Newsletter #153 - May 2014
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This is an exciting time for the Tai Chi for Health vision. We are gaining recognition from many bodies, including the Australian Physiotherapist Association, who now grant accreditation points for our workshops. My talk at the America on Aging conference has generated a lot of interest from many health associated organisations, which will open new doors for our US Master and Senior Trainers, as well as all instructors. In fact the world is so small, the positive movement will ripple through to other countries.
I would like to acknowledge my many colleagues who work so hard behind the scenes. This issue we hear from Ileina Ferrier, who put in an incredible amount of work for the ASA conference. I really couldn't have done it without her and her Hawaii team. Everywhere I go I meet wonderful people who are committed to helping others. Instructor Anna Durie lost four family members in the 2009 Samoan tsunami but recently she donated all her tai chi fees to make a real difference to the village of Malaela.
My China workshop and tour was an incredible experience. It was very special to spend two weeks with my friends, visiting parts of China new to all of us, and learning more about tai chi and each other as we went. Together we collected thousands of photos and hours of video. I have just spent several very pleasurable days editing the footage and photos, and would like to share this special video with all of you - just a brief taste of the fun we had. For those who would like to see more, there is a longer version too! I was so inspired by our trip that next year I have decided to extend my invitation to suitable instructors, Senior and Master trainers. Places will be limited, and pre-requisites will apply, but you can write to me for more details.
I have many mementos of my travels around the world, not to mention thousands of photos of my tai chi family.
Recently I visited Colorado, where my friends had a big surprise waiting for me. It is not often that I am lost for words, but when I walked into the workshop, a bear was waiting for me! Not just any bear, this one had been especially made for me, and he was holding a beautiful plaque bearing my logo. I was blown away; and he had pride of place right through the double workshop.
I am arranging for my new friend to be checked and treated by Australian customs, but for now Debi Santoro is "bear-sitting". You can meet him at the June Workshop, where we will be holding a "name the bear" competition.
Years ago I stayed at my good friend and Master Trainer Pam Kircher’s ranch. She warned me to look out for bears, and to "look big" if I saw a bear. Finally I have found a bear I can look bigger than!
In this Newsletter:
- Conference team leader Ileina Ferrier reports on the ASA Conference
- Stan Michaels tells us why he supports tai chi
- Anna Durie gives a special gift to the village of Malaela
- Beverley Murphy shares a special poem
- Richard Askwith writes home from China
- Dr Bob McBrien dispenses his regular dose of humour
This Month's Special
This month you can purchase any Advanced Series DVD and receive a 30% discount!
Click here to place your order. Please use coupon code MSP0514.
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
May 10-11 Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Jun 21-22 Tai Chi for Diabetes Workshop
Anchorage, AK, United States
Jul 03-04, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Jul 05-06. Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training
Jul 05-06. Tai Chi for Osteoporosis Instructor Training
Jul 05-06. Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Jul 17-18. Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Jul 19-20. Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Jul 19-20. Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor Training
Jul 31-Aug 01, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Aug 02-03, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Aug 16-17 Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Torrensville, SA, Australia
Sep 10-11 Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Shelburne, VT, United States
Sep 13-14 Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
East Longmeadow, MA, United States
Sep 18-19 Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Chicago, IL, United States
Sep 20-21 Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Chicago, IL, United States
Sep 27-28, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Oct 04-05, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Oct 09-10 Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Jekyll Island, GA, United States
Oct 11-12 Tai Chi for Energy Part 2
Jekyll Island, GA, United States
Oct 16-17. Tai Chi Energy Instructor Training
Hurst, TX, United States
Oct 16-17. Tai Chi 4 Kidz Instructor Training
Hurst, TX, United States
Oct 18-19. Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Hurst , TX, United States
Caldera, OR, United States
Many other workshops conducted by my authorised master trainers are listed on the Workshop Calendar.
Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, MD
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#Moments Filled with Infinite Possibilities
Ileina Ferrier, Master Trainer, Hawaii
2014 Conference of the American Society on Aging presented "Aging in America", the most comprehensive multidisciplinary conference on aging attended by more than 3,000 professionals in the fields of aging, health care and education. The conference is a premier opportunity to network with colleagues, meet the experts, share research, gain new knowledge and skills with those who work with older adults.
