Today I have renewed appreciation for simply being able to move. I am thinking that if writing relieves the memory, then movement sustains it. While moving, a memory flashed through my mind that brought with it a moment of joy.
At my yoga class today, we did a seated posture with a mudra that is meant to support alignment. (I’m sorry I don’t know its name.) It looks like this:
You make the mudra with both hands.While kneeling and sitting up on blocks you put the bottom of the fists near the hip creases. We sat that way for a few minutes practicing ujjayi breathing (the ocean breath) and sending the breath up and down the spine.
Later, we did a simple chair pose. While in the pose, I remembered the time about 22 years ago when I still had five children at home and I really needed something for ME. I don’t even remember how I got the idea, but I signed up for a T’ai Chi class at the local community center. Lucky for me, the instructor was a young man from Taiwan who had studied with a T’ai Chi Master. He moved with strength and grace I had never seen before. Such smooth, controlled, elegant motions.I felt so good after the first class that I continued to attend classes for a year. Then sadly, he moved on to become a graphic artist. The teacher who came to replace him tried to teach us from a manual. NOT THE SAME!
I remember the inner giggle I felt as I moved and visualized “parting the wild horse’s mane” or “wave arms like clouds.” It takes tremendous practice and concentration to consider the form, the story, and the breath. I did not master it, by any means, but I did grow in my awareness of my body and the happiness of moving it.
One day on my way home from my T’ai Chi class, I stopped in to say hello to my parents. They were in their 70s with accompanying health issues. For mom, it was severe arthritis, and for dad, it was heart disease. I breezed in, still on what my kids later called “mom’s T’ai Chi high.”
“Dad! Did you know that you can lengthen your spine?”
Mama stayed in her chair, but my sweet dad got up and said, “Show me.” I coached him in what I had just learned. While standing, bend the knees as if to sit. Send the tailbone down toward the earth while imagining a marionette string pulling up the head. (That’s how the teacher described it.) My dad and I did this together.
He smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye. I can still the yellow shirt he wore. Something about the movement together was very much like children at play. We laughed.
“By cracky!” he said.
Oh, I miss him.