Newsletter #156 - August 2014
- From me to you, Paul Lam
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation, Richard Link
- Spiralling PMS: It's Not What You Think! Jim Starshak
- China Archives: The Beginning of the End, Richard Askwith
- Humor, Laughter and Radiant Health, Bob Mc Brien
Click on the title above to read the articles, this link to read all previous newsletters and here to subscribe.
Brochures are ready for the 2015 One Week Workshop at Kincoppel Rose Bay, Sydney. If you would like to spread the news to your tai chi friends, ask our staff for a pack of 30 brochures. Write to [email protected].com with your address, and put "brochures" in the subject line with your physical address in the email.
New website: Over the past few months we have been working hard with our team of experts to modernise our website. We will be going live with the new site during August. This will mean service will be interrupted for a couple of days, but we will be back quickly with our new and improved site.
To do a good job you need the right tools.
Over the years I have built up the Tai Chi for Health toolkit with many specialised tools, including DVDs, books, CDs and YouTube free lessons. Sometimes I meet people who tell me their Tai Chi journey began after a serious illness or injury, and they found even the most basic forms demanding. One lady told me recently that it took her three months to master the warm ups.
These people inspired me to create Tai Chi for Rehabilitation. This is a combination of Sun, Chen and Yang moves, which can be done lying down, seated or standing and is achievable even for those who feel they are lacking in energy and motivation. Each of the 8 lessons include modifications and participants can gradually increase the amount of physical effort they expend.
I have used my medical training in positive psychology to gently encourage people to take charge of their rehabilitation, and to make time to care for themselves. I also wanted even the most advanced practitioners to enjoy this program, using it themselves for stress relief after a busy day teaching. There is hidden depth to Tai Chi for Rehabilitation, and I know everyone will enjoy discovering them. In my own practice I sometimes work right through the trilogy, going through Rehabilitation, Energy, Energy 2 and finishing with the next logical step – the Chen 36 forms. I truly enjoy feeling my qi revitalise through this combination!
Now instructors can build up their tool kit, and be able to browse through it, choosing the most appropriate form for their participants.
Enjoy reading the final chapter of Richard Askwith's description of our China trip - I am organizing another one next year!
I heard of Richard Link's talk, he says: "… doors open for you to bring Tai Chi for Health to any section of the community if you look for it, and if you cannot find the door - make one!" Richard: so inspiring!
In this Newsletter:
- Richard Link talks about the latest tool in the TCH toolbox
- Jim Starshak uses humor in his teaching
- Richard Askwith shares the final chapter of his China trip
- Bob McBrien dispenses his regular dose of humour
This Month's Special
Buy Tai Chi for Energy 2 and get a 10% discount! Please use coupon code TCE20814
Click here to place your order. Please use coupon code TCE20814
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
Jul 31-Aug 01, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Townsville, QLD, Australia
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 StatesJuly 2014August 2014
Jan 05-10. One Week Tai Chi Workshop, Sydney, Australia
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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#Tai Chi for Rehabilitation - My First Impression
Richard Link, Senior Trainer, Tennessee
After returning from the June Workshop and decompressing for about a week, I started working with the Tai Chi for Rehabilitation DVD. Once I learned the sequence of the forms, I decided to introduce it to my students at the Tai Chi for Transplant Class. They have been practicing the Tai Chi for Arthritis form for quite a while so I felt it would be easy for them to learn. The short version is, after going thru the forms only a few times they had the sequence down and loved the form.
The following evening when I was setting up for the class I teach at the Wellness/ Preventative Medicine Center, five new people walked in for class. I ended up with a total of sixteen of which three were seated. In our previous classes we had been working with the Tai Chi for Diabetes forms.
I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce the TCR to new students. After breaking down the forms and demonstrating both standing and seated, we actually went thru the whole form several times before the end of class. It was received with great enthusiasm by both the new students and the more experienced.
Since the initial introduction of the form, we have been working with it in most of my classes. The students really like the form and continue to improve and discover new things about it.
I believe that the next time I am called upon to publicly present our Tai Chi for Health Program to various groups, I will use the TCR form as the group participation part of the presentation.
Here is a summary of comments about the TCR Form from my students.
Easy to Learn
Can find the spiraling
Sense of accomplishment in only one session
Easy to perform seated
Perfect for recovering from back surgery
Perfect for new students
For me personally, I reflect back to my slow painful recovery from major surgery years ago and can’t help to think how using this form would have made my recovery not only speedier but a lot less painful.
