Newsletter #65 - January 2007
In this issue:
-- From me to you, by Dr Lam
-- A miracle? No, we say, 'It’s the tai chi practice', by John Morella
-- ‘Waving hands’ with a vacuum cleaner, by LeeAnn Tuesca, Senior Trainer
-- Tai chi demonstrated at the Miami-Dade Senior Games Celebration of Athletes
-- Isn’t It Fun? A poem about tai chi by Doris Johnson
-- A good laugh promotes better health, by Dr Bob McBrien
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. From all of us at Tai Chi Productions we would like to wish you a happy and healthy 2007.
The first international Tai Chi for Health Conference was such a great success that I believe it will prove to have been a significant milestone in the future of tai chi for health. The results of many research studies and other useful papers were presented, along with a range of learning workshops. Most participants left the conference inspired by what they’d seen and learned and having made many new contacts.Three delegates from the same family attended the conference, Elva, Denis and Zoe Arthy from Queensland, Australia, and afterwards gave me these comments about it: ‘We would like to acknowledge the outstanding success of the first ever international Tai Chi for Health Conference, held in Korea. Everything was brilliant, especially the warmth and generosity of spirit of our Korean colleagues. This has indeed been an historical event and a paradigm shift in the cosmological calendar of Tai Chi for Health in the modern era…’ I’ll be publishing a selection of articles about the conference in the newsletter, starting next month.
Closing soon – our ‘Biggest spread of ages in a class’ competition
Entries for our competition to find out the biggest spread of ages within one tai chi class close 31 January 2007. All you have to do to win a prize valued at more than AU$100 is send in a photo and story about your special students. You can win autographed copies of my two new books ‘Teaching Tai Chi Effectively’ and ‘Tai Chi for Beginners and the 24 Forms’, and the DVD of ‘Tai Chi for Older Adults’ and ‘Tai Chi 4 Kidz’ by emailing your story and photo to me at [email protected]. Don’t forget to include your signed approval for me to use the photos and story in my newsletter.
In this month’s newsletter:
John Morella tells us about the fabulous improvement in his wife Elisa’s health that has come about through regular tai chi practice. When he took her to her first class he had to help her into the hall and she could only watch. Elisa is now mobile, active, energetic and strong. She is without pain and no longer takes medication.
LeeAnn Tuesca, an occupational therapist and Senior Trainer, was running out of time to do her chores AND her tai chi, so she decided that if tai chi can be modified to do in an office cubicle, on an airplane or in a wheelchair, she should be able to modify it to do while she was vacuuming. Not only was it invigorating, she reports, but also the carpet was cleaner that it had been in a long time. What a revolutionary way to vacuum!
Jef Morris sent in this photo and story about Tony Garcia’s group of tai chi students from the North Shore Youth Center Senior Program in Miami-Dade County, USA, who gave a tai chi demonstration as part of the festivities of the inaugural Miami-Dade Senior Games Celebration of Athletes in November 2006.
Doris Johnson from Christchurch New Zealand has sent us a poem she has written about learning tai chi. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and identify with some of her feelings!
- As always we finish with some humor from Dr Bob McBrien, who says, to be healthy, we need to laugh every day. Sometimes life brings you a joke, other times you have to create your own fun. Have a good laugh (or groan) with these top 7 winners in an International Pun Contest.
Book review of the month
This month’s book review is by Pam Kircher, MD and Master Trainer and is of my recent book ‘Teaching Tai Chi Effectively’. Pam says:
‘Teaching Tai Chi Effectively is not only an extension of Dr Paul Lam's Tai Chi for Health instructor workshops, but it is also a handbook for deepening one's personal practice of tai chi. From a teacher's perspective, it provides practical suggestions for issues that commonly arise in teaching. It is an invaluable aid to the practicalities of teaching that are not directly related to teaching the form itself. I found it useful not only as a tai chi instructor, but also in other areas of my life where I serve as a teacher or mentor.
'As to the deepening of one's own tai chi practice, this book introduces principles and concepts beyond those taught at the workshops in order to increase the benefits and enjoyment of tai chi.
'I enthusiastically recommend this book to all tai chi instructors as a guide to enhancing their teaching skills. I further recommend it to all tai chi practitioners as a way to enhance their personal practice of tai chi.'
If you’ve recently read a book that you would like to recommend to other tai chi enthusiasts and that has some relevance to tai chi, please send your review to me at [email protected].
This month’s special offer
This month, when you buy a ‘Tai Chi for Beginners’ DVD, you’ll get a Tai Chi Music CD (RRP: US$15.95) free of charge. ‘Tai Chi for Beginners’ is an innovative set of six easy steps that makes it easy and enjoyable for beginners to learn tai chi. It is available in six languages - English, Chinese, French, Spanish, German and Italian. The Tai Chi Music CD features four beautiful pieces of music especially composed to enhance Tai Chi practice and performance.
