Monthly Archives: July 2014

Mood Disorder: United Tai Chi digest 7/21/14

  • Just as there can be no light without darkness in our yin-yang principles, so too at times follows our spirit, mind and heart. Depression and anxiety affect more than half of us at some time or other in our lives. Grief, loss, trauma, anger, loneliness –be it temporary or chronic. Mental health professionals like Maryellen Copeland include in her ‘toolbox’ for the WRAP program (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) complimentary mind-body approaches like fitness, meditation and access to daylight.  Peter Wayne of the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi cites the social support aspect of one if the ‘Eight Active Ingredients’ in the benefit modality of internal arts like Tai Chi. Sifu Anthony Korahais of flowingzen.com has discussed depression here, including how Qigong provided him with solutions in his own recovery, removing obstacles that block the smooth flow of body energy.  Bruce Frantzis (Tai Chi Health For Life) reminds us that tai chi helps create “stronger internal organs that can better withstand powerful emotional outbursts…strengthening the kidneys may help depression to a limited degree”.  He also indicates you can “change or mask your true feelings with your breath…feeling depressed and shallow breathing, you’ll feel better to consciously start deep regular breathing” (Opening The Energy Gates of Your Body).  In a recent qigong-in-the-park session our own instructor talked again about the postures that “bring heaven to the earth, and bring the earth to the heavens”.  A posture to suggest we can achieve and enjoy the best of ourselves, the best of our daily lives, a heavenly place on earth. Depression is often a debilitating condition –to the spirit, mind and body; and as such may sometimes require the paired approaches of traditional counseling, Western medicine, and holistic or Eastern philosophies combined into a multi-dimensional approach.  Quick and easy ‘magic wand’ remedies don’t exist, nor would that be a lasting effect. Growing your support network, changing patterns, opening up blockages and cultivating energy can help to start us on the path of wellness.  A path that often is several miles long.  All the best to you in your discussions on mental health issues and internal arts. 

 

 

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes: There must have been several events on 7/10, as Jose didn’t find any fellow students at the Y class in the afternoon.  Some of our students and friends worked on a sword form with Master Armstrong and Ted N at the Dragon Gym on the 13th. Afternoon drills on ward-off, kwa opening, and parry-redirect (with a nod to Thomas’s English Muffins). Welcome back Maria.  Thirteen postures. Turning versus twisting. Brush knee review. Keeping the shoulders dropped. Steve’s yin-yang socks. Thanks Ted for the poster/chart/infographic that I put on our FB page about Tai c hi benefits.  Working on metaphorically getting all of our tribes back in harmony, and the importance of continued practice outside of class. Weekend afternoon Blue Buddha class we ventured into some of our bagua animal qigong practice (Phoenix, Bear, Lion, Dragon, etc.), and reviewed more information about our kidney positions and how that impacts our tai chi practice.

 

 

  • Student News & Events: Master Wei Lun Huang will be in the Philadelphia area once again this year, so here is another chance to study with this tai chi master if you missed his Dragon Gym workshop in May.  He will be at the Masonic Lodge in Broomall PA starting the afternoon of Friday September 19, concluding late afternoon Sunday September 21. Liu Hi Ba Fa, Push Hands, Tai chi and Qigong. Stay tuned for updates on our social media sites, or I can send you a pricing sheet via email if you are interested. Also reach Sifu Tom Hardy for questions at 610-353-8609. Welcome back Claudia. I heard from Jaclyn who was practicing and teaching her tai chi at the beach earlier this month and says “Practicing at the ocean’s edge is inspiring and opening. Breathing and moving with the sound of the ocean is the best music to practice the 108 movements of the Yang style”. Hoping Marcia Z’s husband is doing better. Good to hear from Aruna who has been hosting some guests from India recently. Good to see a large class attendance on Wednesday morning. The National Qigong Association has their annual conference July 25 to 27 in King of Prussia PA, see info here.   Social Media Roundup: In the Twittersphere, welcome new followers @jinky_lion, @UnifiedMAAm @LCTDK and @D_awansetiawan. On Facebook, three-quarters of our followers are men, and we welcome a topic suggestion or guest quote for next month on health/wellness benefits you find with internal arts specific to your practice.  Thank you to fans in the United Kingdom for your readership support on our WordPress site and out Twitter page!

 

 

  • General Weekly Schedule:

 

DAY

LOCATION

PRICE

TIME

Tuesday

  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Blue Buddha Studio,  1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

Membership

 

$15 drop-in

4.45 pm

 

7.15 pm

Wednesday

  1. Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

 

Membership

 

7.30 am

 

Thursday

  1. Miller Park  220 Miller Way (off of Waterloo Blvd) Exton PA   Drop in whichever hour you can attend, it is $15 per hour

 

  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Lionville Holistic Health Center Natural Pharmacy, 309 Gordon Drive in Exton PA

$15 p/hour

 

 

Membership

 

$25 drop-in

(90 mins)

6.30am to 8.30a

 

4.45 pm

 

7.00 pm

Friday

  1. Student practice session/no instructor:  Lionville YMCA

 

  1. Daytime private lesson available pending schedule, by request

Membership

 

See instructor

7.30 am

 

See instructor

Saturday

  1. Blue Buddha Studio, 1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

$25 drop-in

(90 min)

12:00 pm

 

  • 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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Sounds of Silence: United Tai Chi digest 7/8/14

