‘Dem Bones: United Tai Chi digest 10/23/13


  • Halloween merriment finds many a skeleton adorning doorways, front yards, punch bowls and pet costumes.  I even saw a skull in the back of a blue Kia this morning (that had better be plastic, or I’m finding a new walking route).  Yet in Tai Chi and other internal arts we know the importance of your bones as a hallmark of your structural integrity and alignment.  We have heard stories, anecdotal and scientific, of bone mineral density (BMD) improvement with Tai Chi –even our own Irene has achieved this.  It reduces fracture risk in the elderly, important since nearly one third of those aged 65 and over experience a fall, commonly resulting in fractures or head trauma.  “Tai chi is a weight-bearing exercise involving constant shifting of weight from one leg to another, which facilitates improved dynamic standing balance and strength in the lower extremities. You spend more time one leg compared to when you walk…multiple longitudinal and cross-sectional studies show improved lower-extremity strength following Tai Chi training. It also improves torso and limb flexibility and range of motion, with is an essential component of postural control.”   (The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, by Peter Wayne).  And in our own classes we learn how spinal alignment and relaxing the tailbone helps you to improve your duration, speed or comfort in many physical activities.  We wouldn’t want to be sidelined like mid- 80s Redskins quarterback Joe Thiesman by not giving our bones some TLC with a few weekly doses of Tai Chi.  (A pro-sports reference this week for those of you disinclined to my Broadway or film references.).  An early Happy Halloween to you all, as the digest will likely be on a travel hiatus next week, but watch for occasional Facebook updates while I’m away. 


  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Listening to your bone marrow. Tricking our brains to combat mental blockages to physical breakthroughs, i.e., the ‘pick up a bucket’ mental imagery for the right hand in Play the Pan Pan to help balance.  Sometimes a silent run through of the form “let’s you discover your own gifts” of what you have learned/what you have already grasped, versus just echoing the instructors voice with your body.  Line drills on individual postures.  Tai Chi walk. “Are you breathing?” Examples of conserving energy by utilizing structure and alignment rather than force or muscle.   Inner ear bones.  Finding your center the coffee way.  Dragon tongue kick analysis. 


  • Student News and Upcoming Events: Excited that a contingent from United Tai Chi will be travelling to a workshop in Wakulla Springs FL very soon to study with Master Wei Lun Huang (“Sifu”) for Bagua animal qi gong and Golden Lotus qi gong.  Paul will cover the morning Y classes, Sue the afternoon, Deb at East Bradford.  The Upper Main Line YMCA in Berwyn is hosting a bone marrow registry drive on Saturday October 26 from 7am -2pm for those aged 18-55. Those of you having a virtual party in honor of Keith Urban’s 46th birthday on Saturday …oh wait, that’s just me, he he.  Welcome to our new Twitter followers this week, who were no doubt spurred on by a certain someone with his “Saturday saludos!” PR (gracias).  Thanks for our WordPress readers from the UK recently –has Prince Harry seen my newsletters? (Is he still single?).  So far “The Apollo Ohno” is in the lead for naming one of our callisthenic warm-ups, edging out Eric Heiden and Hans Brinker…but turnout at the polls has been lackluster thus far. Let’s get out the vote people! http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco


  • Emily Dickinson shout out:  “A bone has obligations, a being has the same. A marrowless assembly is culpabler than shame.” 


  • Weekly Schedule:


Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM


Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM


Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 minute, small   class attention, *separate fees apply]


7:00 PM

Private paid lessons available   upon request –check with instructor for scheduling

Monday nights in the fall: 7 week   beginner class ordered through Chester County Night School


  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi 

WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog  http://www.unitedtaichi.wordpress.com

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi


Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice    unitedtaichi@gmail.com    


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