Today is the six-month anniversary of a morning routine I began in a tiny apartment in Paris last May. I have done it every day without fail: in people’s guest rooms, in a log cabin on the Olympic Peninsula, in a Reno hotel room looking out over neon lights, and in my home in South Bend.* You can do it anywhere.
I have lived for more than five decades and have tried all kinds of exercise routines in my life—jogging, aerobics, gym machines—yet I have never been able to stick to a routine this long. Nor have I ever felt so good, consistently, over such a long period of time. So I think there’s something special about it.
Here it is, with warm wishes for good health—in mind and body—to all.
- Get up two and a half hours before departure time. (For a 7:30 departure, get up at 5:00).
- Enjoy your favorite warm beverage and a light breakfast (I have cappuccino with two shots of espresso and 2% milk, and a sliced banana in plain yogurt)
- Choose a pretty window and pull back the curtain. If you’re rushed, you can enjoy your breakfast while doing this. Stand in front of the window, with your heels touching, knees flexible, and feet set at a 90 degree angle. Hold that position for 30 minutes, with head up, eyes roaming around, ears listening, and shoulders relaxed. The hands and arms can cup each other, hang loose, or stretch. It is important to hold the pelvic basin tucked underneath your torso, so that the spine is straight (as if you were suspended from the ceiling with a silver chain).
- Walk around a little to stretch out your legs. Put on cooler clothes.
- Begin one-hour exercise session: a. Do five deep knee squats, as slowly as possible, and hold the deep squat for a count of five seconds, each time. Hands are pressed against each other in a prayerful position, back is straight, pelvis pulled in. b. Do twenty push-ups with legs tightly balanced on toes (man-style). c. Walk around a little, breathe, have a sip of water. d. Repeat a. and b.
- Do a full session of Yang long style T’ai chi! Follow the video of Master Peng’s T’ai chi class, all sessions 1 – 9.
- Take a shower and get dressed, including flat shoes or boots (no high heels).
- Get your work in order and step out to meet the world, knowing you have the power to feel strong, balanced and calm, all day long!
*According to Master Peng, you can take a day off from T’ai chi once a week. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.