Soundofsilence2

  • Some folks enjoy the challenge of practicing tai chi to a background of salsa music, as we did try once in class.  Others enjoy a relaxing blend of strings and wind instruments. World beat music. Piped in recorded nature sounds of the ocean.  This weekend on my outdoor fitness walk I opted to try it without the ear-buds tethered to downloaded smart-phone music. And just like in some of our music-free tai chi classes, I found that my intention was clearer or purer, I felt less distracted, more efficient in the physical movement.  Recently I heard a reminder from my own local instructor about foot placement, parallels, and returning to the way we walked as babies. With the outsides of our feet parallel to each other, toes pointed forward, rather than knees and toes at an angle. People who sometimes hurt their pinky toe accidentally do so because of a more proper gait that matches the way we walked as a child. Those (like me) who stub or hurt their big toe come as a result of having travelled away from that youthful gait and are now leading with our toes.  Fortunately, on my silent (save for the bird songs) walk this weekend, I was able to pay much more attention –and intention –on trying to correct my gait, hoping to yield a more efficient physicality as I practice it more. I could not have paid as much attention to this self-correction if I had the music on.  Paul Read, in The Ways of Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Students, talks about finding our own inner shuffle and learning to adapt to our own rhythm, our own movement and flow, regardless of which music or sound or non-sound is played in classes or your own practice.  That we can alter our pace and not try to copy the beat of the music.  For me at this level still on my learning path, I still find it more calming and ripe with intention, to be music free during my tai chi practice, and sometimes on my other cross-training like walking and hiking.  How many of you prefer your internal arts practice with music versus a more silent practice? Those of you inspired to hear the classic Simon & Garfunkel tune referenced in the title can find an early version here.

 

 

  •  July class with Master John Armstrong:  This Sunday July 13, 10am – 12pm, continue to share with our Philadelphia tai chi partner visiting Dragon Gym ( 267 S. Whitford Road in Exton PA ). There will not be an August class, so catch this one before the vacation break.

 

  • Student News & Events: Christian is enjoying a family beach getaway this week. Christine H says hello, has been having some musculoskeletal difficulties plus away traveling and hopes to see us again later. Jose feels that Christian’s new haircut reminds him of Agent Gibbs on NCIS. Irene F, great to run into you at Jersey Boys and thanks for letting me join you guys. Phil G, Deborah O, Christian and Chris joined Master John Armstrong at a weekend lakeside retreat recently, and I’ve read these positive notes from Phil: “What a blessing to learn from such great men, an art that I have just begun to scratch the surface. I am lucky to have teachers who live the art and teach from their heart. Campfire, open water, and good laughs only give me more reason to know this is my truth.”  Welcome back Irene and Ellen. Happy birthday this month to Doris and Annette. I saw a few photos from Deborah’s holiday weekend trip to Washington DC. Anyone wanting to share any summer vacation pics let me know.  Social Media Roundup: In the Twittersphere, welcome new follower @Feralogic from Australia, Randy @swimdragontaiji in the Boston area, and @YunisHadi.  Christian’s Facebook post showed downed wires from tree damage during Hurricane Arthur and said he was now “off the grid for the weekend”.  Welcome a reader in Morocco to our WordPress site this week. Thank you to one of our largest non-USA group of Facebook fans from Portugal!  SCHEDULE NOTE: The Y classes are still on with a substitute this week, I presume the night classes offsite will wait until next week when our instructor Christian is back.

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes: Reviewing the coil and uncoil of the Contract/Expand posture before right shoulder strike in Part I Yang 108. ‘Leaf spring’ concept for our ward-offs. Turning (hip-centric) versus twisting (upper torso). The elbow and wrist stories of Single Whip. A nice early Thursday morning qigong set outdoors at Miller Park where we talked about spherical orbits (vs one dimensional circle), and rotation of our side posts –around our center, and also their own rotation. A hot and sunny Saturday Blue Buddha class with Metal posture Hsing-I drills.  Some push-hands practice (reading your opponent) and more hsing-I elements drills on Tuesday night. Stance drills (scissor, cat, 60-40, forward). Thirteen postures. Finding your center.  Keeping your jaw and mouth relaxed to create saliva –don’t clench your teeth. Finding our corresponding tan tiens in our arms and legs that mirror the tan tiens of the torso. Practiced ward off and neutralize drills. Also we welcomed a new students this week. 

 

 

  • General Weekly Schedule:

 

DAY

LOCATION

PRICE

TIME

Tuesday

  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Blue Buddha Studio,  1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

Membership

 

$15 drop-in

4.45 pm

 

7.15 pm

Wednesday

  1. Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

 

Membership

 

7.30 am

 

Thursday

  1. Miller Park  220 Miller Way (off of Waterloo Blvd) Exton PA   Drop in whichever hour you can attend, it is $15 per hour
  2. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Lionville Holistic Health Center Natural Pharmacy, 309 Gordon Drive in Exton PA

$15 p/hour

Membership

 

$25 drop-in

(90 mins)

6.30am to 8.30a

 

4.45 pm

 

7.00 pm

Friday

  1. Student practice session/no instructor:  Lionville YMCA

 

  1. Daytime private lesson available pending schedule, by request

Membership

 

See instructor

7.30 am

 

See instructor

Saturday

  1. Blue Buddha Studio, 1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

$25 drop-in

(90 min)

12:00 pm

 

  • 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