Tai Chi doesn’t begin with the premise that there is “something wrong” that needs to be “fixed, sculpted, lost, or burned off.” It is a very accepting exercise, and helps us remember we are already perfect … but our ability to get better is limitless. Everyone is qualified to do Tai Chi. You don’t have to look good in tights or Spandex to do Tai Chi, although if you do Tai Chi enough, you’ll look pretty good in whatever you like to wear.
Tai Chi and QiGong are for anybody who is dealing with stress. In other words—everybody. Anybody can do Tai Chi. If you’ve picked up a book on Tai Chi, you’ve probably experienced the acute stress of imagining yourself in some of those incredible (seemingly impossible) positions the Tai Chi models pose in for the photos. Relax. Those people are models. Most people do Tai Chi just the way you will do it. Easily and effortlessly. Although Tai Chi was one of the original martial arts, it is now practiced all over the world as a relaxation technique by people of all ages in the same shape you are in, and sometimes in even worse shape.
When you begin an exercise class, you may have the illusion that everybody other than you “belongs” there, and that they are all “good” at it. You will find that everybody goes through the same trials and tribulations. As you lighten up on yourself, you’ll see struggling, growing, and healing are everywhere. Breathe and enjoy; you are among friends.
When you first begin practicing Tai Chi out in the backyard or in your local park, people may stare. Before long, your unique practice of Tai Chi becomes part of the rich texture of the neighborhood, and if you move away, they will miss you. Just as Tai Chi adds to your personal internal charm, your practice adds to the charm of your community.