Tai Chi Class

Welcome to WholenessInMotion. Tai chi is a whole body and mind exercise that combines meditation, martial art and health tonic in one. This particular form is the Yang style, 37 posture short form as taught by Prof. Cheng Man-ch'ing. This fascinating and intricate exercise has many benefits and just about anyone can practice it.

Take a look at this site and consider the study of relaxation and how it can benefit you in your daily life. I look forward to working with you. Tom Daly


Archive for April, 2009

Basics in How to Progress in Tai Chi Chuan

Posted By Tom Daly on April 29th, 2009

Over the years, I have seen many students come and go. Of those that stay, some progress, and some actually regress. I wanted to state a few basics on what I see in those who progress.

The first requirement, of course, is a GOOD TEACHER. By that I mean someone who has something you want to learn. It’s that simple. Some are more articulate than others, or can demonstrate what they want from you with greater accuracy, but your teacher has to have the goods you want in your life.

The next major requirement is ATTENDING AS MANY CLASSES AS POSSIBLE. Some students have a “yoga” mindset. You drop in when you feel like it. I think yoga is great, but tai chi is not like yoga at all. Attending all or most classes is crucial in tai chi development. Attending every other class, or when you feel like it, or when it doesn’t get in the way of your social schedule never ever leads to progress. You have to be there to get it. Books and videos may be of interest, or even help you, but nothing replaces uninterrupted class attendance.

PRACTICE ON A REGULAR BASIS is another requirement. My teacher’s teacher, Prof. Cheng Man-Ch’ing claimed it was better to practice twice a day and, if needed, skip meals or get less sleep.

Next, students that really progress TAKE NOTES and review them to capture details or nuances that they know they need to work on. There is simply too much to learn to keep it all in your head. Some habits are so deep that you need to devote a portion of your practice time to breaking the habit. Writing it down keeps you on track. You are less likely to forget what you already don’t know.

The next item on my list would be to periodically LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE NOT DOING. How? Just ask the question – what do I not give attention to in my practice? Maybe you are really good about how you use your feet, the placement, the weight on your feet, the transfer of weight into your feet, etc. So the opposite would be: what are you doing with your head placement and relaxation? If “sinking” is your joy, what about the counterbalance of the up movement? And so on.

Lastly, REFOCUS ON “NON-DOING”. You can always work on non-doing in tai chi. When we learn tai chi, initially we do a lot of “doing”. Non-doing is the essence of tai chi, the most challenging aspect to manifest. We need to come back to it again and again because in our zeal to master the tai chi postures, we tend to get caught up in what we need to do. The question of doing less of something (muscle use, effort) or simply “being” while moving through the postures can get lost in the effort to succeed.

These observations come from looking at fellow students and teachers since 1982.

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Tai Chi, Immunity and Shingles. New York Times article.

Posted By Tom Daly on April 11th, 2009

April 17, 2007

Exercise: A Little Tai Chi Can Go a Long Way Against Shingles

Older people who practice tai chi may be better equipped to fight off the virus that causes shingles or, if they do get the disease, may have a milder case of it, researchers say.

Shingles, a painful nerve condition, is caused by the virus that causes chickenpox. The virus, varicella-zoster, can linger in the body for many years after a case of chickenpox and then emerge as shingles. The disease generally affects people older than 50, as their level of antibodies to the virus decreases.

Tai chi, the centuries-old practice from China, is considered a martial art, but it includes aerobic activity, relaxation and meditation. It has been found in the past to strengthen people’s immune systems.

In a study paid for by the National Institutes of Health, researchers took 112 volunteers ages 59 to 86 and split them into two groups. One was given 40-minute tai chi lessons three times a week for 16 weeks. The other was given health-counseling classes.

The researchers, led by Dr. Michael R. Irwin of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that the people who did tai chi improved their immunity to varicella-zoster. They also found that when the volunteers were vaccinated later against the virus, the tai chi practitioners had a better response to the vaccine. The study appears in the current issue of The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The finding that the exercise significantly raised the volunteers’ immunity to the shingles virus suggests that it may also offer help fighting off other viruses, the study said.

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Tai Chi Shows Help for Stroke Patients. New York Times reports.

Posted By Tom Daly on April 11th, 2009

April 7, 2009. New York Times report by Eric Nagourney:

Stroke patients who practice tai chi may improve their balance — reducing the risk of falls, researchers say.

Writing in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, the researchers reported improvement in volunteers after as little as six weeks of training. The lead author was Stephanie S. Y. Au-Yeung of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In earlier research, one of the article’s co-authors, Christina W. Y. Hui-Chan, found that tai chi improved balance among healthy elderly people. For this study, the researchers wanted to see if the same effect would occur among stroke patients.

They took 136 people who had a stroke six months or more earlier and divided them into two groups. Over 12 weeks, one group did general exercise, the other a modified version of tai chi.
The tai chi group met once a week for an hour, and were asked to practice at home about three hours a week.

While the exercise group showed little improvement in balance, the tai chi group made significant gains when they were tested on weight-shifting, reaching and how well they could maintain their stability on a platform that moved like a bus.

The benefit of tai chi, the researchers said, is that once the forms are mastered, they can be done without supervision.

Still, they said, some patients lapsed in their practice after the training was over. They might be more likely to continue, the study said, if tai chi were available at places like community centers.

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