Getting back to sleep? Can’t sleep? Have you ever thought of trying Tai Chi?
There are times when it seems impossible to get a good night’s sleep. Either you are upset about something, or angry, or maybe you’re anxious about something due to happen soon, an event where you will have to rise to a challenge, like a forthcoming theatrical or musical performance. Or perhaps you’re excited at the prospect of something happening tomorrow.
There are many things that can keep us awake when we’d rather be asleep. Even when you are physically exhausted, it can seem as if someone forgot to switch off the adrenalin supply to your brain and your mind just will not switch off.
Creative people very often get their best ideas in the middle of the night. I certainly do, and even if I get up and write them down, I sometimes find it hard to go back to sleep. But if I do manage to sleep, all too often it only happens an hour before it’s time to get up. Too late!
Net result – the next day I can’t stop yawning.
Meditation usually works well, but a couple of years ago I discovered something else that works for me every time. Maybe it will work for you too. It’s Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is actually a martial art that originated in China. One learns various moves and once you’ve got the hang of them you execute them in a particular sequence that has been carefully and skilfully devised by a Chinese Tai Chi master. A complete sequence is called a form and there are long forms and short forms.
The movements are very slow and gentle and seem, in this country, to appeal mainly to people of a certain age who can’t cope with aerobics or gym workouts any more. It seems especially beneficial to people who have aches and pains – as long as you approach it sensibly. It may feel as if nothing much is happening but after a while the subtle beneficial effects can creep up on you, when you notice you are more supple and generally better toned.
But more importantly in this context, better balanced in your mind as well as your body, less stressed, and empowered to cope with anything that life throws at you without flapping. I found it became much easier to take in my stride the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as it were.
After some weeks of practice and memorising the moves, you will improve until eventually you can do at least the short form in about three to four minutes at home on your own without the teacher.
Sometimes I have to get up in the night to go to the loo, and if I’m feeling agitated in any way I go through the short form I was taught, at least once – in the bathroom, in the darkness – and then as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m away with the fairies.
It seems to work for me every time. If you have a similar problem, why not give it a try? There are many other benefits too, of course.
Park Road Pool and Fitness in Crouch End has an excellent class. That’s where I learned.