For more information about these products and to order your copy, go to the online shop. Please quote SP0107 in the comments section to get your free CD.
Product review of the month
The most helpful product review this month comes from Pat Lawson of Florida, USA. Pat said this about the book, Tai Chi for Beginners and the 24 Forms:
‘Tai Chi For Beginners and the 24 Forms is a beautiful layer cake for tai chi practitioners of all levels. Dr. Lam and Nancy Kaye have layered clear explanations of the essential principles and the history of tai chi with detailed directions of both the beginner set and the Yang 24 Competition set; exploration of depth and guidance for growth is the filling that holds it together. Fabulous photography including shots from all over the world is the icing on the cake!
'This is a must-have handbook for tai chi players.’
You can read Pat’s full review in the Forum.
Thanks Pat for your review. We would like to send you a tai chi music CD for being our winner. Please email us at [email protected] and give us your postal address.
Enter your review of any of my products in the Forum on my website and you will have a chance to win a tai chi music CD too.
March 24-25, 2007, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
’Explore the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis’
’Therapeutic Tai Chi for Physical Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapy Professionals’
You can enrol for these workshops and find out about other Tai Chi for Health workshops conducted around the world by me or my master trainers on the workshop calendar page on the website.
Paul Lam, M.D.
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Rosemary Palmer, Master Trainer and Principal Teacher of the Moving Meditation School of Tai Chi and Qigong, in South Australia, sent us this article by John Morella, written for the school’s newsletter. John and Elisa's teacher with the school is Yvonne Koster and Elisa also trains with Rosemary for her teaching skills and to improve her form. Yvonne however has been their source of encouragement from the beginning.
My wife Elisa started tai chi with the Moving Meditation School in South Australia four years ago. I took her to tai chi because I had read that it wouldn’t be long before she would need to have a wheelchair to get around, as she could hardly stand up at this stage.
When I took her to the first class I had to help her into the hall and she watched only. She enjoyed it and the next week we went back. Although Elisa couldn’t stand up she tried to do a few movements with her upper body. She was advised by her teacher to keep all movements well within her comfort range and not over-do it.
Elisa practised as best she could every day: sometimes there would be pain but she still kept trying. After six months her mobility had improved so much her rheumatologist was amazed and told her to keep up with the tai chi. After eighteen long months Elisa was almost back to normal and four months later all the pain had gone.
Elisa is now mobile, active, energetic and strong. She is without pain and no longer takes medication. I started to think perhaps this tai chi would keep me fit too, as I am getting older and I want to be healthy and fit.
Elisa showed me the way because of her recovery, so I joined the tai chi class as well. We now practise every day and never miss. It is most important to keep practising. We are both fit now and full of energy and enjoying life. Tai Chi keeps us fit, strong and healthy. Our favourite saying is: 'We will practise forever and never give up'.Elisa’s specialist told her it was a miracle, but we say 'No, it’s the Tai Chi practice'.
Note by Rosemary Palmer
At the beginning, with Elisa’s health, the only possible sequence of tai chi was Dr Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis. Elisa started learning Tai Chi for Arthritis and improved so much that she continued to learn other forms, including a slightly modified 42 Combined Competition Form. Elisa is now training as an Assistant Teacher with our school and is a great inspiration to other students and a shining example of what can be achieved with regular practice, taking responsibility for your own health and wellbeing and having a qualified teacher to advise the best form.
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Oh my. It was time to vacuum the living room, again. I just did it a few days ago. Afterward, my back hurt and I was worn out for the rest of the day. This was my day off work and I had so many things I wanted to do. Vacuum, laundry, errands, tai chi and have a little time to relax. I decided I’d go ahead and vacuum first and get it over with.
As I was vacuuming, I was thinking that I just wasn’t going to have enough time to do all the things I planned so I was wondering what I could put off for another time.
I had to run my errands; my family needed some essentials. Not a stitch of clean clothes in the house; laundry had to be done. I was already vacuuming. My back was starting to hurt again and my arm was getting tired from all the pushing. I was already tired and the day had just begun.
Well, that left tai chi. Do I really have to sacrifice that today? I don’t really want to skip it. I feel so much better afterwards and everyone knows the benefits of regular practice. Then it occurred to me. Dr Lam has a video called 'Tai Chi Anywhere'. Anywhere certainly has a broad definition. Maybe if tai chi can be modified to do in an office cubicle, on an airplane and in a wheelchair, I can do it WHILE I’m vacuuming! OK. I’ll try it.
