Tai Chi and Finding my Exercise Zen

February 5, 2019
tai chi, exercise, movement, beach

ZEN TIP TUESDAY #3

For ZTT #3 I’m so pleased to introduce you to Leanne Le Cras who shares with us her experience with Tai Chi and how it’s helped her find her exercise zen.  I’ve known Leanne ‘virtually’ via blogging for quite a while now.  I’m not exactly sure how long but well over a year, and what a lovely lady she is!  Leanne lives in Western Australia – the opposite side of Australia to me.  Believe it or not though, she’s in Brisbane at the moment and I’m actually meeting her in person, tomorrow!!  Anyway, I’m thrilled to have her guest post as part of the #ZTT series so thank you Leanne for putting your hand up so eagerly and writing your fabulous post to share with us.  You can learn more about Leanne in her bio at the end of this post and you’ll also find links to her blog and social media.  

Before I go, I wanted to point out that today is an extra special day as it’s the first day of our #ZTT Link-Up.  If you’re linking up today – welcome, and thank you!  I expect numbers of linkers will be low to start with but spread the word and hopefully in time the #ZTT Link-Up will grow into something special.


tai chi, exercise, movement, beach

Firstly I’d like to thank Min for being kind enough to invite me to guest post on her lovely blog. When she said the topic was Zen Tips, I immediately thought of my Tai Chi lessons and how they fit into the concept of being Zen and thought I’d share my journey to Tai Chi Zen with you today.

FINDING MY EXERCISE ZEN

I’ve tried a lot of different types of exercise classes over the years – from good old aerobics in the 1980’s through to Zumba. To say that I have the co-ordination of a drunken giraffe would probably be a kind way of describing anything that involves me doing dance moves that involve rhythm, so I never really stuck to exercising to music.

Then along came Tai Chi – I’d tried it a few years ago and loved the fluid motion and the synchronised moves. It was all at a slow and considered pace that gave my brain time to catch up with what it needed to tell my body to do next. The classes were run by a man and were a more combat based version of Tai Chi – my husband even came for a while and we were progressing to fighting moves with a staff when the classes came to an end. Perhaps that was a good thing – the neighbours might have been worried if we’d taken our marital spats out on each other with a staff in hand!

STEPPING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

A few years passed and then I discovered another class quite close to home – this one had a lady instructor and was much more gentle and “Zen”. But, before I could start, there were a couple of stumbling blocks – firstly, it was being held at the local Senior Citizens’ Centre, and there was no way I’d be able to go to a class at the Senior Cits because I was obviously wayyyy too young! Well, I got a big dose of reality when I found out I qualified as a “senior citizen” because I was over 50! So, after coming to terms with my new status – and the fact that classes were $3 for an hour (bargain Pensioner rate I guess) I thought “why not?”

Then the second stumbling block came into play – I didn’t know anyone who went and I’d have to go by myself – Whoa! I couldn’t go to something by myself – too scary and too confronting! But you know what? I stepped up and the lure of those $3 classes pushed me into trying “just once”. It turns out I loved it and I’ve been almost every single Friday since – those Seniors are wonderful – encouraging, non-competitive, no fancy workout gear, just people enjoying doing something together and happy for me to join in.

WHAT WE ACTUALLY DO

We do “Lee Style” Tai Chi which has 140 individual moves. It doesn’t sound like much, but trying to master 140 turns, kicks, arm movements, and steps, while also breathing in time, is quite a challenge. The first class was an eye opener – 35 or so people in their 60’s and 70’s who all seemed to have it down pat as they followed the instructor, while I hid at the back and did my best to not fall on my face or look like a complete twit.

I quickly realized that nobody was looking at me – they were too busy looking at the instructor and remembering which way to turn and which foot goes forward with which hand movement. As time has gone on, different women have chatted with me and some have been coming for two years or more and are still prone to putting the wrong foot with the wrong hand! I felt so much better to know I wasn’t a slow learner.

If you’re interested in what “Lee Style” Tai Chi looks like, this is a link to the first 32 moves – very restful and the music is similar to what we have in our class.

SO AM I A TAI CHI MASTER YET?

It’s been six months since I started and I actually feel quite proficient (except when I stuff up a move or two) and I’m loving the feeling of being part of a group. When I look across and see us all doing the same thing at the same time – all synchronized – I smile to myself and think how glad I am that I didn’t give up because it was too scary, or too hard. I persevered and exchanged my comfort zone for a personal challenge that motivates me to get up each Friday morning. I don’t actually break into a sweat, but I’m doing something that has been proven to be good for my brain and is highly recommended for balance and fall prevention (something we Senior Cits need to be aware of!)


leanne le cras, leanne, cresting the hill, blogger, bio, portrait

 

LEANNE LE CRAS

Leanne lives in the beautiful SW of Western Australia and works part-time as a surgeon’s receptionist. Both kids have grown, flown, married, set up house and produced two delightful granddaughters. She spends way too much of her spare time blogging about the highlights of Midlife at Cresting the Hill and shares the rest of her leisure time with her husband and two cats.

