the progress that they are making.

In a perfect world, I'd get a scholarship for a one-month intensive training session in Costa Rica or Peru. Most likely, I'll be doing the "nights and weekends" training in good old New England for 6 months to a year. Regardless, I'm excited for what the future will bring, and only time will tell if Model Me and Tai Chi Me and Yoga Me just meld together in regular, everyday "me".

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