Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter
- Issue Number 182, October 2016
Hello <<First Name>>
In this issue:
I had a wonderful time in Albany and New Jersey, and I really enjoyed the inaugural Depth of Tai Chi for Diabetes. I met many new members of the tai chi family who are very enthusiastic at empowering people with diabetes to better quality of life.
We followed that up with a five day Depth of Chen 36 and Sun 73 master class in Lenox, which was intense work but great fun. For five days we lived together, sharing meals and talking almost non-stop about tai chi!
I had the pleasure of working with Johnny Packard, who gave such an inspirational speech about teaching tai chi in a women’s prison that one of our participants gifted him a full scholarship to the Sun 73 Master Class. This month one of Johnny’s participants shares her own story about her recovery using Tai Chi for Rehabilitation.
Johnny has just sent me a beautiful and moving piece about his experience at Lenox, which is also published this month. What a gifted writer!
Two months ago I asked you to send me your rehabilitation stories, and I received so many wonderful examples that it was difficult to choose which to share in this issue! I am extending the theme to future newsletters and will continue to include a regular “rehab” slot for your inspirational stories. The fact is that as a medical doctor and tai chi expert I can design tai chi programs to help recovery from illness, conditions or accidents but they are only truly effective when you embrace them and make them a part of your life. Congratulations to all of you for your dedication in managing your own wellness!
Recently I have heard about some teenagers who are learning tai chi and I know two instructors who qualified when they were in their teens. I would love to run a special issue about young people learning and teaching tai chi, so please send me your stories.
I am looking forward to the coming workshops this year. All except the last ones at Bainbridge Island are fully booked. The beautiful Bainbridge Island will host Exploring the Depth of TCA and that of Tai Chi for Rehabilitation. The Depth of TCA can be a certifying workshop for Fall Prevention for Tai Chi for Arthritis instructors who complete an assignment.
The two week-long annual workshops in Sydney and NC, USA, 2017, are now open for registration. If you have not done it yet, do consider coming to try a week of fun intensive learning, and be energized by some of the most amazing people from around the world.
Our team been working hard to produce two more YouTube videos:
Click here to see more at Ask Dr Lam:
This Month’s Special
Receive a 20% discount when you purchase the Tai Chi Music CD. Please use coupon code OCTSPCD20 when ordering. Offer expires 31 October. Not to be used with any other discount.
Product Review Prize Winners
(Winners can contact service@taichiproductions in their country to receive their prize.)
Congratulations to this month’s prize winners Karl from Australia,) and Raymond Williams from the USA. You can see their reviews below.
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation by Dr Paul Lam, October 1, United States, FL, Vero Beach
- Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, October 3, United States, Florida, Vero Beach
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Rehabilitation by Dr Paul Lam, October 7, United States, MO, Kansas City
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention by Dr. Paul Lam, October 8, United States, MO, Kansas City
- Exploring the Depth of Yang 24 Forms, California, October 14, United States, CA, Fresno
- Exploring the Depth Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention by Dr.Paul Lam, October 15, United States, CA, Fresno
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Rehabilitation by Dr.Paul Lam, October 21, United States, WA, Bainbridge Island
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis by Dr Paul Lam, October 22, United States, WA, Bainbridge Island
Other workshops by my authorized Master Trainers are displayed on the Master Trainer Workshop Calendar
Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, MD
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A Letter to Dr Lam
Sue Mills, Participant, London, UK
I had the pleasure of doing a course with you in London in 2003. I have recently had a stay in hospital and benefited enormously from my knowledge of tai chi.
In 2003 I spent a lovely weekend in Twickenham learning Tai Chi for Arthritis with you. I did not go on to teach this but did give a couple of talks to a local arthritis club.
A month ago, I developed atrial fibrillation, pericarditis, pneumonia and pleural effusions at the base of both lungs, and was admitted to hospital where I spent 3 weeks tethered by a six foot wire to the heart monitor, but I practiced my tai chi working with small steps by the side of my bed.
It was invaluable, especially while all the extra fluid was piling into my legs. When I was let off the leash for short periods to use the bathroom, I ‘mindfully’ walked the corridor. My balance remained pretty good – it must have looked strange but needs must!
When they decided I could try home, the doctors ordered echo scans to check the state of the pericarditis on the heart. In the words of the doctor, ‘my heart was spectacular’.The inflammation seemed to have cleared completely and everything was moving very smoothly and easily. At that point I said. ‘nearly 30 years of tai chi!’ The doctor was very impressed so I told her she needed to take it up. The physios also said that I needed no advice from them. They had watched me moving and said that I obviously knew exactly what I was doing and that I knew what my body needed and it was obviously very successful. I told them to take it up too!
