Newsletter #121 - September 2011
- From me to you, Paul Lam
- The Face of Our Future, Marty Kidder
- The Tai Chi for Health Teaching Challenge, Maureen Miller
- Becoming a Tai Chi for Health Instructor, Caroline Demoise
- From Trauma to Treasure, Darci Alexander
- Feature Profile – The Best of Friends, Sandra Pruzansky and Shelia Rae
- Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health, Bob McBrien
Marty Kidder shares his tai chi experience with AmeriCorp members.
For Maureen Miller an effective teacher is one who not only cares but also makes you laugh.
Caroline reflects on the process of learning how to share tai chi with the community.
Darci Alexander came from a near paralysing accident to teaching tai chi.
How did Sandra Pruzansky from NJ and Shelia Rae from TN became the Best of Friends?
Upcoming Workshops: by Dr Paul Lam
Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor Training
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor Training
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis Workshop
One Week Tai Chi Workshop
Yours in Tai Chi,
When you engage the process of becoming a tai chi for health instructor in one of Dr Paul Lam’s programs, you begin a life affirming, mind-body-spirit integrating change in your life. The preparation and training you receive to become a community leader offering Tai Chi for Arthritis, Tai Chi for Diabetes, Tai Chi for Osteoporosis, Tai Chi at Work, or Tai Chi for Energy in your home town compares in interesting ways to college training for public school classroom teaching. During the span of my working life, I have taught elementary age deaf children, kindergarten children, high school age students and shared tai chi with adults and senior citizens.
What I learned in my college and graduate school programs about how and what to teach was merely the first step in a life long learning process. Classroom training gives you basic content, teaching strategies and encouragement to go into the real world and learn to teach. After my formal training, I discovered the reality of a classroom experience. Seeing where the children were and observing how they behaved provided the basis for developing lesson plans to help them learn some content and skills. When you complete any program you know some basic content. But to be successful in the classroom, you must continue to expand your knowledge base and experiment with strategies to inspire people to learn.
After becoming involved as a student of tai chi and noticing how it improved my health and transformed my consciousness, I found Dr Lam and participated in training to become an instructor of his tai chi programs. Today as I was practicing tai chi, I realized that what I had done to become proficient in teaching content matter in schools is really no different than the process of becoming an instructor of tai chi for health programs. They both involve applying tai chi principles to life situations. Reality always requires listening to the incoming force, not resisting what happens in life or how people in your class behave, but rather redirecting all the incoming forces toward the end goal of having fun while learning, whether it is course content or learning tai chi movements.
Learning a tai chi form to the level of remembering the sequence of movements is merely the first step in a process of becoming an effective instructor of tai chi. Practice is how we learn, how we improve, and how we incorporate the underlying tai chi principles for effective, coordinated movement into our own body’s expression. We continue the learning process when we gather a group of people together and begin to share tai chi movements with them. As I discovered teaching the deaf, teaching kindergarten, teaching high school and teaching tai chi to seniors, the real learning begins when you attempt to share your information with others. The more I practice teaching, the more skilled I become and the more I enjoy the art.
When you become aware of a desire to help people with chronic health conditions or balance challenges through simple tai chi movements that promote health and balance in a safe environment using safe teaching methods, you begin the process of preparing yourself to contribute to people’s lives by sharing tai chi. In reality, it is ideal to learn the form from a certified instructor prior to attending an instructor training workshop. When this is not possible, the more time you can devote to practicing with the DVD, the better prepared you are to get maximum benefit from a face to face workshop experience. Regular practice is an essential prerequisite and tai chi itself is an excellent teacher.
Click here to read more about the process of becoming an instructor in Dr Lam’s program.
The chiropractor twisted my back like a dish rag as far as it could go. Thinking relief was coming as he eased up, I was surprised by his forceful second push. It went beyond my range of motion and something had to give.
I gave out a cry from the pain of a synovial joint capsule bursting into my spinal cord! I couldn't even talk – I must have gone into shock as I had a panicky feeling that I had to get home. I walked out of the office without even a goodbye, much less making arrangements with the receptionist. I burst into tears in the car and held up my body with my left arm as I drove with my right. Knowing this was serious I saw a doctor. For the next few months sitting and lying down was excruciating. I had to eat my meals standing up. The strong pain pills didn’t work so the doctor gave me an x-ray. That looked ok, as I didn't have a bone problem. He then sent me to physical therapy. When that didn't work and I began to have nerve damage he ordered the MRI that revealed a bursa the size of a glass marble protruding into my spinal cord. Without surgery I would be eventually paralyzed!
Following surgery I was in physical therapy. On my last day I was so excited to once again be able to “sit” in a car and drive to visit my cousin in San Francisco. I told my therapist we would be going to tai chi. She leaned forward and exclaimed, “You do tai chi!?”
“Oh, I just follow along.” I replied.
She then said, “If you get certified, I will hire you to teach!”
I've always been drawn to tai chi even as a teenager but never dreamed I would teach it! With a little research I found Dr. Lam's Tai Chi for Health Programs. What a gift to me! Because of the injury I will not horseback ride or ski anymore, but I have Tai Chi. Something negative has turned out to be a positive. I get a double blessing seeing the positive effects it has on my students. One student had to quit work years ago from fibromyalgia. She has thanked me for giving her life back to her! She is now able to take care of her grandchildren and do volunteer work in the community. I thank Dr. Lam and the Tai Chi for Health Community for making this possible by making authentic tai chi with all its depth accessible to anyone. So the gift goes on...
By chance their rooms were across the hall from one another. One evening they opened their doors at the same time, and facing each other in the hall, Sandra said to Shelia “I’m going out to dinner, do you want to come along?”
Shelia, who was only thinking that she would like to leave the college campus, replied “sure”, and off they went in Sandra’s car. The dinner turned into a three-hour visit with connections from the heart about their very different lives and tai chi journeys.
Our work together was instrumental in Sandra being appointed the first Senior Trainer, and doing much to establish the Senior Trainer program which has grown from one to thirty. Shelia became a Master Trainer in 2005, and now teaches Fan in both the US and Australian weeklong workshops.
Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, MD, USA
During our training as TCA instructors we learn how arthritis symptoms can interfere with one's sense of well being, but studies show that when our innate capacity for poking fun at the challenges of life is employed, we can laugh at the situation and the symptoms are minimized. Much like practicing tai chi for better health, laughter is a holistic approach to achieving well being.
Mind/body researchers view humor and laughter, and finding the joke in life, as a body-mind-spirit event. A good laugh reduces some of the stress chemicals; at the same time, our immune system is getting a boost. This promotes healing while minimizing the symptoms of an arthritis flare up. When we feel good, are having a bit of fun we can disconnect from arthritis symptoms (i.e. painful joints).
The following may bring on a chuckle or a laugh.
The tourist saw that the doctor was young, had long hair, sandals and a very casual shirt. "You don't look much like a doctor to me," he said dubiously.
The doctor examined the hook in the tourist's hand and replied, "And you don't look much like a fish to me."
* If you arrest a mime, do you still have to tell him he has the right to remain silent?
END OF NEWSLETTER
Waing: 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.