Connect with Leanne:  BLOG  |  FACEBOOK  |  PINTEREST

 

 


 

#ztt, #zentiptuesday, #zen, #balance, #mind, #body, #spirit, #tuesday

ZTT LINK-UP #001

Inlinkz Link Party

You Might Also Like

39 Comments

  • Reply Natalie February 5, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Thank you, Min and Leanne, for this link up series and this post. Bravos to Leanne for keeping up with your Tai Chi class and now you’re proficient. Have a fun meet-up and a beautiful week! #ZTT

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 5, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Hi Natalie – lovely to see you linking up with Min – she’ll be so excited to see her party off to a cracking start. And yes, I’m glad I perservered and also that I didn’t write off the “senior cits” because they’ve been so lovely!

    • Reply Min February 5, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Thanks to you Natalie for linking up for my inaugural #ZTT Link-Up! I’m very lucky to have Leanne guest posting for this special occasion. It feels just perfect. Have a great day and thanks again for linking up! 🙂

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 5, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for having me as your guest today Min – it’s lovely to be part of your Zen Tip series and I’m really looking forward to our big meet up tomorrow! Feel free to share this at our MLSTL party too if you like xx

    • Reply Min February 5, 2019 at 9:40 am

      It’s my pleasure to have you guest post as part of the #ZTT series Leanne. It’s especially fabulous that you are my guest post for the kick off of the ZTT Link-Up! Wonderful to know my ZTT posts can be linked up with #MLSTL too – thank you and see you tomorrow! Yippee! 🙂 xo

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 6, 2019 at 8:50 am

        Hi Min – just stopping by from MLSTL to let you know I shared this on my SM too xx

        • Reply Min February 7, 2019 at 7:44 am

          Thank you Leanne – you’ve been wonderful with your “spreading the word” on my new #ZTT link! xo

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond February 5, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Hi Min and lovely to see Leanne as your guest. I’ve never tried Tai Chi but often see groups in the park on Saturday mornings when I run. I love watching the fluid movements and would like to try a class one day. At the moment I’m loving my yoga and with running and other workouts I’m pretty busy with you fitness program. Isn’t it wonderful that we have so many options available to us to keep not only a fit body but also maintain good mental health.

    • Reply Min February 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm

      Hi back at you Sue! I’ve never tried Tai Chi either but gee it does look relaxing and calming doesn’t it? I’m sure it would take me a while to get those moves right though so good on Leanne for persevering and learning them as she has! Like you my activity routine is rather full at present and I’m trying to make an effort to make it more rock solid. I’ve been successful at locking in my 3 x weekly pilates but need to embed regular walking and some home yoga/meditation into my routine. I agree that these things are important not just for our physical health but also our mental health. Enjoy the rest of your week and thanks for linking up and visiting #ZTT today! xo

      • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond February 7, 2019 at 7:18 am

        Hi Min, thanks for linking up and sharing your #ZTT at #MLSTL. Good luck with the link up and the series and I know that it will grow each week. I’m sharing on social media and hopefully spreading the word. xx

        • Reply Min February 7, 2019 at 7:51 am

          Thanks so much Sue and thank you for sharing and spreading the word. Your support is as always very much appreciated! 🙂 xo

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 6, 2019 at 8:48 am

      Hi Sue – I think Tai Chi might be my gateway to eventually giving yoga a shot – your free youtube sessions by Adrienne have been saved to my favourites for when I feel ready to have a go at a new challenge. But you’re also right – anything that makes us move (and think) is always a good thing.

  • Reply jodie filogomo February 6, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Leanne told me to come link up my post to this wonderful party. I loved her story, because I think we can all feel that way when trying out something new.
    I think my husband would especially love Tai Chi, but I’d try it too.
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Reply Min February 6, 2019 at 7:29 am

      It’s fabulous to have you here linking up for my first #ZTT Link-Up Jodie (and thank you to Leanne)! I haven’t tried Tai Chi either but after watching that video in Leanne’s post I feel compelled to give it a try at some point. It looks so soothing and relaxing and that music spoke to me! Hope to see you here again Jodie! xoxo

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 6, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Hi Jodie – so glad you linked up – your yoga post was perfect for Min’s ZTT – and you’re adding to Sue’s inspiration for me to start thinking about giving yoga a shot this year.

    • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond February 7, 2019 at 7:19 am

      Hi Leanne, I’m glad you have saved Adrienne’s series. You will certainly find one for beginners and she isn’t as ‘mystical’ as other yoga practices, she makes it fun. 🙂

  • Reply Jo February 6, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Min and Leanne, so glad to see this party is setting off at a good pace – bring on the bubbles! I loved your post about Tai Chi Leanne and had to chuckle about you and the Senior Cits – but I agree – why not. When we first arrived in Bunbury I joined up to the over 50’s club (I was 51) to make friends. Little did I realise the club was actually more like the over 70s – but I met some lovely people. I do need to join an exercise class. I really do. But like you, not so keen to go it alone.

