Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery
dr_pretentious

Golden Pheasant Feathers Nest

Back in February, when I first told my Tai Chi teacher I was pregnant, I had no idea how long I'd be able to keep practicing the forms. "Oh," she said, "one of our students kept it up until the day she went into labor. Her water broke right here, while she was doing her Qi Gong exercises. This studio has produced lots of Tai Chi babies." Since I'm a slow learner at Tai Chi, and I'm resigned to being a slow learner at it indefinitely, I assumed I was also not that serious a student--that I'd bail out as soon as I reached that pinched, uncomfortable stage I'd seen people hit at the start of the third trimester. But here I am, still at it. Who knew?

There are moves I can't even attempt anymore. Anything that involves standing on one foot is right out--in one day, the day the baby dropped into his current position, I went from having a consistently good Golden Pheasant Stands On One Leg to having a somewhat comical Golden Pheasant Topples Over Sideways. All my kicks, which I'd been making real progress on, are gone. Now that my ligaments are loosening for the birth, my Single Whip Turn is unsustainably twisty in the knees, and I have to be careful not to pick up habits that will injure me if I still have them when my ligaments tighten back up.

At least I can still do Repel the Monkey. After the year and a half it took me to unlearn my big mistake and get that move right, I'd have been so annoyed at the universe if that had been one of the moves I lost. If any monkeys try to beset the baby, I'll be ready for them.

I also seem to have kept my progress at all the moves with tiger-related names. What is it with Tai Chi and tigers? I have to imagine the old Taoist masters hanging out over tea saying to each other, "How can we be sure the art really works? I know! We'll go hiking in the mountains, antagonize some tigers, and see if we get home alive." Anyhow, pregnancy notwithstanding, I can still Ride the Tiger, Strike the Tiger to the Left, Strike the Tiger to the Right, and Bend the Bow and Shoot the Tiger. Woe betide any tigers who venture menacingly into my son's nursery! (Friendly tigers, however, will be greeted with Embrace the Tiger and Return to the Mountain.)
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