Thank you Dr Lam for bringing us this form.
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#Spiralling PMS: It's Not What You Think!
By Jim Starshak, Master Trainer, Shawnee, Kansas
As a Master Trainer, one of my tasks is to find simple ways to help my participants grasp complex concepts. If you have seen me teach, you know that I stimulate thought by interjecting humor, unique visualizations, and common terms in uncommon ways. To illustrate, I want to share one way I use these during my Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA) workshops.
During a TCA workshop, there is only one hour to discuss these 4 arthritis-related topics: types of arthritis, challenges for people with arthritis, how TCA helps people with arthritis, and using TCA for fall prevention. I will briefly introduce key types of arthritis (as there are over 125 different types), start participants thinking about using TCA for fall prevention (which I incorporate throughout the workshop), and give them sources for more information. This leaves most of the time to focus on two key arthritis topics: people’s challenges and how TCA helps them.
After a short, guided discussion on arthritis, I break the participants into small groups to discuss what they feel are the three most important challenges for people with arthritis. When we come back together, I write each group's responses on the board. Then I cluster those challenges into three general categories: Physical, Mental, and Social -- or PMS! By using PMS in an uncommon and humorous way, I help my participants remember that arthritis challenges are more than just physical and they must take all three into consideration when teaching TCA.
We then move on to discuss how TCA works. Through facilitated discussions, I demonstrate how they can quickly validate to their classes the ways TCA helps improve each of the four fitness categories: strength, cardio-vascular, flexibility, and neuromuscular (agility, balance). Additionally, I illustrate how TCA benefits their breathing, posture, Qi, and other less quantifiable wellness characteristics.
Finally, I pull it all together through a thought-provoking and uncommon visualization of tai chi's spiral energy. If someone with any type of arthritis practices TCA, then they will enhance all their fitness categories; leading to an upward spiral of healing energy to improve their physical, mental, and social challenges. However, should a person decide to not practice TCA, then there is a real possibility that their health will move in a downward spiral making their physical, mental, and social challenges even more overwhelming.
As TCA instructors, our goal is to empower people to improve their health and wellness. By integrating humor, visualizations, and inspirational uses of common terms into your teaching, you too can help people spiral their PMS challenges in a positive, healing, and upward direction.
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China Archives – Dr Lam’s China Tour family share their experiences
#The Beginning of the End
By Richard Askwith, Instructor, Michigan
His family and friends:
Here it is Sunday and we're out of China and in to Hong Kong. Technically I guess Hong Kong is part of China but at the same time has a lot of autonomy including its own money and entry requirements. (You don't need a visa to enter Hong Kong but you do need one and sometimes "multiple entry" visas to get into China.)
The other day the agenda was "Gulang Yu by electric vehicle plus boat" which I suppose is a fair description although truthfully we didn't know what to expect. It turned out that Gulang Yu is a famous island, but I should interject that the Chinese tour guides often use the word "famous" whereas a more accurate word might be "popular" or "quite interesting" or sometimes even "crowded". In this case Gulang Yu turned out to be a scenic, big, island complete with old, narrow, winding roads, mansions, and of course scenic views. Matter of fact that's where the unlikely Piano Museum was located.
The electric vehicle turned out to be 3 oversized golf carts. The boat was a ferry. After admiring everything we had to head back because it was getting dark and we hadn't had dinner yet. So we headed off trailing behind our local guide carrying her yellow flag. This particular guide was with us only one day and was very young. Her English was pretty hard to make out and I think she was a bit intimidated by being responsible for our group of 20 MOSTLY western seniors. As well she might have been surprised because senior citizens on tour have a tendency to unexpectedly stop and look at things or even disappear into some interesting places.
To make matters ominous we did not take the electric vehicles back but rather went back through the old, narrow, winding streets a/k/a alleys which were filled with highly interesting, colorful shops of all manner including bars, restaurants, karaoke places, and many gift shops. It didn't take too long to realize that our group had unwittingly divided up into two groups and actually into three groups. Luckily I was with the local guide and one of the other groups was also lucky because that group had our permanent guide in it who of course spoke Chinese. However, because the permanent guide was not local she was just as lost as the rest of us. True, both the local guide and the permanent guide had cell phones that worked and they were certainly talking to each other. That was less effective than you might suppose because it's really hard to describe where you are when you are in the winding, colorful, congested streets a/k/a alleys if you've never been there before. I mean, the streets run every which way and if there were street signs or numbers I sure didn't see them. To tell the truth, I'm pretty sure the local tour guide was also lost. Eventually the two groups found each other, leaving only the last group that lacked any phones or Chinese speaking persons. As you might imagine there were many suggestions and counter suggestions voiced, often almost simultaneously, but I will simply say that after probably 45 minutes we found the last group or maybe the last group found us. I think either would be true.