Hello everyone, my name is Ileina Ferrier, a TCHI Master Trainer living in Hawaii and I would like to share my experience with the ASA conference. Much of my tai chi involvement is collaborating with the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health, Injury Prevention Specialist, Stan Michaels. Together we have worked over the last 7 years spreading the merits of tai chi and fall prevention.
Stan is one of the professionals in fall prevention who suggested Dr Lam attend and present at this conference. With last year's recognition from the CDC that Tai Chi for Arthritis/Fall Prevention is effective for reducing falls, and the increased studies on falls and tai chi, this was a timely opportunity to share our program on a national level with other professionals in our field.
Master Trainer, Dr Rhayun Song, one of the conference presenters, encouraged Dr Paul to attend this wonderful conference. Finally convinced, he made the decision to register and sponsor a booth. That was all that was needed to begin this great journey. TCHI colleagues offered to help to make this a successful venture!
As one also wishing to see this venture successfully unfold, I put my corporate hat on once again and began the work to communicate with the conference staff, then coordinate the makings of our booth. This was a head spinner of events, so I won't boggle your mind with the details. Suffice it to say, from ground up, things began to take shape once the vision was understood by everyone involved. The booth's backdrop, a new design to reflect Dr Lam's vision (Branching out to your community), coordinating table runner design and matching designs on brochure, flyers and promotional giveaways (that was great fun because I like shopping for goodies!). We were blessed with great vendors and committee to pull everything together for a great presence at ASA.
As you can imagine, much time and coordination by everyone went into the planning, even weeks before we all arrived to the conference. Realizing foot traffic of 3,000 participants, expected over 100 booths and 500 presentations over the 5 day event, time would fly by quickly. We wanted to maximize every precious moment to leave a positive impression of TCHI's presence and Dr Lam's vision. As we were new to this event and did not know how things would turn out, it reminded me of the mother of tai chi, a Wuji type of experience....moments filled with infinite possibilities.
My most memorable experience came with Dr Lam and Dr Beverly's presentation on Wed morning, "How to bring tai chi to your community". It reinforced the new logo displayed on the newly designed backdrop in our booth, "Branching out to your community" with the TCHI logo radiating above it in a forest of trees with majestic branches. The presentation was well presented and received, as well as, being the best attended session that morning! I was so very happy that Dr Lam, colleagues and TCHI presence had been so warmly welcomed and sought out.
The level of professionals that stopped by our booth to ask about this wonderful protocol was impressive. They ranged from journalists, researchers, and a wide range of professional organizations who work with our nation's elders.
If I were to be asked if our efforts and presence at ASA benefited TCHI, I would reply with a definite yes and that it was a happy success. Our efforts were acknowledged as a credible institution with programs that are professionally recognized, supported by a standardized, safety first teaching method, backed with educational materials, large base of instructors and, most importantly, enjoyable!
My parting reflections as I boarded my return flight to Hawaii was the warm afterglow of experiencing how our TCHI family can come together from all parts of this world for a common cause such as ASA.......to support the vision, "Spread the seed of better health through tai chi".
Thank you Dr Lam for your vision and helping us to realize our wuji moments.
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#Aloha ALL From Hawaii
Stan Michaels, Senior Injury Prevention Coordinator, Hawaii Department of Health
I am Stan Michaels, Senior Injury Prevention Coordinator for the Hawaii Department of Health. First, I am very grateful that Dr Lam has given me an opportunity to share my experiences about the American Society on Aging (ASA) conference recently held in San Diego, California. And second, this also gives me an opportunity to describe the impact of Tai Chi for Health (TCH) on our fall prevention program in Hawaii.
