Hey @Billa I wanted to post a follow up to this...
The last couple weeks I've started practicing Tai chi again, and I've noticed a few things I wanted to share. I feel like my original post was dismissive of all practices, and something about it bothered me. While I do think there is wisdom and truth in needing to let go of practices, sometimes we learn more by doing those practices and following it to it's natural destination.
Short history: I've practiced Taijiquan on and off for about 20 years. I've never been a serious student, but I've been serious enough where I've studied with a few high quality teachers, read books and practiced. It was a hobby I enjoyed.
So I picked it back up a couple weeks ago.
From time to time I will practice the form, just for the fun of it. The last time however, I felt a great draw to it. The energy was flowing very strongly, and I felt very present, and in the moment. It seems the spark was reignited, and I decided to practice again. It quickly became a priority of mine. I dug out a few of my old books and DVDs, and started from the ground up, correcting my form and learning new things.
The benefits are there. I've definitely been more mindful and in the present moment. I've felt clearer proprioception (the awareness of my surroundings). I've also slept better and feel I have physically more energy. I'm also in my mid 30's, so any exercise would benefit me for the future. I won't go into the other health benefits of Tai chi, as they are well documented everywhere. Suffice it to say they appeared on Day 1.
Now comes the "drawback"... the practice has been hitting my ego. There's a saying in Taijiquan that you "play Taijiquan" - you're supposed to have fun with it, and not take yourself too seriously. Well I must've forgot that. I immediately was questioning my technique and structure. I emailed my old teachers and asked them a few questions, even looked into taking some classes. After a few days, it seemed I had taken on the burden and baggage of a "new practice" - even though I've been at it for years. Maybe that's what made me take breaks in the past.
What was really happening is my ego was being "hit". I noticed that thoughts of "my kua should be open" - which noticing and correcting is part of the practice - turned into "My kua isn't open, maybe I'm doing this wrong. I should contact my old teacher. Maybe I shouldn't even do this anymore. Could another art be better?" Feelings of self worth, attachment to my self. There's having fun with a hobby, and letting it "get to you." I quickly found my clarity diminishing. I knew I was getting caught on stuff.
Here's the catch though - without the Taijiquan practice to highlight this, I wouldn't have the opportunity to clear it. So for a while I was blaming the practice itself - but in reality, it's just how I am reacting to the practice. And in a way, it is helping me clear my own ego crap. I do plan on continuing to "play tai chi" and seeing what happens with it. Bottom line, and most important - I enjoy it, it's fun... and that's why I do it. I just have to remind myself that.