Friday, June 11, 2010—where has this year gone? It seems like yesterday was January 1st, and now the year is half over. Then we shivered in the below zero cold, wished for warmth and didn't believe that it would ever come. Now we swelter inside oven-like heat with 100% humidity and wonder if we were ever cold!
In the last few weeks, I have discovered Zhan Zhuang, the practice of standing still, which seems to be a precursor of Tai Chi. I discovered this through the blog, Voyage to DISCOVERy; the author has links to Zhan Zhuang video clips and I practice along with them. I have also read Geneen Roth's new book, Women, Food and God, which advocates listening to your body.
The combination of these two things has led to greater body awareness, to ways that I am hunching my shoulders, twisting my legs, or curving my spine. I find myself coming back to center during the day in quiet moments. I also feel more stamina since following Zhan Zhuang, and I am able to breathe easier.
One of the ideas that Zhan Zhuang advocates is practicing outside, close to trees. I am really more of an inside girl—I like nature in theory, and in practice I am squeamish around bugs, heat, plants that make me itch, breezes that blow my papers around, etc. This morning, I decided that I would take my Zhan Zhuang practice outside in the early morning; I would greet the dawn and fill my lungs with fresh air. I stepped outside in the lightening darkness, performed my warm up movements and assumed the position of stillness. Within three seconds, I was a morning feast for the mosquitoes! I could almost hear them calling out to their friends, "Hey, guys, look—it's breakfast!" I could see them flying around and feel them biting me. Right away, I incorporated Geneen's advice to listen to my body, which said, "Run back in the house! Now!" I did. Then I resumed my Zhan Zhuang while pondering that age-old question: Do they have mosquitoes in China?