Thursday, October 15, 2015

THE FEATHER-ACT







Pic.: Chandrasekhar Varier


Last week, I had watched the English movie – ‘The Walk’ and liked it immensely. (I had even blogged on it a day later). Then, in our Tai Chi class, on the following Sunday, I spoke about the movie to everyone I met there. At the start of every Tai Chi class, (after the initial ‘Empty your Mind’ meditative exercise, we go for a ‘Tai Chi walk’. In this walk, we bring our focus to what our teacher calls – tanteen’ – the spot some two inches below our navel… shift our full weight on the left foot, gently and slowly lift our right foot… and land it; then, we shift our full weight on the right foot, gently and slowly lift our left foot… and land it… as slowly and as gently as possible… all the while feeling the inflow and outflow of our breath… bringing back our focus to the tanteen… trying to close our eyes (I am not able to do it still!)… and, then, walk backward the same way…

When you read it, it might sound so simple. But, then, ‘doing is believing’… Please do it to believe how easy or how tough it is!
It sounds so easy, because, at worst, we might lose our concentration, our balance, and fall… But, that’s fun… we might look silly or stupid… but, we know we are safe, there is no danger there.

So, last Sunday, I was trying to relate the two walks – our simple Tai Chi walk and Philippe Petit’s legendary wire-walk between the two WTC Towers in 1974. “We cannot even complete our 20-25-foot Tai Chi walk on this flat  ground without losing our balance, and imagine someone doing it in the up there in the sky without any safety device!” I was trying to make my point.

Hazel told us about Nik Wallenda, who had performed tightrope-walk across the Niagara Falls at night… And, when I heard it from Hazel, I had not heard about the man named Nic and his Niagara Falls feat…
Walking across the Niagara Falls (against the deafening roar of the falls) and, that, too, in the darkness of the night, seemed a thousand times more dangerous than Philippe’s walk between the Twin Towers of NYC!

Just then, Abha, our senior Tai Chi student/teacher, and an extremely zestful soul, told us about Miyoko Shida Rigolo, the Japanese dancer, and her mystic performance - ‘Sanddorn-Balance’.

Today, Abha had shared with some of us the mesmerizing video. Here it is:

 

 



 

 

 

 

Till I had watched the movie, ‘The Walk’, I did not know who Philippe Petit was and about his wire-walk between the Twin Towers of NYC…

 

Till I had heard it from my friend, Hazel, I did not know who Nik Wallenda was and about his breathtaking tightrope-walk across Niagara Falls in the night…

 

Similarly, till I had learnt it from dear Abha – and, watched the video today – I did not know who Miyoko Shida was and about her scintillating feather-balancing performance…

 

So, what is the take-home from all this?

 

“Stop watching others as you do the Form,” Abha had advised me on last Sunday, “Watch only your own breath… without any judgment!”

 

 

I am still not out of Miyoko Shida’s spell – ‘THE FEATHER ACT’!


 

 

GERALD D’CUNHA

  


 

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