Stacy Barrows: Working Harder Is Not Serving You: What I Learned in My First Tai Chi Class

“Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Author, Eat, Pray, Love

by Stacy Barrows, a Feldenkrais Practitioner, Physical Therapist and Inventor of the SMARTROLLER®

Have you wanted to learn a new language, start salsa classes, or maybe just learn how to throw a ball in the right direction? Besides distractions and making time available, what holds you back?

Recently I checked one off of my to-do list. I started taking tai chi classes. I have always been interested in studying a martial art, particularly one of the healing and internal styles such as tai chi. As a person who works with people that are challenged with balance, pain and adaptive skills, tai chi has held a fascination for me. I also chose a class taught by Feldenkrais and bagua/tai chi teacher Edward Yu. I knew from taking other classes with him that his instructional style would guide me to learn in my own way, rather than focusing on working harder or the correct way. Certainly, there need to be accurate and precise movements with tai chi, but the question is how does anyone access accuracy and precision in their own body — not just learning something new, but finding ways to engage more fully in the learning process?

So after only five classes, what have I learned?

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