The Dragon Serves Tea exercise is a part of our warm up. Here is a short video of Dr. Painter practicing a variation of it.
That this is a variation is very important to note because what you see here in this video is not exactly what we practice in the classes. There, we have a formal way of doing the exercise which is focused on the mechanics and smooth flowing motion. Is this latter aspect that was the focus of the classes this week.
Serving Tea is essentially a movement in which the palms are always facing up and one moves in circular patterns. Easy to say!! This week the classes played with…..playing. The spiraling movements of this exercise are ideal for slowly learning how to move freely. The movements start with large arcs which are slowly made smaller as the students were shown how to get this working.
Yes, this is difficult! So the class is kept light and fun, with that emphasis on being playful with the movements. This is important because it is that sense of free play that allows one to be loose enough to create the movements on the spot.
We come to internal arts with all kinds of patterns imprinted on our mindbody. There are as many patterns as there are people so it’s a complex process. But generating new neurological patterns with the circular, continuous movement of Baguazhang is incredibly strengthening since it teaches the mind new ways to pattern itself.
Dragon Serving Tea is an amazing exercise for working with patterns and teaching oneself to move and feel in whole new ways.