Many people can be nervous about practising in the park on their own, due to self-consciousness. But, really, don't worry - especially in London people ignore you most of the time. This is great, as it means you have space to practise and can be out among the trees enjoying nature, which is the best way to do tai chi.

Normally I like to practise in Hyde Park, when I'm in Central London, but recently I've taken to  practising in Green  Park, as it's on the Jubilee Line back from one of my clients - it has the added advantage of being handy for bookstores and eateries :) Today, I was there practising my stuff, while hordes of people were following the signs to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (gloriously tacky and well worth a visit!). Several hundred people must have been trekking their way along the paths, but each and every one of them ignored me, so I had a really peaceful tai chi session under the large London plane trees, with all the crowds just being part of the background scenery :)

In my 8 years of practising in various parks, I have only been spoken to on a handful of occasions:
  • being asked what is it I'm doing
  • teens coming over and wanting to join in - I welcomed them, but as they fell over just doing the warm up knee-twirling, they made off, saying "respect, man!"
  • teens shouting something from a distance - I usually ignore anyone unless they are clearly audible, when a smile and a laugh seems to defuse anything.
  • dogs - most dogs leave you alone, but a few want to do it along with you, and a few others bark wildly. With the wild barkers I just stop and stand still, checking my 6 posture essentials, giving them time to calm down, or time for their owners to appear.

On one holiday, I had just arrived in Cologne, after hours on the Eurostar, so I needed to move around to recover. Having dumped my stuff in the hotel, I went to the nearest park, which was absolutely jam-packed with people enjoying the sun and so forth. Finally I found a tiny patch of grass that wasn't occupied and started doing my tai chi exercises and form... Everyone resolutely ignored me, just like in London!

About the only times I had people come up to me and chat on a regular basis, were when I was practising early morning every day in the same spot, on hols. The regular joggers, alpine walkers, dog walkers, cyclists, etc, at first ignored me, but after the first few days, they all started exchanging nods and greetings.

Be encouraged to take the plunge - and enjoy practising among the tall trees in the park!