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Enjoy 2016 with the help of tai chi!
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Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter 
- Issue Number 173, January 2016

Hello <<First Name>>

In this issue: Happy New Year!

Looking back over 2015 I am amazed by how much our tai chi family has grown and flourished. Part of the reason for this dates back more than two years, when I retired from medicine. At that point I changed my life quite significantly, giving more time to tai chi and my workshops. I was able to spend more time working with Instructors and Master Trainers who in turn had more to share with their participants. 

At the same time I spent more time with Tai Chi Productions, creating new educational initiatives and opportunities. Previously I had been happy to stay out of the business arena, but now I realise how important good communication and customer service can be. The 40% discount in November and December was my initiative; so was the special offer for January 2016.

One indication that my extra efforts is that my YouTube videos have been now been viewed 6,112,062 times! Hey everyone, keep practicing!

A wonderful bonus has been an increase in my own strength and flexibility. I used tai chi principles to turn the physically challenging four day trek on the Inca Trail into qi cultivation!  Those four days without internet gave me an even greater appreciation of nature.  Last week (and for the first time ever) I deliberately chose to do my tai chi practice outside, on the edge of a tornado!  Read more.

Thanks to all of you who told me how much you enjoyed reading my December article about my Machu Picchu trip.

Veronica Ashcroft from the UK wrote:"Thank you for the remarkable account of your mountain climb to Machu Picchu. Truly inspirational, and an amazing demonstration of the power of Qi and tai chi principles. I often use the climbing a mountain analogy for the tai chi journey, now I have some links to give people so that they can read about and see one literally, for themselves - TCA works for all to see!"
 
Last year I visited the amazing Canyon Ranch Institute in Tucson, Arizona. I also gave a talk at the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health. You can now see their video of my presentation on their website.
 
This is the time to make those New Year Resolutions, and mine is to ALWAYS make time for my own tai chi practice.  If you are thinking along similar lines (and if not, why not?) I have a special incentive for you.  For January 2016 we are offering free shipping to ANYWHERE in the world!  I would love to hear your feedback on this offer. 
 
This Month’s Special:  Have a great start to the New Year with free postage on ANY order, ANYWHERE in the world! Offer expires 30 January. Please use coupon code JANFS when ordering.

Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
 
January 2016

March 2016

May

 
June 2016

July 2016

September 2016

October 2016

Other workshops by my authorised Master Trainers are displayed on the Master Trainer Workshop Calendar
 

 
Tai Chi in the Rain
Dr Paul Lam
 
I love the song “Singing in the Rain”, it is so cool walking in the rain.  Recently I deliberately walked into the rain for the first time to practice tai chi and it was a great experience but how did it happen?
 
Our tai chi school, Better Health Tai Chi Chuan has a break for Christmas and during the break I practice with our members and anyone else who cares to join each Tuesday in the beautiful Carrs Park.  This Tuesday by 6 pm the weather looked bad, overcast with drizzle.  I hesitated but went anyway.  As I drove to the car park Debbie was right behind me, and as we walked into the Park Kay was already there.  It started raining more heavily but Wendy and Dianne came, so there were five of us in the small shed amongst the tables and desks.  We chatted and we started practicing.
 
I was telling them how I practice my tai chi every three hours when I fly in the confined space of an airline seat.  I told them this was luxurious – we were able to stand up and move within the little square we were standing on. We did our warm ups and a couple of sets. Feeling confined, Debbie said “Let’s go outside, so what if it is raining?”  One by one we joined her. Just like when I am on a flight, I really enjoyed finding a real space to practice.  I felt a special freedom with the entire park to move around! 
 
It brought me back to my Inca Trail trip, trekking at 4000 meters in the rain! (Read my last month's article)  The trees were swaying in the wind and the rain poured down from a solemn dark sky. It was beautifully serene. The entire environment was so different from my usual practice. In fact the overcast sky and pouring rain could be felt as miserable. But like the rain in the Inca Trail, but in a different way, the challenging environment challenged my qi and it fought back with more inner strength, as I felt a special power surge within me.  My tai chi grew in the rain - it was magical. I hope you can join us one day at the beautiful Carrs Park, in Kogarah Bay.
 
