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Searching for the perfect position

February 2, 2009

If you are anything like me, sometimes it is hard to start something new. Since I want to do things right the first time I have had times of being frrozen into inaction.  When I first began to study Tai Chi, I got frustrated because the method of movement was so foreign I could not follow it immediately.  My instructor moved so smoothly and had what I took to be perfect positions.

As a new student, I wanted to be perfect right from the start. Instead I was clumsy, off balance, awkward and embarrassed.  Moving my hands, feet and torso in combinations unfamiliar was some sort of new slow motion dance.  Having never been a good dancer, I was like a fish out of water.  All my other sport related skills had no place in this house.

Admittedly,  I did get the idea and now teach my versions of movement.  I got the big aha one day in class. That “so this is what he means” feeling and found my own perfect position.  I also found that what I had seen as perfection from my Sensei was no more than a highly practiced routine.  He did the movements how he  had learned and was based on the capabilities of his own body. 

The takeaway from today’s post is this.  When working in any exercise routine,  dance routine,  Tai Chi or Yoga or any other program,  there is only one perfect position.  The one you can get into on any given day is the best you can be at that point.

Don’t allow not having exactly the same positions or movements as your teacher, instructor, Sensei or whatever name you choose for them to keep you daunted.  Our own bodies tell us what we  can or cannot do. We all have our limitations and abilities.  As we learn we improve, and there is no end to that.

The search for the  perfect position is better looked at as a search for continued improvement.

Do you avoid starting an exercise routine in class from a fear based position.  What can you tell me about an experience you have  had about searching for perfection.

  1. artbylindalou permalink

    Excellent explanation – especially for those beginning something as new &/or foreign as mind body work.
    I reinforce this idea with my students, & ask them not to copy me, but rather guide them with how it should feel to them.
    In this respect, when teaching, I try to explain not the technical aspects of a move at first, but rather I start the verbal cues such as:
    “move your hands as if they were resting on a balloon floating up” etc.
    Also I am sure you have done this; if someone has difficulty in coordinating the arms and feet moves at the same time, they can be learned separately with a positive effect. In fact they may get the ‘soong’
    (Chinese for relaxed with soft structure) much faster and get the benefits from the class that much faster than struggling with too much input which creates tension both physical, and mental, and thus energetic as well.


  2. Linda, thanks for you valuable comments.

    I agree with breaking down the movements into separate sections. In fact, the basis of my program is to teach the coordination of movement before starting any forms.

    My seniors especially have found this technique very useful. Understanding individual moves has helped them in gaining the flexibility and leg strength along with the coordination to do combination movements as they learn.


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