Readers, I’m writing this on my way back from a much needed vacation. I spent a week home on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, home of lobsters and dulse and a community of kind, down-to-Earth individuals (half of whom are probably related to me in one way or another). My trips always fall either at Christmas time, or during August (which means lots of birthdays in our family), so it almost always becomes a week of feasting on homemade bread and baked goods.
(I think I left my dietary willpower back in Halifax? Except that I don’t have any…)
BUT I staved off the vacation belly, and hopefully preserved a shred of insulin sensitivity, by constantly staying on the move. It quickly becomes apparent that, in the absence of other tasks begging my attention, that I default to movement exploration. It’s like my ‘idle’ mode.
My Taiji teacher Yau Sun Tong came to visit the island for a few days. He even joined us at my parents’ home for dinner a couple times, and they were absolutely enchanted with his stories and the photos from his travels. The whole thing was perfectly bizarre, as this is a very different scenario from the time I usually spend with him, but was also very enjoyable. He even spent some time teaching my dear Mother key acupressure techniques to help with her back pain, and taught her a little Taiji in the living room!
Many beaches on Grand Manan were blessed with a glimpse of some very good Taiji this past week. Maybe for the first time?
There were many more opportunities for training outside of Taiji as well. My parents’ yard is well-equipped with a few key features to meet my movement needs. There were a few little hills from which I could continue my assault against tight calves and hamstrings (though I had to negotiate territory with the ant colonies that live there). There are a few young maple trees whose low branches will support my weight, but still allow me to keep my feet on the ground for some beginner hanging work.
I had a nice rotation going moving between posterior chain stretching, hanging, and squatting. Rest one, work another. It was an easy way to pack a lot of quality movement into a short window of time.
I even picked up Dad’s garden hoe a few times for some upper body strength work. Maybe it’s all the Taiji I’ve been doing, but I have a growing respect for strength training methods like Indian club swinging. I mean, I’ve been hearing about how great that sort of thing is for years, but never given it any serious practice. I think that between that kind of three-dimensional open chain work and good closed chain practices like gymnastics ring training, hanging, and hand balancing you could develop some very legitimate upper body movement capacity that would apply to a broad range of activities.
Probably the most movement fun I had during the week was the Rotary Mud Run! Apparently even Grand Manan is getting on the obstacle course race scene. I’ve never done one before, so it was a good opportunity to try the event on the island first. It was clear that the organizers put a ton of work into the course (big thanks to the Benson family and all the others who made it happen!), and the race was a blast. That mud was pretty stinky though…
Now it’s time to try and shift my psyche back into work mode, though I hope I can cruise on this relaxation high for a while. It’s been a good reset, but it’s time to return to healing hurts and doing my best to brainwash others into enjoying movement rich lives.
But, like, if I could just stay home and train all day I probably would. But I would let you come over and practice and learn, if you wanted. So it’s not totally selfish, right? RIGHT?