I’ve been going to ai chi three times a week since January. It’s kind of funny that I hurry up to get there so I can relax—like that old military saying, “Hurry up and wait.” But I do love it.
The best moment is when I first step into the warm water—aaah.
The second best is when everyone falls silent, and we begin with simple breathing. Inhale, and the palms of our hands are up. Exhale, down. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.
Then a small step further, to Floating, gently lowering the hands on the exhale. Full inhale, pulling hands up almost to the surface Full exhale, letting them drift down.
Melting slowly into the sequence of postures: Embracing the Moon, hands form a circle under water, make a gentle slow figure eight. The importance of balance.
Full Moon, reaching up to one side stretching arms, looking up, feeling the stretch down the side of the body. Then turn, other side.
Nurturing. Facing right, right foot in front, push exhale out, draw inhale deeply in, with arms, push out again. Slow. Quiet. Don’t make a wake.
Now nurturing to left, same movement, left foot front.
And so on. I begin to feel like a ballet dancer–fulfilling a childhood dream, to an extent. But no one is correcting or criticizing. Our instructor guides us, but each of us goes at her own pace. I focus on my movements, refine them myself.
I feel graceful, calm, balanced.