Newsletter #88 - December 2008
-- The many benefits of teaching seated Tai Chi for Arthritis, Shelia Rae
Shelia Rae gives a personal account of her experiences teaching TCA in “The many Benefits of Teaching Seated TCA”.
A Tai Chi Research Study at the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre using Dr. Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis form to determine the Effects and Benefits of practicing the form Seated, Shelia Rae.
- Troyce Thome shares her insprirational poem "Rhonda's Smile”.
- Kim Jum Joo ‘s study on the “Effect of Taijiquan Exercise on General Health-Related Quality of Life Instrument in Ataxia Patients”.
- Chris, Bill, and Gladys: Three scholarship winners for the January 2009 one-week workshop in Sydney. Read what they have to say.
- Our regular contributor Tony Garcia who has overcome his own chronic condition devised different tips to help people manage their life better.
Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, M.D.
The Many Benefits of Teaching Seated TCA
Shelia Rae, Master Trainer, Memphis, TN, USA
Let me share my story as one example of that theory…
I have been teaching at a beautiful retirement community since 1999, the year I was certified by Dr. Lam as an instructor in the Tai Chi for Arthritis Program. At that time, Dr Lam was teaching all the TCA certification workshops, and he was inspiring! I left the training confident in being able to include TCA into my already on-going qigong classes.
My class at the retirement home could now enjoy a Tai Chi form as well as Tai Chi walking to improve balance while gaining muscle strength and flexibility, and improving coordination, and focus. The qigong class had given a solid foundation in posture, breath and intention, and the transition to Tai Chi was easy and relaxing, but more challenging than the follow along qigong movements. Although, we still did qigong, the sets were more like warm-ups and the warm-ups were more like qigong, as we continued to learn TCA. This group, ages starting at 80 when they learned the entire TCA set, would accompany me to demonstrate at events. At the Arthritis Foundation, World Tai Chi Day, Hospitals and re-hab centres, their bus would pull up, and the ‘over 80’ crowd would disembark with canes, a few on walkers, which they would put aside to join me in a demonstration that would WOW the crowd. Then they would pick up their canes and use their walkers to get back to the bus that took them back to the retirement community.
We did this for a few years; my 80 yr olds started turning 90 – and some students were out for a few classes, some we missed for months as hospitalizations, and bouts with other afflictions of old age interfered with their weekly class. But no matter what; a broken ankle, a heart attack, whatever kept them away for a time, they came back. And when some returned they needed to sit down for part of the class. I had always taught this class with chairs beside each participant, and had always encouraged anyone who needed to sit down, to do so; but no one ever did for the first few years; then one by one more of the chairs became occupied until one day I looked out and the whole class was sitting down – I sat down too. And that’s when I ‘accidently’ started teaching TCA in the chair. The universe provided me with the circumstances to explore teaching seated TCA, and it has opened up endless possibilities and improved my own Tai Chi. It has given the students such pleasure and happiness in knowing that they will be able to continue their beloved Tai Chi class well into their ninth decade.
We are learning something new together, these 90yr olds and I. When seated we are all a little more relaxed and focused on the coordination of movement of the arms and the legs, the shoulder and the hip, the knee and the elbow, the wrist and the ankle. We can feel, when we push down into the floor with the ball of the foot, how it engages the knee, and the hip joint, while building thigh muscles. We can spend more time on watching our hands manifest the movements, than worrying about staying upright on our feet. We still do a little Tai Chi walking, but now all Tai Chi at this on-going class is done seated - and we’re getting more and more new students joining the class as word spread about how strong you feel doing Tai Chi seated, and how Tai Chi improves balance, while sitting in a chair. Of course, that means sitting in a chair properly. When we sit up away from the back of the chair, it helps to build core strength, and it gives the abdomen more room to expand outward when taking a deep breath.
There are many benefits of teaching Seated TCA, some which I’ve sighted, but this tale of a student sighting might be even more insightful : One day a lady loudly exclaimed “Look at my Hands, you can see my QI !!
By being more relaxed, the benefits are more profound. I feel my Qi, too, and know that teaching Seated TCA, makes it a possibility for me to teach Tai Chi well into my 90s!
It has been a learning, evolving, truly inspirational journey into the many uses for TCA.
Shelia Rae, Master Trainer, Memphis, TN, USA
Dr. Engle’s current research with Associate Professor Dr.Faulkner occurred in assisted living facilities in Memphis with focus on Tai Chi and the benefits to frail older adults. The co-researcher’s goals are to study Tai Chi as a fall prevention program and to evaluate the effectiveness of a sitting Tai Chi program for frail, older adults who cannot stand. “A few nursing homes have Tai Chi instruction for their patients, but it’s not part of routine care,” said Dr. Engle, “yet the health benefits of Tai Chi for older adults are well documented.” Tai Chi has been shown to help joint pain, balance, muscle strength, depression, insomnia, the immune system and cardiac rehabilitation. “It’s one of the few exercise programs one can do throughout life and adapt as one grows older, “, she noted.