I place my feet in a bow stance, bend my knees, sink my weight. I’m feeling pretty stable now. I’m holding the vacuum cord with my left hand and the vacuum cleaner handle in my right hand. I shift my weight to my right foot, being mindful of initiating the movement from my center of force, the dantien, and allow the weight shift to push the vacuum rather than my arm solely pushing it. WOW! That seemed so much easier. I’ll do it again. I shift my weight to my left leg and allow my center of force to 'encourage' the vacuum cleaner to pull back! It worked smoothly and my back didn’t hurt.
The weight shifting reminded me of the movement Waving Hands in the Clouds. So I tried to make my vacuuming look more like this movement. I couldn’t wave my hands very effectively because of having to hold the vacuum cord and having to vary the direction of the vacuum so that I didn’t clean just one spot on the rug. But it was OK to modify the movement. I was still cautious of my knee position, focused on my weight shift and initiated movement from my dantien. Instead of pushing and pulling the vacuum forward and back, at right angles with my body, I moved the vacuum more parallel to my body so as to mimic a little more closely the Waving Hands in the Clouds arm directions. This was so much more effortless.
I tried switching the vacuum from my right hand to my left and the cleaning was just as effective. I found that vacuuming this way automatically slowed me down. I knew that if I vacuumed too quickly the dirt wouldn’t get picked up as well so I had to make my weight shifting slower and with it came more control.
I did this for a good twenty minutes and some unexpected things happened when I was done. My back didn’t hurt. It actually felt looser and more relaxed. My arms didn’t hurt from the weight of pushing the vacuum with a full bag. And I wasn’t exhausted. In fact, I was actually invigorated. And to top it off, the carpet was cleaner that it had been in a long time. What a revolutionary way to vacuum!
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Jef Morris sent in this photo and story by Suzy Trutie about Tony Garcia’s group of tai chi students from the North Shore Youth Center Senior Program in Miami-Dade County, USA, who gave a tai chi demonstration as part of the festivities of the inaugural Miami-Dade Senior Games Celebration of Athletes in November, 2006.
The Miami-Dade Senior Games are organized by the Miami-Dade Sports Commission and Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department. The Miami-Dade Senior Games features competition in more than a dozen sports from archery to swimming for athletes 50 and older. It serves as a qualifying event for the Florida Senior Games, which feeds into the National Senior Games. An estimated 1,000 athletes competed in the 2006 Miami-Dade Senior Games.
The Mayor’s Initiative on Aging: To Life! is the result of a public/private partnership of organizations dedicated to the wellbeing of Miami-Dade County residents 55 and over. During the course of 2006, a series of promotional, educational and fitness activities have been held exclusively to engage Miami-Dade’s senior residents and geriatric service providers.
Pictured from left to right, back row: Marylin Rey, Special Projects Coordinator, Miami-Dade County Office of the Mayor; Elizabeth Pelznyski, tai chi student, North Shore Youth Center Senior Program; Tony Garcia, tai chi instructor, Alliance for Qi Qong; Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez; Jef Morris, tai chi instructor, Alliance for Qi Qong; Ozzie Ramos, tai chi student, North Shore Youth Center Senior Program; and Vanessa Rodriguez, Director of Community Affairs, Alliance for Aging.
Pictured from left to right, front row: tai chi students from the North Shore Youth Center Senior Program: Gladys Pados, Maria Anagnostopouls, Dulcina Orear and Maria Diaz.
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Doris Johnson is from Christchurch, New Zealand, and attends Hazel Thompson’s tai chi class.
We learn tai chi? What does it mean?
We turn up each week and are quite keen.
We rub our hands as if with glee
And groan a bit with bended knee.
Then pull our ears and stroke our face
And smooth our hair quite out of place.
We creep along with younger Rose
And try to copy every pose.
Or change our glance and with her grace
Watch Hazel through each move and pace.
We slap our shoulders, hit the fat
As if to rid us all of that.
We learn so much and then slow down,
We say a prayer, go back to town.
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A wise person said you do not stop laughing because you are growing old; you grow old because you stop laughing.
We need to laugh every day. Sometimes life brings you a joke, other times you have to create your own fun. A well crafted pun can bring on a smile, a chuckle or laughter.
The pun is considered the highest and lowest form of humor. Why? Because it takes creativity to create the 'punch line' in the pun, and the result often produces a groan and perhaps the statement, 'that is a terrible joke'. This is why puns are also called 'groaners'.
Here are the top 7 winners in the International Pun Contest:
1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger'.
2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says 'Dam!'
3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says 'I've lost my electron'. The other says 'Are you sure?' The first replies 'Yes, I'm positive'.
5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
6. A group of chess enthusiasts were standing in a hotel lobby discussing their recent victories After about an hour, the manager asked them to disperse 'But why?', they asked, as they moved off. He said, 'I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer'.
7. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.back to the top
END OF NEWSLETTER
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.