From the beginning, planning for the ASA was an exciting concept, (1) to see Dr Paul present at a National conference specializing in senior issues, and (2) being allowed to work with the TCHI team to make sure that everything good about TCH would be presented in a manner and vision that would match Dr Paul’s dream of tai chi helping everyone. From the moment we floated the possibility of participating in the conference in late 2013, right down to the last day of greeting visitors to the TCH booth on March 14, 2014, the ASA conference was an immense joy and success. I must offer enormous credit to Master Trainer, Ileina Ferrier, my colleague in Hawaii, who accepted the challenges of the events, the booth, the handouts, and even an amazing demonstration of TCH she organized on-the-fly during the conference. It occurred when a major Plenary Session ended and literally thousands of attendees streamed by in wonder as 25 TCH master trainers, senior trainers, instructors, and students moved in harmony following Dr Paul. The looks on the faces of the ASA participants as they filed by was priceless.
The ASA Conference--In addition to (a) Dr Paul and Dr Beverly's brilliant presentation, (b) the morning tai chi wake-up session, (c) the on-the-fly demonstration, and (d) Dr Rhayun Song's wonderful tai chi workshop, TCHI was also well represented in its vendor booth which was masterful. Again thanks to Ileina’s coordination and planning, our TCHI booth was wonderful. Mr David Nakamaejo, TCH Instructor from Honolulu was a wonderful asset, in supplying ideas and assistance in helping get the visual elements just right. I was so very proud of our overall effect on the ASA Conference. I personally attended many workshops so I can confidently say that TCHI's were some of the best of the entire conference. I believe it is safe to say that the Aloha spirit was also in force for TCH, as Dr Paul's vision for all of us is richly imbued with that famous Hawaiian element of kindness and selfless giving. We call it the Aloha Spirit, and I am convinced that Dr Paul embodies that spirit in all that he does for us and for tai chi.
I am firmly convinced that our impact in Hawaii is directly linked to the overall spirit or wuji offered by those that teach and share their tai chi. Each and every day in Hawaii, I see seniors whose lives are changed and made better because of their contact with tai chi. That contact grows into a love of tai chi, and ultimately seems to expand to a greater feeling of wellness and love of those around them. Such is the unspoken impact of TCH and for that reason; I will continue to support and expand its growth within our senior communities in Hawaii. Thanks to Ileina Ferrier, Honolulu is blessed with a Master Trainer of infinite heart, and as a native daughter of Hawaii she carries that extra special blend of Aloha in everything she does, and especially in her Tai Chi mastery and teaching. And thanks to Dr Paul, the San Diego ASA Conference and its thousands of attendees had an opportunity to sample just a touch of that magic.
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#Tai Chi Classes Fund Solar Lights
Anna Durie, Instructor, Samoa and New Zealand
(this article originally appeared in the Samoa Observer on 9 February)
What do solar lights, Tai Chi and the village of Malaela have in common?
Her name is Anna Durie.
Since arriving in Samoa in 2011, Anna began running Tai Chi classes in Apia. The money she raised from her Tai Chi classes was then used to purchase 250 solar lights through the Rotary Club of Apia and the lights have now been gifted to the village of Malaela.
Along with two of her Tai Chi students, Mere Chappe and Catherine Cregan, an Apia Rotarian, Anna travelled out to Malaela where a presentation was made to Tifa'i Anae Su'a, President of the Malaela Women's Committee, and members of the group. The committee members were shown the many benefits of solar powered lights including recharging and changing of batteries when needed.
The solar lights last up to 8 hours before requiring recharging from the sun and are perfect for providing alternative lighting for home. The battery in the lights lasts one to three years. More information on these lights can be found by contacting the Rotary Club of Apia including on their Facebook page.
Tifa'i said she felt privileged and excited about receiving the lights, and the saving it would make to everyone's electricity bills. Why the village of Malaela?
Well this is where Anna's father, the late William Dunn was born, where members of her family are buried and where some of them still live. The village of Malaela was also one of the areas in Aleipata badly affected by the 2009 tsunami and where sadly, Anna lost four of her family.
Their memories continue to shine on.
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China Archives - Dr Lam's China Tour Family share their experiences
#Tai Chi is Poetry in Motion, from Australia to China
Beverley Murphy, Instructor, Queensland, Australia
I had the privilege of being a member of Dr Paul Lam's recent Tai Chi for Health Workshop and Tour in China. A personal highlight was reading to our group the poem (below) composed by one of my tai chi students in Queensland, Australia, Wendy Enchelmaier.