Breast Cancer Survivor
Single Mother of Two
She comes to the Instructors Training
Looking for an Exercise Program
To Share with the Patients at the Hospital
Where she Works
Immediately I can see
Tai Chi Resonates with Her Inner Self
She is Calm and Absorbing
I can See Tai Chi Movements
Opening Passages Ways in her Body, Mind and Spirit
During the Final Demonstration
She Radiates such Inner Calm, Joy and Presence
With a Glow that comes from the Inside
And Shines on Her Face
It Permeates the Room
Everyone Can Feel It
There are light tears in the eyes of those around me
And in my Own
After the Demonstration
I know I need to say something
I am afraid my Voice will Break
I have just Witnessed Such Beauty!
How Can I Begin to Tell You
How Much this Moment has Affected Me?
After All of the Plane Rides, All the Cities, All the Travel, All the Teaching
This Moment, This Smile has Warmed my Inner Soul
It Will Carry Me Through Out the Rest of My Journeys
Knowing that the Gift of Tai Chi
Can Awaken Such Inner Beauty
Just Waiting to Be Touched
Thank You Rhonda
Kim Jum Joo, graduate student of Monica Cho, Master Trainer and a gastroenterologist, Seoul, Korea
This gratefully accepted scholarship will enable me to attend a course with the intention of learning both intently, and by absorbing more of Tai Chi movement qualities by working with skilled participants.
Tai Chi patterns of movement always encourage me to work towards movements with "integrity of coordination". They flow yet they have clear direction; they a soft but strong. The invaluable movement qualities assist my focus of work with people who attend Tai Chi for many different reasons, with many different challenges, and all learning styles.
Tai Chi moves are also a well grounded support for my work in other fields of my physiotherapy practice.
The more I am able to absorb the Tai Chi experience and "integrity of coordination", the more I am able to let the forms influence many aspects of work and everyday patterns of movement for myself and others.
I take this opportunity to thank you and the workshop team for all you have done to help me, and of course the Tai Chi Family, may I also make a special thankyou to Anna and the selection panel for the work they have all endured. I feel honoured to have been selected for the 2009 workshop scholarship, and this offers a wonderful chance for my students and me to benefit.
I am really excited and honoured to win this sponsorship.
Confidently, I see this health program to be of great benefit for society as a whole.
Most of the country is growing with old age society. People are living in a fast pace and tense lifestyle. Technology has made our lifestyle so convenient that most of us have also been deprived of even simple daily exercise. We can see that the health of people is deteriorating.
With this great Tai Chi for Health Program where it is simple, effective and safe, it will definitely contribute positively to the health of the people. It is a very good program for gracious aging and it fits well with the new age society.
Tony Garcia, Senior Trainer, Miami, Fl. USA
If using a cane or a walker, remain holding on with a firm grip.
1. Initialize a correct posture and relax the knees.
2. Separate the distance between legs to about shoulder width.
3. Head should be facing forward and expand your vision to focus on all forward and downward surroundings; try not to focus on one object for a continued length of time.
4. Begin to slowly transfer the weight as you raise one heel off the ground (relax the knees slightly).
5. Slowly raise the knee and place the heel. Once the heel is placed make sure you have the balance needed to continue. Shoulder distance between both feet, assuring heel does not pass the toes of the opposite foot.
6. Place the foot completely down and maintain your weight on your rear leg. (relax the knees slightly and make sure you feel the floor beneath your foot)
7. A correct posture will help maintain your balance.
8. Shift the weight slightly forward and place the other heel down.
9. Repeat the move with the opposite foot.
1. Repeat steps 1 - 4.
2. Step backward by placing your toes first followed by heel.
3. Maintain weight on front leg until heel touches the ground.
4. Slowly shift your weight back to rear leg while at the same time raising the toes from your front leg up (relax the knees).
5. Step back and repeat steps 2-4.
6. If you feel there is vertigo or a problem with your health, sit and call for assistance.
by Dr. Bob McBrien
*You get a turkey from a farm. Then you cook it on your stove. Put salt and gravy on it. Cook it for 7 minutes. Then you eat it with a fork
*I get a turkey at the store. You also cook it. Put cheese on it, tomatoes and also cheese again. That's it! Cook it in the oven for 10 minutes.
*You get your turkey from a turkey store. Cut it up. Cook it in the oven for 20 minutes. You can put steak sauce on it. You can eat it with potatoes and green beans and cauliflower.
*I get it at a farm. Cook it on a pan. I put honey and mustard on it and it tastes good. Cook it for 2 hours. No, I think 2 minutes. I eat it with cucumbers.
*Get the turkey from the store. Put pineapple on it and then put it in the oven. Then when the bell rings take it out and then eat the turkey.
*Put it in the oven and cook it for a long time. The oven is hot. You eat it with a fork and with a banana. Then you can go to your room and watch television.
May the holiday season with special times for family and friends bring you laughter, joy and radiant health.
Warning: Dr. Lam does not necessarily endorse the opinion of other authors. Before practicing any program featured in this newsletter, please check with your physician or therapist. The authors and anyone involved in the production of this newsletter will not be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any injury which may arise as a result of following the instructions given in this newsletter.