What we did not know was that a short distance away one of the biggest ever tornados was hitting Kurnell Bay! Were we glad the tornado was not at Carrs Park! Please don't follow our example unless you are sure the weather is warm, your doctor approves it, and you have wonderful friends around you. Be sure you have quick access to a hot shower and warm clothes right after. Very importantly, check the weather forecast - don’t do your practice during a tornado!
 
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(Dr Lam receives many letters.  Each month we feature one, and he answers any questions raised)
 
A Letter to Dr Lam, Veronica Dobie, Instructor, Finley, Australia
 
Wheelchair?  No thanks. Bring on Kings Canyon!
 
There are some things that are meant to be and one of the things that happened in my life which has had a dramatic impact on my health and wellbeing, is the practice of tai chi. It really has been quite transformational and I guess that I never would have dreamed that not only would I be practicing tai chi on a regular basis, but that there was also so many wonderful benefits coming my way. It’s a story worth sharing and I’d like to tell you about it.
 
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis some time back and told I would be in a wheelchair at some time in the not too distant future. I was pretty much bed-ridden and surfaced for hydrotherapy over a period of about 8 months. Then I discovered tai chi through the Arthritis Foundation and started classes. By the 12 month mark I was walking a lot more easily.
 
A number of other people in the class were pretty impressed by my progress with tai chi and wanted to know why I was doing so well, when they felt they weren’t progressing. I would invariably ask how often they practiced and invariably the answer was, they didn’t. My answer to their questions was that I practiced every day, as the alternative was a wheelchair.

At around this time we purchased a caravan with the intention of seeing some of Australia while we could. We lived in our caravan and travelled for 5 years and even though I was travelling, this wasn’t an excuse to stop my practice. That is one of the real beautiful aspects of tai chi; you can practice it anywhere and that I did. Right across Australia and sometimes with very curious onlookers! It was with some difficulty that I walked and climbed up and down the steps at the Lava Tubes on the Savannah Way (about 200 ks inland west of Innisfail in QLD) but I did it and many other walks as well!
 
In our last year of travel we went up the centre of Australia and I was able to do the 4 ½ hour walk into Kings Canyon. Again, it wasn’t easy, but I did it and a number of other walks including The Window to the World out from Kalbarri looking over the Murchison River in WA.
 
I now live in Finley, a lovely little country town and I went to classes there until I was asked to start training as a Leader, and what a journey. This has been a highlight of my life and a big win – win. Not only do I get to do something I love but I have the opportunity to help others.
 
In the last 12 months I have had a pacemaker fitted and the Specialist’s comment was that if I hadn’t been doing tai chi I would have been very ill. Then in December last year I had a complete accident and fell breaking both my legs. Again, the surgeon said that because of Tai Chi my muscles were strong enough to support the bones as I could not have screws and plates because of Osteoporosis.
 
Once I was in the wheelchair I started teaching my classes again and it not only helped me to cope but also strengthened my belief and that of others in the class that tai chi as something that really works!  Needless to say I am now fully recovered.
 
I have been doing Tai Chi now for about 13 years and look forward to many more years doing the classes and practicing Tai Chi for myself as well.
 
The classes I and another MLHD Tai Chi Volunteer run in Finley are on Thursday and Friday mornings at 9.30 at the local RS Club. This club looks after us very well.
 
Needless to say I recommend tai chi for all sorts of positive benefits and you are never too old or too young to start practicing it  - daily or near daily!
 
Dr Lam replies:
 
Well done Veronica!  You are an amazing testimonial to the power of qi!  I can really relate to your story, especially after my four day hike on the Inca Trail.  Not only have you improved your health through tai chi, now you are also helping others.  Keep it up!
 
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Fostering Health through Tai Chi
Susan Thompson, Instructor, Texas, USA

I have had the good fortune to be able to introduce your Tai Chi for Health programs to over 270 occupational and physical therapists in the last two months.  This has been an exciting and rewarding experience! 

