Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter
- Issue Number 175, March 2016
Hello <<First Name>>
In this issue:
This month by popular demand I bring you Part Three of my article “How to Cultivate and Integrate Yi, Qi and Jing. Thanks to all those who have told me how much they appreciated it.
I begin a new series this month too – extracts from my memoir, Born Strong. So many people have told me how much they enjoyed my writing, so I decided to sit down and read it myself! Looking at the stories from the perspective of the reader, not the author is an experience – I didn’t expect to be transported back to those early days, I thought I had put those emotions to rest, but quickly I became involved, almost wanting to turn the page and find out what happened next!
Have I told you how great the June Workshop will be? It will be the 33rd Annual Workshop (including Sydney) and this June at the beautiful Cincinnati University we have 13 classes including new topics like Silk Reeling by Dan Jones.
If you haven’t been yet you need to experience the wonderful feeling of working with experienced instructors and interacting and sharing the tai chi energy from all the participants. No matter what class you chose, you are going to learn more than you expect. As well as that you will meet inspiring people. There will be talks on various topics such as how to improve your tai chi and have fun.
You will laugh until you cry at the Talent Show, then there are the evening seminars and other activities. I am sure you would leave with uplifted spirits and plenty of tai chi energy to be developed for the next twelve months, and wanting to come back again next year.
Do hurry to enrol as soon as you can; we are 80% subscribed. I will give you a free DVD of your choice if you bring a friend – and I will give your friend one too! All you have to do is introduce this workshop to someone who hasn’t been before. If they enrol then write to Becky Rahe with yours and your friend’s names and during the workshop you will both be able to collect your DVDs.
You may notice that my name pops up on almost every article in this newsletter! That is because I have so many exciting things to share with you, including a landmark study on Tai Chi for Arthritis, which just can’t wait for April! To top this, here is a YouTube clip of my welcome message "Embracing Diversity" at the 32th annual tai chi workshop in Sydney. I do enjoy sharing your news and stories though, so don’t forget to send them to my editor,
This Month’s Special
Tai Chi for Arthritis is our core program, backed by Arthritis Foundations around the world, and recommended as an intervention for Fall Prevention by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the world’s largest health regulatory body. For the month of March received a 20% discount when you purchase the Tai Chi for Arthritis DVD. Please use coupon code TCAMAR20 when ordering. Offer expires 31 March. Not to be used with any other discount.
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
- Annual Pre Conference Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Energy by Dr Paul Lam, June 4, United States, OH, Cincinnati
- USA One Week Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, June 6, United States, Ohio, Cincinnati
- Dr Paul Lam's Master Class for Yang 24 and Sun 73 Forms, June 13, United States, Ohio, Cincinnati
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis by Dr Paul Lam, July 7, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Osteoporosis Instructor Training Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Arthritis Part 2 Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam with Optional Depth of 24 Forms, July 15, New Zealand, Taupo
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, September 1, United Kingdom, Manchester
- Tai Chi for Energy 2 Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, September 3, United Kingdom, Manchester
- Depth of Chen 36 with Dr Paul Lam, September 5, United Kingdom, Manchester
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Energy, September 16, United States, NY, Colonie
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Diabetes by Dr. Paul Lam, September 17, United States, NJ, Liberty Corner
- Dr Paul Lam's Master Class for Sun 73 and Chen 36 Forms, North Andover, MA, September 21, United States, MA
Other workshops by my authorised Master Trainers are displayed on the Master Trainer Workshop Calendar
- 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
Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, MD
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A Very Significant Study on Tai Chi for Arthritis
Dr Paul Lam
I am very excited to tell you about the largest study on Tai Chi for Arthritis by Dr Leigh Callahan and colleagues at the University of North Carolina.
Thanks to Caroline Demoise for being the master trainer in charge of the tai chi training, and for sending me news of this remarkable study which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the Arthritis Foundation as collaborators.
Briefly: 343 individuals were randomized to either the intervention (learning Tai Chi for Arthritis) or wait-list control group. Performance and self-reported outcome (SRO) measures were assessed at baseline and eight weeks. At one year, SROs only were assessed. Adjusted means were determined using regression models adjusting for covariates, and effect sizes (ES) were calculated.
Results: Average participant age was 66 years, 87% were female, and 87% were Caucasian. Among 284 (83%) participants who returned at eight weeks, balance by reach (ES = 0.30) and helplessness, sleep, and role participation satisfaction (ES = 0.24–0.54) improved significantly; pain, fatigue, and stiffness improvement (ES = 0.15–0.23) approached significance. No change was noted in mobility, lower extremity strength, or single-leg stance balance. At one year, improvements in pain, fatigue, stiffness, helplessness, and role participation satisfaction at eight weeks were maintained; 30% continued tai chi practice.
Conclusion: Moderate effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program was confirmed.