The next day we went to Dr Lam's house and for me that was the highlight of the tour. His house is 300 years old and looks every year of it. To say it is modest would be laughingly overstating the situation. It is still occupied by his relatives which consists of his niece, his 80 years old aunt, and 3 or 4 other relatives. They met the bus and were quite excited to meet us and led us through the back streets to where the house is. They offered us date like things to eat. The walls of the house were all of concrete and there were various electric wires attached to the walls plus some pictures. There was a kind of courtyard and maybe three rooms going off from the courtyard. It was very sparse and would probably be called uninhabitable by western standards. In fact Dr Lam explained that this house was actually a shed owned by his grandfather. His grandfather built and lived in an 11 room house adjoining where we were. He took us to that house but we couldn't go inside because non-relatives are occupying it. The 11 room house was a grand house comparatively speaking, with a concrete deck extending the width of the house and set off with Italian type decorative concrete balustrades with bottle like staves. Of course it was only about 70 years old because his grandfather built it. When the communists took over Dr Lam's family and extended family were required to go live in the shed buildings. Strangely, the government gave the grandfather's heirs a document declaring that the heirs are the true owners. However, the people occupying it won't leave and Dr Lam says the government won't do anything about it. The 11 room house is not being cared for by whoever is occupying it and the shed looks more liveable.
We did a set of tai chi in front of the grandfather's house and Dr Lam took photos of the relatives standing on the porch. During all this Dr Lam got quite emotional. He obviously loved his grandfather and likes his relatives and they like him as well. I guess love would be a better word. I noticed they came to our hotel later, after the tour part of the day was finished, so they could be with him.
After being with Dr Lam for so long, and seeing this kind of thing and how he interacts with others, it's clear to me that he is much more than a tai chi expert.
So of course these descriptions are pretty random and just my take on things. But for me this has been a very wonderful trip and I feel humbled to have been so lucky to go. I've learned a lot, not just from Dr Lam but from some of the others, and not just tai chi.
At this point it's just going to be one big traveling thing, from Hong Kong to Japan to Seattle to Detroit to the Sault.
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#Humor, Laughter and Radiant Health
Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, Maryland, USA
We often hear a good story that brings on a laugh and later on when we have the opportunity to pass on the bit of fun to others we have forgotten the punch line. A simple solution is to save the stories that are funny and occasionally visit your humor folder and practice telling the story. Here are a few more bits of wit to add to your library.
- Old Doc Johnson was proud to announce that his son Marty, just finishing his medical training, had joined his practice. One Monday morning Sister Margaret came for her appointment and was assigned to the new doctor. After about 4 minutes in the examination room she burst out screaming and ran down the hall.Doc Johnston stopped her and asked her what was wrong. She told him her story. After helping her calm down, the senior doc went to Marty's office and asked "What medicine are you using? " Sister Margaret is 59 years old, a member of a religious order since she was 17, and you told her she was pregnant?" Marty continued writing in a chart and without looking up said: "Does she still have the hiccups?"
- Visiting my friend Charlie on his farm, and I saw a pig with a wooden leg. "Charley", I said, "What's the deal with that pig?" "Oh, man", Charlie said, "What a great pig! A couple of weeks ago, I was out ploughing the field, and the tractor tipped over and pinned me. Next thing I knew, that pig was digging around me until I was free. He saved my life!""And then", Charlie continued, "a few nights later we woke up to the sound of banging on the window, and found the house on fire. That pig saw the smoke and saved us!" "Yeah", I said, "But why does a pig have a wooden leg?""Well", Charlie said, "With a great pig like that, you don't want to eat him all at once!"
- At a Workshop at the senior citizen center the presenter spoke on 12 Ways to improve your memory. The speaker asked" Let's have a show of hands. How many of you want better memory?" The response was a few folks raised their hands. The speaker, with enthusiasm called out, come on folks, "what do we want?"The response from the audience showed more energy, they called out "Better memory!" Next the speaker said a few words about having good energy and asked the group: "When do we want it!" From the audience one old timer called back "Want what?"
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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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