I would like to explore the world for the best places to do tai chi. Tai chi practice for me is like orienting myself to the cosmos. My being is the center and all that radiates outward into the universe and a conduit is formed for the universe to radiate back into me. On a recent trip to California I was fortunate enough to be able to beach hop for about seven days as I drove down to San Diego from San Francisco for my company’s annual convention. Each morning I hiked on one or two beaches, the second one farther southward than the first, and practice tai chi. What an inspiring thing to do. Perhaps the best place to do tai chi is on a beach with the waves rolling in on a cool morning breeze.
One such place was called Shell Beach, but there were no shells on it, except for mussels caught up in mounds of kelp washed up onshore. This black-sand beach was tucked inside a small cove sheltered by vertical cliffs. A harbor seal was hanging out just the other side of the surf. It disappeared beneath the surface occasionally and popped back a few minutes later.
I did Wu Style Taijiquan form and found myself swaying in unison with the surf. The pace of my motion matched the undulating rise and receding of the surf. Sound and motion inspired me and awakened me more fully.
I needed to spiral to keep my balance in the sand sinking under my feet. Spiraling is what we should all seek to learn in tai chi practice and I delighted at the fact that the beach was teaching me how to do that in such a unique manner. Spiraling in sand … an exquisite sensation.
I have done form on summits in the Rocky Mountains, in the mesas and valleys of Southwest Colorado, in busy, dense cities such as Shanghai and Los Angeles and, of course, San Francisco, in deserts and urban parks. But I think the beach is my favorite, at least for now.
Maybe this is because of the recent trip I took. Maybe I should return for another beach hopping excursion to double check. If you are reading this and have done tai chi on beaches, let me know which beaches. Maybe I’ll go there.