At one venue I used a Tai Chi form to emphasize motor planning.  It was exhilarating to see 231 occupational and physical therapists moving together in silent concentration.  They were surprised at the simplicity and complexity of Tai Chi form, and the levels of concentration it required. CLICK for 20-second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoYb1n2DJ10

The next venue was a Tai Chi for Rehabilitation workshop for occupational and physical therapists.  This workshop emphasized the extensive medical research now supporting Tai Chi as an evidenced based practice (EBP).  Evidenced Based Practice is required by our Medicare system.  This stipulation by Medicare supports the use of Tai Chi as a therapeutic intervention. Therapists were encouraged to use the principles of Tai Chi for improving daily function in those with physical disabilities.  CLICK 1 minute photo slide show: https://vimeo.com/145984603

Out of the 40 participants, 27 signed up as wanting to be certified by a Master Trainer in the future!  Perhaps most rewarding, was the unexpected (and unsolicited) testimonials from the therapists in the days that followed:
 
“Hi dear friend!  I use the open and close, also in sitting. Now my patient is able to stand from a higher level chair after so many years of sitting!  Thanks for being good teacher.  Enjoyed the class a lot. See you in December.”  --Begie, PT

“I have a patient with peripheral neuropathy of both feet.  She uses an astringent in the morning to clean her face.  When she closes her eyes to apply the astringent, she falls over.  She leans up against a corner to not fall down.  I taught her the Tai Chi stance and the weight transfer from the warm up.  She came back the next session very excited.  By using the Tai Chi stance, she is now able to apply her facial cleaner with her eyes closed and not fall down!  The next session, she threw her cane aside and said, ‘I’m ready to get rid of that thing! I am ready to get stronger.’  Thank you so much.  It is great having a new therapeutic tool that works!”  --Ann, PT
Thank you, Dr Lam, for a gift that continues to expand and give.  
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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health

Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, MD, USA

A wise person said you do not stop laughing because you are growing old; you grow old because you stop laughing.

The pun is considered the highest and lowest form of humor. Why is it considered to be one of the highest forms?  Because it takes creativity to deliver the 'punch line' in a pun. Why is it considered by some to be a low form?  As newsletter readers know hearing a pun often triggers a groan followed the response, 'that is a terrible joke'( at the same time laughing). This is why puns are also called 'groaners'.

 A well-crafted pun can bring on a smile, a chuckle or a laugh. Here are ten:
1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The flight attendant looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger'.
2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says ’Dam!'
3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft.  Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says 'I've lost my electron'. The other says 'Are you sure?' The first replies 'Yes, I'm positive'.
5. Did you hear about the Buddhist monk who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal was to transcend dental medication.
6. A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.
7. I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down.
8. My friend's bakery burned down last night. Now his business is toast.
9. Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
 
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Yours in Tai Chi,
 

 
Paul Lam
Director, Tai Chi for Health Institute
http://www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/
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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. 
Sign up now for March Melbourne Tai Chi for Rehabilitation Workshop
Dr Paul Lam wishing you Happy New Year with a Tai Chi for Health Pose (Single Whip Sun style) on New Year Day at Miranda, Sydney, Australia.
I have worked with so many wonderful tai chi instructors!
Sharing tai chi with thousands this year!
Many friends from around the world
We play tai chi anywhere with anyone, young and old, outside the hotels, next to markets, inside a plane...
At the peony garden
At the ancient wall at Xian, China.
Dr Lam and Aileen at the Sydney workshop
At Lund, Sweden with Amanda
At Portland, USA
At Wisconsin
At Chile, South America
Midyear in Sydney
Manchester UK
My mobile phone camera was smeared by rain drop, you can make up five of us looking very pleased with ourselves.
We have no idea about the tornado and its damage worst at Kurnell, not far from us.
At the launching of my memoir Born Strong
At the Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis workshop in Tucson, Arizona, USA
Times Square, New York City
Terracotta Warriors
Veronica Dobie, from Finley, Australia
At the University of Lund, Sweden
From the harbour Cooperhagen
Jerry and Paul in China
At Chile, South America
Gigantic status at Long Grottoes
San Francisco
Sydney January workshop
Wisconsin master class
At Chile, South America
Susan Thompson's class
Susan at the left
Social evening at Sydney January workshop
Ohio, USA
Machu Picchu South America
Drs Bob and Paul at Albany, NY, USA Sept 2015
Sydney tai chi workshop
Sydney tai chi workshop
Singapore
Manchester UK
Cusco, Peru
China
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