Flow Motion

CJ McPhee
Year Released: 1997

Categories: Tai Chi / Qigong

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The best way to describe this tape is that I feel like I'm moving in slow motion. I had to do it a couple of times to slow down to the right tempo, but now I move more slowly than the class at times. It was filmed in Hawaii, at sunset no less. The music is instrumental and gently stays in time with the movements. The class is a mix of men and women. It is also mixed by ethnicity, with several Hawaiian/Asian members. I use this tape for stretching and relaxation. I don't know anything about tai chi, so I can't comment on the technical aspect of the tape. Unlike the other tai chi tapes I've seen, this tape consists of doing the movements immediately without a detailed explanation of principles or philosophy. I just want to stretch and relax and not think about what which way my chi is flowing or what my yin and yang are doing.

The tape consists of two separate sections, both about 15 minutes long. They appear to be compilations from the PBS series "Tai Chi in Paradise." There is a "warm up" at the beginning of each, but it is not a warm up like an aerobics video. It just seems to be part of the overall workout. The main part of the tape consists of doing various tai chi movements such as Crane Spreads Wings, Parting the Horse's Mane, and Embrace the Moon, using mostly upper body movements. Weight is simply transferred from one leg to the other. At the end of each section, there is one movement that actively involves the legs also and requires some balance. Like most tapes, I had to do each section a few times to become adept at the movements. The "choreography" has the arms performing the while weight is shifting from one leg to another. At the beginning of the tape, C. J. comments that the tape can be done while sitting, making it appropriate for people in a wheelchair or unable to stand due to an injury, pregnancy, etc.

This is a wonderful tape to do at the end of a stressful day or after a workout. I find it particularly useful as an upper body stretching tape after doing weight training. It seems to do more for my upper body than the typical stretching tapes, which seem to focus on the legs. I hope that another compilation is released, just like the Firm!

Instructor Comments:
C. J. McPhee is an excellent instructor. The cueing and descriptions are good and she is very supportive. She comments several times about "don't worry if you can't do it right the first time, just keep on moving." Although she does use a few technical phrases, such as da tien, she quickly explains them. Although David Dorian Ross is part of the class, C. J. gives the only instruction.

Donna Bolt