Put in layman’s terms, this means that not only did many participants demonstrate significant improvement in their health and wellness, but also 30% of them continued to practice tai chi after only eight weeks of lessons, the majority of them wanted to continue but cannot find a suitable tai chi class! This is a very exciting recognition of the health benefits of Tai Chi for Arthritis. You can read more about it at this link
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Revisiting Born Strong
Dr Paul Lam
I picked up my memoir and began reading it last week. Of course after forty drafts and six years I remember everything I wrote but reading the book is different. It transported me back to the past.
Growing up as the lowest being in a little village, with no hope, narrowly surviving starvation, it made me take a clearer perspective on my life at my present life. The last few months have been challenging; going back to my earlier life helps to overcome these challenges. I thought I would share some of this with you, if you like it let me know and I shall do that over the next few months.
I will share with you my experience of discrimination and school bullies. My experience in Hong Kong where I was the victim of the school bully brought me back. It was a painful reminder of my childhood in China. Back in China my life was very cheap, and the bullying was much more vicious.
Many members of my tai chi family told me quite emotionally about their own experiences of bullying and that of their children. I can remember my son being bullied because his language challenge. Conversely my daughter was the opposite – bullied through jealousy because of her extraordinary achievements. Neither of them were nowhere near the degree some of you and I were, but it affected me deeply.
Looking back I can see that those challenges helped them to grow, but just as there is yin there is always yang, they left some damage. When we are able to see a clearer perspective, we can use our tai chi skill to balance things leading our life to harmony to develop more inner strength. With the right perspective it is easy to be more mindful of the moment, and to taste the delicious energy of being alive.
From Born Strong:
Discrimination is insidious. It passes subconsciously from generation to generation in most cultures around the world. Very often the underlying feeling of what classes are low is planted in childhood and stays with people throughout their lives without them even realising that it is discriminatory.
In many schools, bullying someone gives people a sense of power. Once Win Kwan made me a ready-made victim, the boys had great fun with me as their target. Hardly anyone talked to me and they played tricks on me – putting dirt on my chair, throwing my bags away, and making my assignments mysteriously disappear.
Few realise the immense psychological damage to the bullying victim. It felt so lonely to be socially ostracised. Adding insult to injury, the experience brought back the horrible memories from my childhood. This time I suffered all alone in a foreign country without Aunt’s comfort. The experience made me miss her so desperately. I had left my entire world behind and now my new world made me an outcast.
At the end of that year the school awarded me a medallion for achieving first place for the year. I felt so depressed that I threw it out with the garbage.
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How to Cultivate and Integrate Yi, Qi and Jing - Part Three
Also known as "Sexual energy" by Dr Paul Lam
© Dr Paul Lam 2000, all rights reserved, exception for educational and non-profit purposes. For example, you can forward to your contacts by email or make copies for your paying students as long as you don’t charge for the copy.
(Part Two appeared in the February 2016 issue)
2. A Controlling Ball in the Dan tian.
Imagine that inside your Dan Tian there is a ball, which is almost like a computer track ball. Visualise using this ball controlling the whole body and moving correspondingly with the body. So imagine your body moves in a curve, take for example in Yang style’s Parting White Horses Mane. Your waist turns first to the left and then to the right and your hands open up. The Qi ball inside moves simultaneously in the same direction but in smaller scale.
In Chen style, when the body is moving in a spiral with the silk reeling force (chan suu jin), the inner Qi ball turns likewise. Spiral movements in the upper limbs consist of twining wrists, elbows and shoulders, and in the lower limbs, twining ankles, knees and hips in a spiral curve. The track ball moves inside correspondingly in a much smaller scale. It also works like a computer, the Qi ball leads the body.
The track ball is the centre of Jing. Controlling the whole body will move the Jing energy to these parts of the body, an essential step to convert Jing to Qi.
3. Moving The Pelvis
The pelvis is like a bony cup and the Dan Tian is like fertile soil within that cup. Thus, the pelvis protects the Dan Tian. It makes sense that these vital sexual organs sit inside the safest area right at the centre of the body. Exercising the centre and its protective cup will enhance Jing. Move the cup by loosening the hip joint. Loosen the spine by stretching it vertically upward toward the Bai Hui and downward toward the Hui Yin (centre of the head and near the anus). Visualise the pelvis gently expand. This is hard to do as the pelvis is a fixed cup. But it will t loosen the muscles controlling the pelvis and enhance the circulation of blood and Qi in the area. The hip joints should be moving according to the body's movements. Visualise a chain reaction in motion, the track ball inside moves, which leads to the movement of the pelvis, which then moves the rest of the body.
