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Showing posts from 2019

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

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

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 journal
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 CH

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, Susan

SOMOS_a health fair where Qi Gong was on the menu

I was honored to be invited to present examples of Qi Gong to an audience of New York City's Hispanic and Chinese-American communities.    It was sponsored by the non-profit SOMOS , an interesting forward thinking collective of MDs seeking to improve healthy life style and outcomes for the poorer residents of our community.     At the end of a scrumptious vegan lunch,  I took the floor and invited everyone to stand up next to their tables  and learn the basic posture, and more.  I was surprised that the most avid participants was a sizable group of children! They caught on like lightening,  unlocking their joints as instructed and grasping my exhortations to ,  experience the contrasting yin and yang in their bodies.    And of course a few adults dared to stand up and try it too.  
A serious question:  Is there a t'ai chi exercise for when you're on hold with tech support? We've all been there.  It's the chore that you probably put behind cleaning out the fridge or changing the sheets.  You maybe procrastinate. But you know,  on all levels, that you can't really put it off too long.  You really need the use of your printer/cellphone/cable TV.  The "it will wait" conversation with yourself won't be believable.  You need help. So you take the plunge.  And right at the get-go, you're probably placed on hold.  You may be subjected to a form of modern muzak.  To protect yourself, you put your phone on speaker mode and attempt to pay some bills. Then someone -- after perhaps 15 minutes -- answers the phone.  A real human human being, albeit following a tightly written script.  But you're thrilled.  And you begin.  You're blithely pressing this button or that,  as per the tech rep's instructions, and then, aft