The nurse started to show me an exercise to help my breathing. I showed her mine and she apologised and said to follow my own rather than hers (which was basically arm waving with no foundation in the rest of the body). And over and above everything else was the focus and concentration on breathing when I needed to distance myself from needles, monitors, incipient panic, busy wards and controlled chaos.
I just wanted to let you all know the value of what we have been doing all these years and the sum of knowledge we have accumulated to be able to adapt tai chi to the very varied circumstances we might have to meet.’
I continue to enjoy your newsletters and wish you all the best.
Dr Lam replies:
I am so happy that tai chi has been helping you. I would like to suggest you try my Tai Chi for Rehabilitation and let me know how it goes!
Product of the Month Review Prize Winners
This month’s winners are:
Product: Tai Chi for Beginners: Lesson #2 Digital Download
Posted By: Karl
"Everything is well explained and well detailed - Each part of the movement is repeated many times. You can profit from different views, left and right at the same time - Some other basics are given. I only want one thing: to go further! awesome"
Product: Tai Chi for Energy - Relax, Refresh and Revitalize - Free Lesson Below
Posted By: Raymond Williams
"Very well done easy to follow directions ... Thank you so much .. Everyone who watches this video will benefit beyond their expectations Thank you."
Congratulations Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Australia) or email@example.com (USA) to receive your prize.
Tai Chi After the Fall
Bev Thompson, Participant, Lake Geneva
I have been a student of Tai Chi Lake Geneva with teacher Johnny Packard for 2 years.
Recently, I fell and fractured my left shoulder- and was reminded that tai chi helps prevent falling, but my injury has brought my realization to: “what about tai chi after the fall?”
May I share these with you:
The day after the fall I continued with my morning routine-- with Tai Chi for Arthritis being the exception.
In closing-- there is no doubt that tai chi and qigong as had a huge part in my healing, has benefited my physical therapy. I am so grateful, Dr Lam, for your work, teaching, DVDs-- not just for me but for all you have helped and continued to help.
- Warm up exercises felt wonderful-- the slow stretches were so therapeutic.
- Chi Gong: I began visualizing my left arm doing the movements, this resulted in a slower practice, actually feeling the energy-- the rest of my body seemed to again respond & come alive.
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation, I am eternally grateful that Johnny taught this form and that I had your DVD! What you said on the DVD and what Johnny teaches became truth for me: to embrace ourselves, doing something good for ourselves. I always smile when doing this form.
- Fast forward to 6 weeks after the fall, I am now doing TCA-- it was like meeting up with an old friend, just pick up where you left off-- it has strengthened my legs, helped me with my balance, increased my concentration, and to let a “slip up” pass and move on.
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The Shooting Star of Our Better Selves
Johnny Packard, Instructor, Lake Geneva
I walk through a still, black morning to the terrace at Eastover for one last practice. For the past 5 days I have spent 45 minutes before breakfast doing Qigong and Tai Chi, looking to the east over the Housatonic River at the Berkshires. During each practice, the sun cleared the tree-clad mountains, the mist lifted and blew off the river, and a gaggle of geese flew over, honking loudly as they altered their course to avoid me. Today that won’t happen. I’m returning home after a week of training in Dr Lam’s Sun 73 Master Class. I find myself on the verge of tears as an abyss opens within me. New friendships forged, old ones deepened, ideas shared, and seeds sown-- that’s all vanishing. My dedication to self-improvement has been so rewarding and my personal growth profound, but I know that re-entry will test my best self with airports, sleeplessness, a Presidential election, and responsibilities to a business and a family. So one last time I show up to practice.
Beneath the slender sickle moon, I place my feet shoulder width apart and breathe deeply the cold dark air, allowing my wrists to lead hands and arms upwards to shoulder height. I exhale and my elbows grow heavy, bringing my hands closer to each other and my chest, fingers pointing to the inky heavens. I take another breath, and my being fills with the richness of my time here, my hands expanding to in front of my shoulders, faintly expressing all I have experienced. I breathe out, and as my stay here ends and hands close, a red shooting star flits across a tiny segment of the sky, extinguishing as quickly as my time at Eastover.
We attend week-long Tai Chi workshops for many reasons: to improve our Tai Chi, to socialize, to gain teaching skills, to see new places, and to refresh and renew. Those reasons and a TCHC scholarship were what brought me to my first week-long in St. Louis in 2014, and after that experience there was no way I couldn’t return the 2 following years.
I came to the Master Class at Eastover thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, who heard my talk “How to Brighten a Thousand Skies” about teaching Tai Chi in jail. I don’t know and probably never will understand fully my benefactor’s reasons for bestowing such a humbling gift. I did realize that I had to be open to all possibilities if I was going to understand why I was there, and what I was supposed to bring back. It’s clear now that my answer was in that final practice before I left.