Contracting and relaxing the perineum
The area between the anus and the sexual organs is the perineum. At its centre is the Hui Yin acupuncture point. Hui Yin means the meeting of yin energy. Gently contract this area as you breathe in, and at the same time very slightly lift your coccyx (the tip of the sacrum or the sitting bone). Relax it as you breathe out, and very slightly push the perineum down. Don’t force it down. As you push the perineum down, the area relaxes and loosens and at the same time contains a slight drawing up force. Another description is to concentrate on relaxing this area but not allowing it to be completely relaxed, as to exert a very slight contraction amidst the relaxation. Contracting and relaxing this area in coordination with breathing enhances the Jing and facilitates its conversion to Qi.
Jing, Yi and Qi Integration
Since Jing, Yi and Qi are all internal, they have several things in common. They are all something we’re born with. They are gifts of life. Being internal means that we are not consciously aware of them, and like the talent we are born with, we don’t appreciate them so much. Being aware of these gifts will enable us find methods to enhance them. As we develop stronger mind power and clarity of mind (yi), we can better master the Qi, and as our Qi grows stronger, so does our Jing. When we are treating the Jing correctly and converting the excess Jing to Qi, the Qi grows faster.
Each method of enhancing Yi, Qi and Jing also indirectly enhances the others. Bringing all three components to consciousness will naturally lead us to connect them and will integrate them without conscious effort. What really helps us to understand these components better is the practise of Tai Chi. Practise according to the essential principles and slowly these abstract points will become clear during the different stages of your practise.
The good thing about practising internal components is that you can do much of the practise internally. In other words, you can practise them practically anywhere‑while you’re sitting, sleeping, or waiting for an appointment - and of course, when you practice your forms.
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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
Janet Clark, Instructor, Ashfield, MA, USA
Although it was hard for me to get the Albany TCE2 Workshop, it has turned out to be important to my personal practice. It was a wonderful workshop, and I came away with deep lessons:
I was grateful for many lovely conversations with other participants about shoes, posture, teaching and grandchildren. At a luncheon conversation with two chemists and a horse owner, we discussed an atomic level theory about building chi. We all mentioned our energy interactions within our animal and human communities. This anchored Dr. Lam’s earlier comments to us that affirmed chi strength in facing conflict to spread peace.
- Slow down and do it right - an old lesson with new urgency. I am now doing many slow and smooth repetitions of "open and close", "tai chi walking", and "parting the wild horse's mane".
- Build chi - and old lesson with deeper insight - focus, breath, song, jing, compress the football and remember the pelvic floor, change pace for next wave. This answers some of my inappropriate questions about "envisioning" where the energy is. Every wave crest has an expression, and you did tell us some points of build and impact, which helps me. Clearly this is a life's work.
- Spiral - well I want to dance anyway, but will now try to make it continuous, gentle, small and internally generated.
I will do everything I can to spread TCA and TCE, and to deepen my ability. I have also bought the CD "The 24 Forms" from Tai Chi Productions. It is a reward for me – if I work hard.
Thank you Dr. Lam. May you live long and prosper.
Dr Lam replies:
Thank you Janet, I am so glad you enjoyed the workshop. I see you are a Star Trek fan, like me. May I suggest you boldly go where no tai chi teacher has been before to share you new skills with as many people as you can!
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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health
Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, MD, USA
Curiously, funny stories and jokes that fit the positive humour category are rare. I have discovered that the richest source of positive humour comes from children. They truly have a ‘beginner's mind’. We can laugh at their innocence, hear their stories, share the fun and no one is offended. Enjoy these stories from six-year-old children.
The view from first grade
*Little Bob was getting poor marks in first grade. One Monday morning he gave the teacher quite a surprise. Tapping her on the shoulder he said, "I don't want to scare you, but my daddy says if I don't get better grades, somebody is going to get a spanking".
*A popular television evangelist was in town to preach at a large auditorium. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy standing in front of his hotel where the post office was. When the boy had told him the preacher thanked him and said, "If you come to the Civic Center this evening, you can learn how to get to Heaven." "‘I don't think I'll be there," the boy said. "You don't even know your way to the post office.’"
*Johnny came home from his first day in first grade. His mother asked, "Johnny, what did you learn today?" He answered, "Not enough. They want me to come back tomorrow."
*Bobby came home from school and said to his mother, ‘Mom, today in school I was punished for something that I didn't do.’ The mother exclaimed, ‘But that's terrible! I'm going to have a talk with your teacher about this ... by the way, what was it that you didn't do?’ Bobby slowly replied, "My homework."
*The children were lined up for lunch in the cafeteria of a faith-based school. At the head of the lunch counter was a large platter of cupcakes. The cafeteria worker had made a sign, and posted on the tray: ‘Take only ONE. God is watching.’
*Moving further along, at the other end of the line was another large tray, this one was full of chocolate chip cookies. A hand written sign, obviously in a child's handwriting read, "Take all you want. God is watching the cupcakes."
If you have a great piece of humour to share, send it to me @ firstname.lastname@example.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.