Wendy has auditory problems and likes to learn by following my movements rather than any accompanying instructions through my microphone. She also has osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. She values Tai Chi for Health and says "I have come to love the discipline for its calm balance, with the added benefit of friendship of a caring group" and "it provides an effective way to maximize my body's own coping and healing potential".
During our outdoor lesson Wendy sat, as she had chipped a bone in her foot and was on crutches. Rather than joining in with upper body movements and visualising the lower ones, she chose simply to observe, noticing that one aspect which defines tai chi is its flowing, continuous movement. As her seven friends practised TC Arthritis, focusing on Play the Lute, Wendy was inspired as the tiny gold harp, attached to my wristwatch, caught the scant sunlight. She said: "I felt that our small group was superimposed, in a way, with a timelessness that surpassed cultural and physical boundaries".
In China on a cool, cloudy day we had walked in the steep Wuyi Mountains to beautiful parkland beside organic tea bushes and looked down on the sixth bend of the gracious Nine Twist Stream. After performing and videoing our tai chi forms with Dr Lam, I shared:
Tai Chi Morning
by Wendy Enchelmaier, Copyright.
Leaves drift downwards,
fluttering from a statesman fig-tree.
Autumn-bleached to yellow-tans
they whisper cyclic stories to green grass.
Fourteen feet form a fugue across the grass, timeless
fluidity connecting eras and epochs.
Fitful winds gust, provoke,
haggle with hair. Sun smiles brittle and timid, clouds
Vault in haste, some threatening to cry. The lake
glimmers in grey and slate, acquiescing to sunlight's whim.
Fourteen feet finish their fugue,
fourteen hands pluck harp-strings of peace.
Wendy included this poem as one of many originals submitted to CQ Uni Australia in her Bachelor of Arts Honours thesis, comparing these to the published works of many well-known Australian poets. Just prior to my trip to China, Wendy had been notified that she is to be the recipient of the University Medal - the highest accolade across all faculties and campuses. We are so proud of her, yet she is so humble.
Tai Chi is indeed poetry in motion.
Watch Beverley read her poem at the beautiful Wuyi Mountain
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(Richard Askwith wrote a series of letters to his family back home in the USA about the workshop and tour).
Richard Askwith, Instructor, Michigan
We've finished our week of training and so tomorrow we go on tour, leaving Zhuhai by inter China air transport and heading to the beach area near Taiwan, where the air and water is fresh and scenic.
The past week has been very wonderful and we've learned a lot, including the fact that the tai chi insignias which I had sewn onto my tai chi shirts (the insignia that says "Tai Chi Chuan" in Chinese) is upside down. Some of our group do amazing tai chi, particularly three from Singapore whose tai chi is phenomenal, yet everyone was very understated except maybe once in a rare while.
The evening before yesterday we went to a talk Dr Lam was to give at a hospital. Enough of us went as to require three cabs and it was maybe a 15 or 20 minute ride to get there. All of the cabs had to be hailed and so all 3 cabs left at different times. Just to keep the pattern going, I guess, all three cabs dropped us off at the wrong location. Not horribly wrong but definitely wrong. This was a problem even for Dr Lam who had to ask various passers-by for directions because he did not know the area, but on the other hand he does speak Chinese so it was a bigger problem for the rest of us who do not. Those of us in the second cab eventually got there by looking confused and showing people a flyer advertising the event. Finally someone led us to where the event was. The program started pretty much on time but without the people in the third cab. They did get there later, how I don't know.
A similar thing happened yesterday when some of us went to a martial arts store that was recommended. There were enough of us to require two cabs. The way you tell the driver where to go is to give the driver a business card of the business in question, or else have someone write down the address in Chinese. Anyhow the cab that I was in took us right to the martial arts store zip zip. However the other cab dropped everyone off about a quarter mile away from the store.