We are our best selves, our open-kind-courageous-loving selves, for brief moments in our lives, before the vast darkness of petty emotions and mundane realities swallows our best qualities whole. However when we show up each day, whatever the circumstances, open to the possibility that we can be our best selves again, the heavens reward us with transcendent moments that burn as bright and beautiful as a red shooting star through the loneliest of nights.
Show up each day, do your best, affirm the best in all others, and you and all those around you will be better for it.
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My Tai Chi Miracle
Kim Johnston, ST, Iowa
I grew up on a farm in Southeast Iowa and spent most of my time outside and with
our animals. Although I was always busy and loved riding my bike I was never an
athlete and never considered that someday I would actually teach something like
My physical health brought me to tai chi, my mental health inspired me to teach tai chi.
Tai chi has saved me: my life, my health and my spirit. It has given me a quality of life that I have not had for as long as I can remember or maybe not ever.
I have suffered from Anxiety Syndrome for as long as I can remember. Over the years as I became an adult the anxiety would manifest itself in different ways and along with it came depression. By my late 20’s I was had anxiety attacks pretty frequently and by my 40’s almost daily. If the anxiety attacks didn’t happen during the day, they happened at night. By the age of 50….the panic attacks happened most nights. I’ve been to my regular doctor, psychiatrists, psychologists and various counselors along the way, this included many different prescription medications and some would mask the anxiety but nothing “fixed” it.
Besides dealing with the anxiety, the death of my parents, health concerns with my husband AND my daughters becoming grown women and leaving the house (which I found to be devastating), my knees hurt. I was trying to be more active, to get “moving” but it was painful. Everyone, including Oprah and Dr Oz said: Get up, get exercise, go for a walk. So I was trying to do that but my knees weren’t cooperating and I had a shoulder that was not only painful but had become seriously limited in range of motion. So the day came that I was given a small piece of paper that had information about Tai Chi for Health & Arthritis. It said, come try tai chi and so I did.
I liked being with the people in the class, it was fun and it was an activity I could do. After 3 months of doing Tai Chi for Arthritis I noticed that I was having some relief in my knees, my shoulder had almost full range of motion again, wow!! More weeks passed by I realized that besides my joints feeling better my anxiety attacks were becoming less frequent. I was learning to do the breathing at home following what I had been taught in class. When I felt anxious I would do the breathing and that alone would stop the attack. Over the past years even a bad dream would send me into an anxiety attack but it became a second nature to me that when I felt stressed/anxious/fearful, I would do the breathing. I found myself doing it almost sub-consciously! It was a miracle!!!!!
It has been 6 years now and I have not had an actual anxiety attack for over 5 years. My knees feel better and I’ve been able to add more exercise into my life. I have been teaching since 2002 and my friend Lisa that started this journey with me, teaches tai chi with me. With the trainings that we have been to for our certifications we have become a part of the Tai Chi for Health family and had classes with Dr. Lam himself.
Because of Tai Chi for Health my health is completely different from when I started: my knees are pain free most days, my left shoulder is no longer a problem, my blood pressure was lower, before Tai Chi I was at my doctor at least once a month – now I seem to see him once a year for my physical. I use the Dan Tien breathing as my stress medication now, I no longer take any type of prescription. My hope and dream is that tai chi will always be a part of my life now…….whether I’m teaching it or doing it. I want to always share it and hope that maybe it will help someone else because for me, it has saved my life.
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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health
Doctor Bob McBrien, Salisbury, Maryland, USA
During a discussion session at his "Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Diabetes" workshop, Dr. Lam used examples from Positive Psychology to add depth to our understanding of ways to encourage our tai chi students and ourselves. Several years ago Harvard University was in the news regarding a psychology class that drew over 1,000 students each time it was offered. , “Positive Psychology and the Science of Happiness,” investigated how healthy humour contributes to well-being. Psychology is considered to be a bio-psycho-social-spiritual field of study among academics. No surprise to me, humour has been identified as a critical factor to "subjective well-being."
Our happiness quotient includes the quality of our relationships. We remember that it was Victor Borge who said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two persons."
Once again we take advantage of the innocence of children to enjoy non-toxic humour and the delight we experience when we laugh.
School children in first grade (about 6 years old) responded to their teachers request to finish famous sayings with these answers:
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- An idle mind is..................The best way to relax
- A penny saved is....................... Not much
- Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry…...And you have to blow your nose
- If at first you don't succeed.........Get new batteries
- Don't bite the hand that..............Looks dirty
- Better to be safe than..............Punch a 5th grader
- Never underestimate the power of ....Termites
- A bird in the hand ......Will poop on you
- When the blind lead the blind ....Get out of the way
- Better late than .... Pregnant
END OF NEWSLETTER
Warning: Dr Lam does not necessarily endorse the opinion of other authors. Before practicing any program featured in this newsletter, please check with your physician or therapist. The authors and anyone involved in the production of this newsletter will not be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any injury which may arise as a result of following the instructions given in this newsletter.