Monthly Archives: February 2014

Happy Hour: United Tai Chi digest 2/26/14

HappyHour

  • It’s 5.30 pm, your work day or likely your work week is winding to a close, the badges come off or the building security tags get tucked in into your car’s cup holder, you have filed your last TPS report.  For some what happens next is a cultural ritual, libations with friends at the local watering hole, or perhaps the chain restaurant near the office.  Where you wash off your stress, change your energy, breathe, or perhaps a kind of ‘chant’ if you will (“Did you hear what happened to Bob in Accounting today?”).  With your $3 drafts, half-priced appetizers, loosened ties and discarded reading glasses some are hoping to paint a picture of relaxation and joy. For others, in the study and practice of internal arts like tai chi and qigong, we have our own interpretation of “Happy Hour”. Or rather happy hours.  Our own moving meditation de-stressors, energy pathways, monkey-mind remedies, kidney awareness exercises (ha, bridging my ideas with the kidneys). We talked about the secret grin this past week in class—could it be that this is a reflection of our Happy Hour in action, our way to that picture of relaxation and joy I just mentioned.  Some of you locals or readers of my own personal social media know that I refer to my Friday dusk writing time as “Happy Hour”.  Another space in addition to tai chi, where joy and relaxation are on order, a place in my spirit where I can breathe and move.  This past Friday however, I did try once again a conventional evening ‘happy hour’ at a pub with a very large group. And you know what? I wished I was home…writing, or practicing qigong, or a quiet chat with a loved one. When was your Happy Hour this week, and who did you tip?       

 

 

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  Shiny white polished bones, the skin-muscle-tendon-bone pathway, secret grin, shaking, shoulder wells, holding postures, and Ray’s extra cookie.  Qigong openers (10 Breaths, 8 Pieces of Brocade), humidity, shoulder strike, palm breath, 13 postures, linking and connecting …we are ocean waves building and receding. Thursday class 1: French pinkies, hitchhiking, and student questions like Ted’s regarding finding your center, and the breath pattern for 13 Postures; and Dave’s about Single Whip. Thursday class 2: bagua animal body openings, and more work on part III of Yang 108…don’t forget your folding. Monday: opening bow spinal path like warm water down your back, in-depth session of Eight Pieces of Brocade qigong, palm breath, soft vs. hard, bubbling well point of the foot, and notes on Shoulder Strike. And I’m still laughing over a nomad story from a morning practice session …see Happy Hour in action again.

 

  • Student News & Events: We had a great attendance rate at the past Thursday night class at the Natural Pharmacy, thanks everyone who participated! A few of us will be attending part or all of the Master Wei Lun Huang workshop at Boston Healing Tao starting the eve of February 28 (sessions on 10 step breathing qigong, bagua animals, and ‘rainy day tai chi’). West Chester fans and friends, now on are Thursday morning classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café at 7:30am, $15 drop in rate http://www.eatdrinkOM.com please be sure and support our Tai Chi classes there. Phil G got to share some of his Tai Chi enthusiasm with an equine therapy group on Friday. A contact at Bryn Mawr Rehab has expressed an interest in Tai Chi there.  Thanks to one of our students so far to have signed up for the Red Cross blood drive at Lionville YMCA on Friday March 28 –you too can make an appointment at http://www.redcrossblood.org and use our sponsor code of lionville to find our 3/28 drive. The spring Chester County Night School course guide is out, and once again Christian will be teaching at East Bradford Elementary starting March 17 on Monday nights (course #FH70 at  http://www.chestercountynightschool.org ) and thank you to our winter session students. Early “save the date” notice …Saturday April 26 is World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, stay tuned for a local outdoor celebration.  Welcome Scorpion Taipan Combat @STcombat in the UK and @ironfist105 in South Carolina to our Twittersphere.  In WordPress news we are up over 2,000+ views since I started posting there at the end of June. Facebook fans of the day, Harvey (a ‘Bruce Lee’s Fans’ club member) and Shika from Indianapolis (pilates practitioner and equestrian).

