A conversation between teacher and learner

Here is a brief exchange over email between a DTC member and myself that reveals our thinking about a subject central to learning tai chi. I welcome questions and comments because it stimulates concrete conversation which serves as a knowledge-building activity. Background: I returned after 10 days training retreat and exposed practice partners to using different muscles to feel more connectivity. I had usually been focusing on using mind to move, but also on changing the body in subtle ways of movement. Afterwards, B wrote: “I have to say I am a little sore from the workout yesterday. … How in the world do you do it for 6 hours a day?” Me: “You got me Read More …

Article: Tai Chi is not just for ‘old’ people

“Tai chi is not just for old people,” says columnist Viki Mather. I know what she’s talking about. People hate anything that resembles “exercise.” Not my problem. They are so WRONG. “There is a stigma about tai chi that it is for old people. And it is true that doing tai chi can help regain mobility, balance, prevent falls and all the other things that seniors need to stay independent and active. It does this for younger people, too. It can help you play better golf. It can improve posture, which is important for skiing, skating, horseback riding, and having dinner at Grandma’s house. And it reduces stress.” https://www.sudbury.com/columns/mather/viki-mather-no-tai-chi-is-not-just-for-old-people-704655

Thoughts on Developing Your Home Tai Chi Practice Routine

I was recently asked about developing a routine for home practice. Most of us are probably used to being given a set of movements to do—one set for everyone. I take a different approach, suggesting that you choose a few moves from among the many that we do in class that appeal to you and remember them at home. While we share a lot in common, every person is different: different bodies, different circumstances, and different interests, needs and desires. So the routine you develop should be customized to you and not have to be a “one size fits all” approach. Still, you need a place to begin when you’re new to the system. That’s why Read More …

Dementia research findings and my pitch for tai chi

Researchers list nine activities that can help prevent as much as 33% of the world’s current estimate of 47 million cases of dementia (expected to triple by 2050), including Alzheimer’s. Tai chi is a physical activity and mentally stimulating exercise, two factors that recent research suggests can prevent dementia in millions. In a recently published article (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/one-third-of-dementia-cases-could-be-prevented-alzheimers-report/), researchers list nine activities that can help prevent as much as 33% of the world’s current estimate of 47 million cases of dementia (expected to triple by 2050), including Alzheimer’s. For healthy mental activities, researchers recommend people  stay in school at least until past the age of 15. The article doesn’t specify kinds of physical exercise, but most articles Read More …

Home Practice: One key to reaping benefits from tai chi

One key to reaping the greatest benefits from tai chi is to develop a home practice. I like the word practice more than “routine,” which you might hear in some exercise circles. Practice is something you do regularly, which may seem like a routine. But practice, for me anyway, offers opportunities for refinement. You don’t do the same thing every time you do your practice. You create opportunities to discover new things as you learn. I recently suggested to release tension when moving and not to clench or tighten joints, tendons and ligaments, as well as muscle. This may sound like a rule to apply to all of your efforts, but it’s actually not possible to Read More …

Easy things you can do to fit tai chi into a busy life

You’re so busy to take in the wonder, not even enough time to take a moment to mourn the loss of the precious time burning away. What do you do? Here are a few ideas. Tip #1—Where you do tai chi. Get away from where you do your business in order to do tai chi without interruptions. Tip #2—When to begin tai chi When you wake, even before you get out of bed, give a thought to tai chi. When you rise, at least, inhale three times deeply, fully and think about one thing, one move, from tai chi that you did the last time you practiced. Tip #3—Be kind to yourself Pay your respects to Read More …

Article Forward: Tai Chi’s “Molecular Signature”

Question: What “reverses the effect that stress or anxiety … have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed?” You guessed it! What potentially could be a landmark finding probably won’t surprise some tai chi practitioners (yoga and meditation, too). It’s good to know that researchers are paying attention. Dear tai chi practitioners, Shh…Don’t tell them it’s not just about “mind-body.” Let’s keep our little secret. Tell ’em they have to do tai chi to really find out. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20170616/why-yoga-tai-chi-and-meditation-are-good-for-you Following up: Here are related article on a “web accessible” site intended to be easier for those with cognitive and visual impairments:  https://dopasolution.com/panic-disorder/