One night we decided to go to an Italian Restaurant, of all places. Again we took two cabs, leaving and arriving at separate times. Our cab pulled up to an area, the cabby gestured to the right, and let us out. After he left we discovered we were at a Pizza Hut, complete with a waiting line. We didn't know if this was a Chinese version of an Italian restaurant or if the cabby had misjudged the address we had given him. One of our group started showing the business card to people, again looking puzzled. Someone eventually told us we should go to the street behind the street we were on, which we did and there indeed was the real Italian restaurant. It turned out to be quite a good restaurant. We enjoyed it a lot.
The moral of the story is to never leave a hotel without the name and address of the hotel written in Chinese in your pocket. Then, even if you get lost you'll eventually get back almost exactly to, or at least pretty near to, your hotel.
One more local color story. When we got to the martial arts store the first noticeable thing was its small size. I had expected some kind of martial arts supermarket but it was more about half the size of our living room in the Sault. Then when we actually went into the store it turned out that fully one half the store was fishing gear (fishing poles, hooks, gloves with the fingers cut off, etc.). Another third was devoted to shoes. Then there were two circular hangers with martial arts clothing, and that was about it. I quickly lost interest (how interested can fishing gear and leather soled shoes be to a non-fisherman who already has shoes?) Some of the women were trying on some of the uniforms but I'm not at that stage yet and so I took a walk.
When I came back everything was the same (people trying on uniforms) but then something dramatic happened. It was discovered that the store stocked tai chi fans! One of the women picked up one and snapped it open. Immediately everyone's demeanour changed from a semi frustrated shopper to a person thinking maybe he or she was under attack. The woman had opened that fan with an extremely authoritative and loud snap. Then she started doing a tai chi fan set, which was in itself amazing because there was literally not nearly enough room for two persons to walk next to each other in the so-called aisle, let alone do a set. But she did it anyhow complete with many spins, one legged stances and of course snaps and flourishes of the fan.
At this point everyone was really getting into the performance. One maybe 10 year old boy was making various excited comments (alas, in Chinese) and indeed it was pretty captivating. The woman in question is a very garrulous, striking woman who commands attention anyhow, and her fan set was better than any I had previously seen. Then one of our participants from Singapore, either the most proficient of the bunch of us or tied for that, took one of the fans and started leading the woman who had begun this. He was even more impressive than she and when he snapped the fan it sounded like a gun shot. Soon they were both doing parts of a fan set, together, where I would have thought it impossible for one to do it.
At that point a few people were gathering on the sidewalk to watch and someone from the store brought out tea in little cups and began offering tea. It was a lot like those movies I had always thought unbelievable, where people just burst into song or some other unlikely activity. Eventually people bought various things (two fans for me) and the adventure ended with lots of people taking photos of each other in combination with the store people, and wishing each other well.
(next issue, Beyond Wuyishan, tales from the beautiful, misty mountains)
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#Humor, Laughter and Radiant Health
by Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, Maryland
Neuroscientists have shifted from studying the brains of depressed and anxious persons to scanning brains of happy people. Interesting findings come from studying Buddhist monks who spend many years meditating. A typical retreat involves meditating daily for three years, three months, three week and three days. The scientists' findings teach us the biology of humor and laughter. We learn that when we are listening to a funny story, watching a comedian on the TV or responding to a joke our brain is multi-tasking.
This complex activity requires the teamwork of three brain areas. Firstly the right frontal cortex discovers the punch line. Remember it is the surprise in the story that tickles us. Secondly a movement-controlling zone helps move the muscles of the face( the zygomatics) to smile and laugh. Finally the limbic system helps generate good feelings. When we have good feelings we are counter balancing our stressful feelings that our hurried, hassled and harried lifestyle produces.
Have fun exercising your zygomatics (cheek muscles, also known as "cheek gong") with these One-liners.
- Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow
- I used to have a handle on life, but it broke
- Help wanted - fortune teller: you know where to apply
- The one who laughs last thinks slowest
- I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe
- I used to be indecisive; now I'm not sure
- Help stamp out and eradicate superfluous redundancy
- COLE'S LAW: Thinly sliced cabbage
- Whatever you're doing, always give 100%. Unless you're donating blood.
If you have a favorite bumper sticker or one-liner please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
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