 

  • Weekly Schedule:  

 

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

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 &   mixed

 *$25 drop in   rate

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Monday night

3/17   starts

 

Chester County Night School, Tai Chi class

820 Frank Rd in West Chester

Pre-pay, multi-week   . Next new session on 3/17 http://www.chestercountynightschool.org

Monday

 

7.30 PM

Thursday   morning

Tai Chi classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café

124 E. Gay St in West Chester

 $15 drop in rate each class

Thursdays

 

7:30 AM

  

  • 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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The Armpit Monologues: United Tai Chi digest 2/19/14

armpitMicrophone

  • Last week we were revisiting the importance of the armpit gland in our tai chi practice. How we don’t want to be closed off, or pinching the gland, but rather maintain a continuous openness in that region. In some of our earlier classes, our instructor Christian has shared the mantra ‘put a tuna sandwich under each armpit’, hoping that the imagery of a messy, mayonnaise filled hoagie would keep us from touching our biceps to the side of our ribs. The opening of the armpit also stands as a place holder for the upper tan tien when we unfold the arm in successive pieces for postures such as Ward Off. Or how we need to round the spine and soften the chest in order to get just the elbows (not the armpits) together in Golden Dragon Shakes the Tail qigong.  “An important requirement is keeping the space under the armpits rounded so the chi can flow easily from the body through the shoulders down through the arms”. [Violet Li, The Tai Chi Examiner, June 2011]  Part of your lymphatic system is housed in the armpit, and unhealthy or swollen lymph nodes are an immune system warning of infection. The armpit suffers an image problem—the name alone with the word ‘pit’ in it does not conjure up positive connotations, it is suggestive of a deficit or a den of iniquity. American culture and Madison Avenue tells us the armpit is a malodorous place we need to treat, and a hairy place we need to deforest. It is through our internal arts practices however that we are learning to demystify and embrace the wonder and significance of the armpit.  With apologies to Helen Reddy and 1972: I am Armpit hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back and pretend. I’ve heard it all before and I’ve been down there on the floor, no one’s ever going to keep me down again. Yes I am wise, but its wisdom born of pain. Yes I’ve paid the price but look how much I’ve gained. If I have to, I can face anything –I am strong, I am invincible, I am Armpit!

 

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  More play-the-pan-pan practice and insights about the scissor step and left side uncoiling. “Let it be one” mantra for the left hand during transitions from shoulder strike, pull down and white crane.  Mental pictures, mind intention and silence.  Ray and the “senior students”.  Armpit class Wednesday, and groin. No elbows. Creating space and removing tension. Also part I of Yang108 done to the other side.  Snow removal issues near Master Armstrong postponed this month’s Dragon Gym Sunday workshop to March. Monday: heel to finger tip unity line in the Split posture, circling, un-martial jargon for those so inclined, tan tiens of the arm, Play the Pan-Pan. And the wei yin.   

 

  • Student News & Events: Sincere condolences from our Tai Chi family to Marcia Z on the loss of a family member this winter. And good luck to Ellen W on her surgery soon. West Chester fans and friends, very soon Christian will be teaching Thursday morning classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café at 7:30am, pricing and info at  http://www.eatdrinkOM.com  and you can meet the owner Susan in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CEixLt_56CM  please be sure and support our Tai Chi classes there!  Thanks Deb O for the commentary notes under our “Power Down” blog last week https://unitedtaichi.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/power-down-united-tai-chi-digest-21214/ For those of you not on Facebook that missed Christian’s shovel tai chi video, let me know if you want to receive it via email and I’ll bcc whatever list of folks asks me for it. The spring Chester County Night School course guide is out, and once again Christian will be teaching at East Bradford Elementary starting March 17 on Monday nights (course #FH70 at  http://www.chestercountynightschool.org )  Welcome @julian181994 from Brooklyn, @ldr49ny in New Hampshire, @idea_de_qi in Mexico and @agostinetti_a from Italy to our Twittersphere.  In WordPress reader news, highlighting our Canadian friends this Olympic week —congrats on Charles Hamelin’s gold in short track 1500m speed skating. Facebook fans of the day, Marie F from Boston Healing Tao; Uevin –a Packers fan; and Tania G, latino international film festival fan.

 Etcetera :  Formula to combat a certain approach from students in internal arts, from Sifu Anthony K of http://www.flowingzen.com  “Students pay too much attention to the physical aspects of qigong, tai chi and meditation. When it comes to maximizing your results, there is a simple equation that will help. The physical aspect is responsible for 10% of your results, the breathing aspect 30% and the meditation aspect is responsible for 60% of your results.” 

