Winter Solstice: United Tai Chi digest 12/18/13

Photo by Bill S.

Photo by Bill S.

  • Although you would not know it to look outside in our region, it is not until this Saturday the 21st that we will officially usher in the season of winter.  In Chinese medicine, winter is associated with the element of water, the colors of blue and black and purple (watch those bruises from falls on the ice!), salty foods or outward spreading vegetables like seaweed, and the feng shui considerations of glass and undulating liquid surfaces. The two organs associated with Winter/Water are the kidneys (yin) and bladder (yang).  As Tai Chi students we are learning the importance of our kidneys for our internal connecting paths, and about the role kidneys play in our overall health . According to Wood Becomes Water: Chinese Medicine in Everyday Life [Gail Reichstein] the winter element of water in deficiency can manifest as insomnia, back or knee pain, night sweats, infertility or prematurely gray hair.  However the water element in excess can manifest as the emotional condition of manic depression (also commonly known as bipolar disorder), where there is an excess of both organ yin and yang in alternating cycles.  Anecdotally and scientifically, winter is often linked with Seasonal Affective Disorder –when the shorter hours of daylight or ‘cabin fever’ this time of year have folks feeling blue. But alas there is good news. Not only has consistent Tai Chi practice been deemed effective at reducing the risk of falls (ice ice baby), but also regular practice of both Tai Chi and Qigong will help reduce the incidence of depression or the winter blues. Just one of a number of articles on Tai Chi versus depression can be found here .  So when the “sky is a hazy shade of winter”, fear not –try a seaweed wrap, smile into your kidneys, and try the healing powers of internal arts.  Have a wonderful holiday season everyone, the digest is on a Christmas Eve hiatus next week.   


  • New class alert:  Starting January 6th, six session Monday night Tai Chi class at East Bradford Elementary School in West Chester, 7.30pm.  $62 pre-pay, and you order course #14WFH710 from  Please read their snow-closure policy for classes held inside a school building.  Former Radley Run Country Club students, the makeup class will be held at a church in West Chester, details TBD soon, since Tues 12/10 was postponed for inclement weather.          
  • Shares/Finds:  Video on the martial applications of Par the Horses Mane  Article from Runners World about understanding the ‘spider web’ of connective tissue, your fascia


  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  Small snow-day attendances early last week. Paired posture drills. Growing like a tree Qigong, white crane and dragon tongue kick.  Practicing our bone-muscle-tendon-skin path through Part I of Yang 108.  Which way do you feel your breath when your postures are rising or sinking?  Hard or soft (yang or yin) –the wind is hard as it can displace a (soft) tree branch that maintains its structure.  More work on some of our Eight Powers—including shoulder and elbow (like conducting an orchestra with your elbow). Thirteen postures. Monday a bit of Qigong healing work with Eight Pieces of Brocade, body breath, rising and sinking, expanding/contracting, hot tub/cold tub cell changes, opening up channels. Also some one-handed Yang 108 tai chi practice.


  • Student News & Events:  Thanks Claudia and Ray for the great commentary on our Year-in-Review newsletter last week.  Our YMCA closes at noon on Tuesday the 24th, hence no afternoon class that day. Local note: Downingtown winter farmers market on Thursday the 19th (4-6pm at Williamson Masonic Hall, 210 Manor Ave).  Welcome several new Twitter followers in the past couple of weeks, including @EamonnCampbell in Ireland, @kollin in Japan and @OpenBlackBelt in Dallas.


  • 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

Thursday Night

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 min., small   class attention, Tai Chi

 *$25 drop in   rate]



7:00 PM

Monday night

Starting   1/6/14

Chester County Night School, Tai Chi class

820 Frank Rd in West Chester

$62   pre-pay for 6 classes,   Order at


7.30 PM


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



WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog


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

Kathleen Rice     


One thought on “Winter Solstice: United Tai Chi digest 12/18/13

  1. Pingback: Daylight Savings: United Tai Chi digest 3/12/14 | United Tai Chi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s