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The American College of Physicians recognizes the benefits of t'aiji for back pain

"in class, we move hands like clouds and when we leave class, we walk on clouds" 

In a nutshell, the piece summarizes a recent study reported on this past April, about the benefits of t'ai chi in improving balance and alleviating arthritic pain.  This is a finding that has been reported on repeatedly, but it never hurts to remind ourselves.  I believe that improved balance is perhaps the most striking and confirmable benefit of regular t'ai chi practice.  

Re back pain:  
A report that came out earlier in the year --  The scientific community seldom recognizes t'ai chi among the mindfulness techniques.

Anyway,  there was an exception recently.   The American College of Physicians published last spring a new study re back pain.   Basically, it states  that someone suffering pain should not "medicalize" the problem -- in other words, don't go the route of X-rays, MRIs and def not opioids.  But DO go the non-medical route.

to quote:  For patients with ch…
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a season's greetings card

a season's greetings card

We can all feel it -- the coming into the major holiday season which will culminate in an eternally  hyped up New Years.   It's, as oft-noted, very commercial,  ironically materialistic  and the season  sometimes feels like just too much!  (If I hear the little drummer boy piped into the supermarket one more time kind of thing)   

But there's a lot of fun stuff, --  joyful giving and receiving of gifts, the  coming together to eat food that's not good for you, just in general  "being merry"  on the streets, in friends'  homes.  

But, well.   sigh.  deep sigh.    sometimes there's a sadness mixed in.  

Many of us remember happier times,  or feel more sharply,  losses that have occurred over the past year. and before.   The holidays can be as difficult as they can be merry.     

I've drawn from the Taoist philosopher,  Lao Tzu, who is one of those thinkers and writers  to whom practitioners of the Taoist arts (of which t'ai …

World t'aichi and qigong day. It's around the corner!

On this eve of Thanxgiving 2019,   I'm finished shopping for the dish I plan on making for tomorrow's feast -- simply roasted caramelized veggies -- and I find myself with a little free time.   

So I begin to noodle around on-line looking for the date of next year's 
World T'aichi  Day(WTCD)  and voila!   It's the last Saturday in April,  aka  April 25.   

My class and I have been chatting for a couple years now about possibly hosting our own demonstration/class in honor of this banner day.  And something in my bones tells me that next year,  that is 2020,  is it!   

What shall we do?  Teach some of our favorite qi-gong moves?   Introduce people to the opening two moves of the Yang form?  We'll all practice the first third?  Or should we play "In a Landscape" one of our oft-played works of gentle, slightly eccentric pieces of music and engage everyone who stops by in "Water?"   This is one of everyone's favorite exercises, where two people p…

Tips on life

Some final prescriptions from the Lou Reed international Tai Chi Day

The impresario of this day-long event and celebration was Laurie Anderson.  Anderson is known of course for her pithy,  wry and wildly inventive performance art.  But on
 this mild summer day at the Brooklyn Public Library day she wasn’t in her performance mode — at least not at first.  LAnderson led the early comers  (of whom there were at least 100) in a meditation.  But unlike most meditation leaders she didn’t stay quiet!  True to herself and here’s where her irrepressible propensity for performance came in Anderson  talked through our 20 minute meditation almost constantly.  But no one seemed to mind.  Laurie was hilarious and wise And she left us with a few pithy,  wry words of advice

1.      Don’t be afraid of anyone

2.    Get a really good bs detector and learn how to use it
3.    Be really tender 

Are these in any way connected to t’ai chi?  I think they fit 

As the summer winds slowly down and we resume the hectic lives of busy New Yorkers and
before the slipping into our fall gear is fully realized,  let me just post a couple pics from the 1st ANNUAL LOU REED TAI CHI DAY!  About a half dozen of us met for a picnic, some qi gong, and then a wow of a performance choreographed by Laurie Anderson and her wondrous partner and husband -- alas,  deceased -- Lou Reed.   The bandshell was literally throbbing with his ambient music.   It was overpowering,  thrilling.  and for a brief moment I thought of downloading some of it for our classes.  Then I thought,  no,  it's too much.  Then I thought why not.  So we will probably try it.

Anyway,   here are some pics.    Thank you Ting for bringing such delicious treats!  Thank you Alex for demonstrating your soccer moves and keeping two energetic boys enthralled,  thank you Nancy and Michael -- it was such a great evening!

We will def repeat it next year!

A few quotes from Lou's journals, whi…
My July post is going to be brief.  It's just too hot and impossible  for in depth post-making.   So,  a very short note which may give you some pause.  There's the  phrase in t'ai chi,  "fighting based on softness."   In today's world, this may be more metaphor than prescription  How many of us need to physically fend off enemies, or prepare for battle?  I hope its very very few!

 (though we still have a military mindset in this country,  that's based. on literal heavy artillery.  We're in the mindset in this particular moment in our nation history particularly that we have to fight aggression with physical aggression but that's probably a digression)   

So,  the point to maybe meditate on.  Why does fighting have to be hard?   Why does one need to combat ones enemy with force?  The idea of fighting aggression with softness.  It's quite something isn't it?

stay cool...

 And,  hey let's bring this thought to the LOU REED TAI CHI DAY.  …

One health benefit of t'aichi and qi gong

I'm passing along a well-researched newsletter, published every few months by one of my former teachers,  Dr. Yang.

He is a true scholar of the research that is being conducted on the effects and benefits of taiji and qi gong.   Indeed he holds a Ph.D in kinesiology and has become versed in how and why t'aichi works to improve our overall health and sense of well being.  And he drilled us in "Santi" floor work.  So if you ever wonder why you're standing and practicing santi over and over,  fretting over your foot placement,  you have Dr. Yang to thank!

The current newsletter includes a particularly interesting  study on the effect of t'aiji on the condition known as COPD,  a lung impairment, which causes intense difficulty breathing.

Passing it along for your information.

best wishes,