 

  • Weekly Schedule:  

 

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

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]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Monday night

 

Chester County Night School, Tai Chi class

820 Frank Rd in West Chester

Pre-pay,   6-7 week . Next new session in March http://www.chestercountynightschool.org

Monday

 

7.30 PM

Thursday   morning

Tai Chi classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café

124 E. Gay St in West Chester  for price   call the Yoga Café at 484.356.8655

Thursdays

 

7:30 AM

 

 

  • 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    

Power Down: United Tai Chi digest 2/12/14

PowerDown

Last week the Mid-Atlantic area of the US was plunged into yet another storm system, leaving in its wake ice, snow, widespread power outages, road closures, downed trees and motor vehicle accidents. As long as you had use of a shelter, blankets, shelf-stable food-stuffs or a wood stove, often the next biggest concern for many of us in this electronic age was where can I recharge my smart phone, tablet, laptop and the like. How can I communicate? How can I get newsfeeds? How can I continue working? How can I check on a friend or relative? Evidences of our newfangled umbilical cords lined the interstitial spaces of various Panera or Wegmans or whatever Starbucks and Wawa further into town had sprung up as soon as word went out through the ginormous grapevine that any such establishment was on the grid. This was day one of the power outage for me dear friends.  Not to be content to ride out the day shunning the monkey-mindedness of being plugged in, I bore witness as one gentleman at an aforementioned establishment was running not one, but two laptops. And where he no doubt could have been emptying out some aural imbalances with a Rocking-the-Boat golden lotus qigong posture, did a BlueTooth earwig sit. Still wilted by a not-quite-over influenza bug, and attempts to corral me by the winter Chinese element of Water, I nonetheless was not practicing some quietness, mindfulness, healing, opening up my energy gates, rooting or Tai Chi circling principles. Fortunately I did start listening to my body as time went on, and indeed began to seize the moment I had in order to let go of some of what I thought I needed. And to calm down. And when I let go, things, moments and people came to me that I did need.  A 2009 episode of my beloved “NCIS” too was titled ‘Power Down’ (Season 7, episode 8) and featured a return to some old fashioned sleuthing, leg work, paperwork, mimeograph machine, lemons (!), Polaroid camera, and sardine knapsack treasure to solve a crime during a blackout.  Unplugged. Tactile. From the feet up.  Listening to your gut (2nd brain). Just the way agent Gibbs likes it.  I truly hope that each of you in the region affected by the recent storms are safe, warm and by now free of downed trees. In order to brace for another storm yet again this week.  Have a lovely Valentines’ weekend. Or for the valentine-averse, happy President’s Day.

 

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  Unrelenting winter weather conditions, illnesses and the like seemed to have impacted the past couple of weeks. Tuesday some more work on the footwork and circular path transition from the end of Grasp the Sparrows Tail into Single Whip and Shoulder Strike. Also some healing Growing Like a Tree qigong, and philosophy discussion of sending the front of your spine back. Post-blackout Mondailies: Thirteen postures, disappearing, standing postures and leg strengthening, sinking/rooting, quietness of Yang 108 part I; and “Sharkey’s Machine”.

 

  • Student News & Events: Thank you to Chris S for the snow shovel tai chi video of Christian on our Facebook page, it was a big hit!  Thanks Ray C for and Chris M for comments on our ‘Customer Service blog post last week https://unitedtaichi.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/customer-service-united-tai-chi-digest-2514/    There is a Reiki Level 1 certification class on Sunday 2/16 at Lionville Holistic Health Center, details here http://lionvillehealth.com/schedule-of-events/   West Chester fans and friends, stay tuned for our Thursday morning classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café soon  http://www.eatdrinkOM.com  The spring Chester County Night School course guide is out, and once again Christian will be teaching at East Bradford Elementary starting March 17 on Monday nights (course #FH70 at  http://www.chestercountynightschool.org )  Sifu Huang has as a weekend seminar at Boston Healing Tao Feb28-March 1 in Somervile MA, details here https://www.wepay.com/events/master-huang-march-2014  I heard from Mitch Goldfarb that West Chester University’s Chinese New Year celebration was postponed from last weekend due to weather issues.  Welcome @sphuh fro Korea @tareknavi from Germany to our Twittersphere, and a new WordPress viewer from India recently. Facebook fans of the day, Robert O from Hawaii, Dante S (a Night Ranger fan!), and local Eagles fan Jt M …and hey, I see a lot of Samuelsons on their recently (hi!).

 

  • Etcetera:  Thanks much to a snowbird Chris M, emailing from afar her commentary about our Customer Service blog post last week: “I appreciate your comments this week all the more as I complain to myself and have to force myself to workout with weights at a local fitness center. The reason for the force, not one person that I have to be accountable to, as in a teacher who puts out the effort, so I should put out the response. Christian certainly puts out the effort and it is much appreciated, as is your weekly update.”