    • Reply Min February 7, 2019 at 7:46 am

      Cheers Jo! My #ZTT Link-Up baby hasn’t done too badly for her first day has she? I had a chuckle over the Senior Cits bit in Leanne’s post too. I do not think of myself as a senior citizen but I apparently qualify! Gotta look at the benefits to that I guess! xo

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Jo – being a senior cit was quite unnerving – instant images of white haired old ladies sprang to mind (and a lot of them are!) but with age comes kindness and non-judgement and non-competitiveness – all very good things in my book + the added bonus of $3 classes! What’s not to love?

  • Reply Pat February 7, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Hi Leanne (and Min), A great (gentle) reminder to look for a Tai Chi class. A friend had mentioned doing one after we both return from snow-birding, but I had not put it on my to-do list (find a class). It’s been on my Possibilities List for years…and I do wonder if hubby might go as well.

    Also looking at some of the other Zen blogs – a nice link-up idea!

    • Reply Min February 7, 2019 at 7:49 am

      Hi Pat – I’m so glad you like my #ZTT link-up idea. There’s just so much stress and sadness in the world. I wanted to pull together a lovely big squishy collection of ideas from people from all corners of the world on ways we can look after ourselves and brings some peace, balance & calm (ZEN) into our lives. Your snow boarding sounds fun. Now that is something I have never done! Haven’t tried tai chi either but it does look so calming doesnt it so I think I might give it a try at some point! 🙂

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 10, 2019 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Pat – my husband quite enjoyed the original class we took that was run by a bloke, but I think he’d find the more gentle “Lee” style too boring. I’m also not sure how he’d feel about being inundated with all the older women! There’s a couple of guys who come and they’re always good for a laugh and quite enjoy being the roosters in the hen house 🙂

  • Reply Victoria February 7, 2019 at 2:32 am

    I never think outside of the box when it comes to exercise but this is a great idea.

    • Reply Min February 7, 2019 at 7:49 am

      It looks so calming and relaxing!!

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 10, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      I need to think that way Victoria – when you’re as useless at Zumba and rhythm type programs as I am, anything more structured is worth a shot – and not much sweating (double bonus!)

  • Reply Nancy Dobbins February 7, 2019 at 5:34 am

    Hi Min…and Leanne, I’m constantly amazed at the interconnectedness of the blogging group. How interesting about the Tai Chi. I’ve heard lots about it through friends, but never have tried it myself. It certainly fits in with your Zen theme Min!
    Love both blogs! MLSTL

    • Reply Min February 7, 2019 at 7:51 am

      Women supporting women Nancy! 🙂 I haven’t tried tai chi myself either but one day I’d like to give it a go. It certainly does fit with my zen theme! 🙂

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Nancy – isn’t the Midlife blogging community amazing? You bump into each other all over the place (like you being on Sue’s blog the other day). I loved that I had something to contribute to Min’s series and I’m planning on linking up over the weeks ahead too.

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit February 7, 2019 at 7:18 am

    you sound like a master! Sounds good to me.

    • Reply Min February 7, 2019 at 7:52 am

      I love the calming music and fluid movements. It seems so calming and peaceful. I wonder if I could remember all those different movements!!

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 10, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      I’ve got a long way to go Leanne – but I’m WAY better than I was 6 months ago!

  • Reply Debbie February 7, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Min, Congrats on your new linkup! I’m very impressed with Leanne’s Tai chi post, it is something I’m very tempted to try. #mlstl

    • Reply Min February 8, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks Debbie – got my fingers crossed that it will go well. Leanne’s post on Tai Chi has got me wanting to try it now. If only I had the time to try all the things! lol 🙂

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 10, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      Give it a go if you get the chance Deb – I think you’d have fun and a bit of a giggle as well when the wrong foot decides to have a life of its own!

  • Reply Christie Hawkes February 7, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you, Min, for sharing Leanne’s zen post. I follow Leanne regularly and it was fun to see her over here on your blog. I hope your in-person meet up was lovely. How could it not be?

    Congratulations on not giving into your fear, Leanne. This thought-process sounds so much like me. I’m glad you followed through and that you shared it with us. I am doing yoga once a week, but tai chi sounds intriguing. I am concerned with balance and flexibility as I progress towards middle age. ( I just saw a recent article that said 50s is still young! I’m okay with being young and collecting senior citizen perks.)

    • Reply Min February 8, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Christie – It was my pleasure to share Leanne’s post. I’m so grateful she wrote it and participated in my new #ZTT series. Our meet up was loads of fun! It was a lovely long lunch and chat but regardless the time went by far too quickly.

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 10, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      I thought the same thing Christie – if getting a class for $3 was on the cards it meant that being 50+ had even more going for it than I expected! And our in person meet-up was fantastic, I had such a blast meeting the Queensland girls – we talked for hours and probably could have gone on for a few more if everyone hadn’t needed to get back to their real lives!

  • Reply Marya February 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

    I mainly do yoga but I am looking forward to trying tai chi sometime!

    • Reply Min February 13, 2019 at 11:05 am

      I love yoga Marya. I just can’t afford to go to yoga classes on top of my 3 x weekly pilates classes … so hoping to incorporate some in-home practice at some point. Tai chi will be on my radar to try in the future as it looks so peaceful and has so many benefits as we progress into our more mature years.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.