 

  • Weekly Schedule:   

 

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

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]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Monday night

 

Chester County Night School, Tai Chi class

820 Frank Rd in West Chester

Pre-pay,   6-7 week . Next new session in March http://www.chestercountynightschool.org

Monday

 

7.30 PM

Coming   Soon

Thurs AM’s

Tai Chi classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café

124 E. Gay St in West Chester  $15 each   drop-in

Thursdays

TBD

7:30 AM

 

 

  • 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    

Customer Service: United Tai Chi digest 2/5/14

customerservice

  • Some tips I read this weekend on how to build meaningful relationships in a wellness-based business or organization include the following: Reveal your authentic self, be a good listener, show interest (in students’ activities/hobbies/pets, etc), find ways to remember things that students or clients tell you, be of service, celebrate your students’ occasions, and stay in contact.  Walk with me if you will through those gems, from a United Tai Chi history. Our instructor Christian has never been shy about motivators that got him started with internal arts, woodsy encounters (fugitives and the call of nature), cinematic preferences (“Kung Pow: Enter the Fist”) and the types of food that he likes (mostly “breakfast, lunch and dinner”). Listening …well having heard some of his students hold court on war history books, hiking, previous teachers, gardening, weather satellites, Vermont crime, commuting, road conditions, General Motors, yoga, Keith Urban, NCIS, social media, or past employers would certainly qualify him. Showing interest …the soap maker and local farmers markets, collegiate Tai Chi club activity, the music of a student’s son, syzygy and celestial body alignment, Ikebana, charitable organization entrepreneurship.  Remembering things…well let’s just say that is a little more my specialty, though he does try to remember what a valuable asset his PR & admin coordinator is (still reading? Cool). Seriously though he knows his Wakulla Springs workshop mates from year to year, who needs help in what postures, who wants to shout out answers too fast, who does or doesn’t like some added qigong with their tai chi, who has a joint injury, and where the bacon is.  Service… a condolence message on the loss of a loved one,  a ride after an injury or accident, deer meat, a loaned book or video, Angel Tree gift transporter, Golden Lotus qigong review time, introductions, and thesis consultation.  Celebrating occasions …. a birthday acknowledgement (shout out to Jane G this week), holiday breakfast party, welcome back from long trip away, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, pre-trip training DVD night.  Continuous contact … well I also like to think that is a joint effort that includes myself on board the ride of Emails, newsletters, texts, phone calls, social media messages; but also Christian’s in person individual attention to every student with questions or insights.  I want to thank Keeley Mitchell from Zi Living, LLC for putting these relationship building tips into a list for me to see in black and white, thus helping us to know we are on the right path. If any of our readers with a wellness organization want to share a story on how you are connecting with your students, include it in the comments section of this WordPress newsletter.    

 

  • Shares/Finds: Blogger  http://mytaichijournal.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/film-friday-newtons-laws/ on how Newton’s Laws help us understand how bagua and tai chi can be used as a martial art.

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  Watery bones, double weightedness discussion, receiving and redirecting, and welcomed 4 new students to the afternoon class! Thursday (class 1) – thirteen postures, student leaders, and some foot work review for Apparent Closing.  And (class 2) more detail work on Wild Horse Shakes its Mane and Fair Lady Works the Shuttle for part 3 of Yang 108.

 

  • Student News & Events: Thanks Marie for the nice Email. Marcia Z says hello and has been visiting family in Lancaster.  Ray C has been away traveling to more tropical temperatures recently. Steven wanted to share that on Friday 2/7 at West Chester University (Philips Hall) there is a Chinese New Year celebration; see Steven for details.   Stay tuned for a couple of sample trial Tai Chi classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café in West Chester soon  http://www.eatdrinkOM.com  Sifu Huang has as a weekend seminar at Boston Healing Tao Feb28-March 1 in Somervile MA, details here https://www.wepay.com/events/master-huang-march-2014  Thanks Shannon R  [Chinese Tao] http://en.gravatar.com/chinesetaoistarts  for ‘liking’ our WordPress blog last week “Passport”.  Welcome kung fu competitor Bruno @HBK2798 in San Diego , @tonygetson, and Chinese KungfuWush @sifubinh  from Massachusetts to our Twittersphere and John M a hockey player to our WordPress subscribers.  Facebook fans of the day, South American flavor: Patricia G from Ecuador who is multi-lingual; and musician Patrick H of Chile.

 

 

  • Weekly Schedule:   

 

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

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]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Monday night

 

Chester County Night School, Tai Chi class

820 Frank Rd in West Chester

Pre-pay,   6-7 week . Next new session in March http://www.chestercountynightschool.org

Monday

 

7.30 PM

Coming   Soon

Tai Chi classes at Eat Drink OM Yoga Café

124 E. Gay St in West Chester

(pending)

 

  

  • 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