Tai Chi and Qigong in Your Community

In a previous newsletter we talked about how important Tai Chi and Qigong can be for seniors as they age, providing a helpful means to stay strong, flexible and active.

We asked for your first hand experiences to share with the mind-body community and we would like to thank you for your phenomenal responses! We enjoyed hearing from instructors worldwide.

Here is a collection of feedback we would like to highlight. The positive impact of bringing Tai chi and Qigong to local communities is immeasurable — in community centers, retirement communities, nursing homes, hospitals and fitness centers across the continent and around the world. Thank you for making such a valuable difference in the lives and well-being of others.

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A. Joseph Wyse, certified to teach the Wu Style of Tai Chi in 2000 by Taoist Energy Arts Lineage Master B. K. Frantzis, shares:

I have “firsthand experience of the benefits of tai chi and qigong within [my] community.”

Certified in 2000 by the only known Lineage Master in Western civilization — Bruce Kumar Frantzis — I have taught the Wu style tai chi short form, as well as chi gung, in both Massachusetts and Iowa. I adapted these energy arts to assist students at Boston University to more successfully manage severe psychiatric symptoms, then moved to Iowa — to assist my severe-stroke-stricken father — where I have been introducing these ancient health arts to a more generic population since 2003.

I also use a questionnaire I developed to solicit potential benefits realized by my students toward the end of each 21-week course.
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Ardath writes: I have recently begun offering a one-hour Qigong class for people undergoing cancer treatment. It is through the Sutter Medical Foundation here in Santa Rosa. They have gathered together a group of practitioners (massage therapists, acupuncturists, yoga and art therapy teachers) who donate their services to the program. I have also been offering a Qigong class in a Quaker retirement community here for the past 5 years, and they really love it. I think it’s very important for all of us to reach out to these kinds of communities.

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Loretta Pavlick LPN, MQT

Regarding Tai Chi and Qigong, I teach several Qigong classes on a weekly basis and have for a number of years volunteered my time on weekends teaching Qigong to residents in area nursing homes.

Many of the residents have shared how good they feel after doing these exercises and look forward to my visits. Even those who are limited in their movements practice Qigong within their means and receive the same benefits. They are truly an inspiration.

Loretta Pavlick LPN, MQT

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Ariel Owen-Gray shares:

Yes I have lots of stories. Since 1998, I taught seniors Tai Chi in the Sun City, AZ area. The most amazing thing is those students that have committed and maintained regular attendance to my classes have remained independent until the end of their life. Yes we at Two Fishes Swimming have lots of wonderful stories about the elevated quality of life benefit of Tai chi for seniors.

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Richard Wing, Instructor/Trainer:

I have first hand experience of the benefits of heart coherent tai chi kung (we use English phonetic spelling for the Chinese sounds). My wife and I teach these moving meditations. We have students who have continued for 10 years, claiming that their health, harmony, and general life experience has grown more harmonious since beginning practice. Certainly that is so for us. We’re healthy septugenarians who use no pharmaceuticals and feel great.

Personal practice is a healing and harmonizing meditation, and group practice magnifies the harmony into a “Whole greater than the sum of its parts” composed of love, gratitude, joy, and appreciation. The fruit of practice is on-going lessons learned and blessings earned, until life transforms into a flow of wonders and miracles.

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I teach Tai Chi and Qigong at Senior Centers in my community. The benefits are numerous including fall prevention, balance improvement, stress reduction, blood pressure reduction, overall health and wellness. The seniors love our classes but also the social aspect of practicing together.

Darryl Manning
The Flowing Motion
Bridgeport, CT

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Roxanne Reynolds, T’ai Chi instructor, author, nutritional counselor, writes: I have been teaching tai chi and qigong to seniors and those with Parkinson’s disease for over 10 years in my community.

I don’t know of anything that works better for balance. The practice is so beneficial to the elders in our society because it is something they can do regardless of age or physical condition.


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My name is Michelle Grassi and I am an LMT based in Western Massachusetts and I’m also a Tai Chi/Qi Gong Instructor and Qi Gong Healer.

Through Tai Chi you learn how to stretch your muscles without over-stretching or strain bringing that muscle or muscle group back into normal function quicker. I teach many students the importance of self care and using Tai Chi as a means of their self care system. Through Tai Chi practice I have first hand experience with students that have increased their flexibility, calmed and gained control over their fibromialgia, lowered their cholesterol (30 points within 3 months!), relieved their migraine headaches without the use of medication, gained greater balance and confidence and of course everyone now sleeps better!

Tai Chi is an amazing resource to tap into your own natural power of healing and meditation. I express to everyone of all ages to start learning and practicing Tai Chi NOW! It will keep you youthful, healthy and balanced for the rest of your life. It’s not a gym program, it’s not an exercise regiment, Tai Chi is a simple form of movement that can be done sitting, standing, in your house, outdoor or anywhere.

Michelle Grassi

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Mike Kressy shares:

The benefits of tai chi couldn’t be more relevant because of the baby boomer population entering seniorhood. As a student and practitioner of tai chi for the last 25 years and an instructor for the last 15 years, I can attest to the value of tai chi chi kung especially for those of advanced age.

With the proper approach, tai chi is considerably more than an exercise system; it has tremendous healing power because its emphasis is not only on conditioning of the body but also on encouraging the free flow of the universal, life-giving energy known as chi. Both of which require mind training in the form of meditation in order to achieve greater levels of stillness and relaxation. It is, without a doubt, a superb body/mind/spirit undertaking for people of any age.

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My easy and gentle Tai Chi – Qigong classes are held in Sun Lakes and Chandler Arizona at 55+ community centers, assisted living centers, fitness centers, at community clubhouses and also, in my garden. My classes are every day of the week, for all types of physical challenges and chronic diseases. One of many beauties of Tai Chi is that it can be done by almost everyone, everywhere standing or seating. My classes are for beginner, intermediate, and wheelchair or walkers.

As a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) my focus is preventing falls. Some of the many benefits and beauties of Tai Chi for older adults include:

The Benefits of Tai Chi:

* enhance balance and minimize falls and injuries
* improve circulation, concentration and focus
* increase energy, reduce stress, promote relaxation and inner peace
* improve flexibility and bone strength

The Beauty of Tai Chi:

* enhance your vitality through flowing movements, breath, massage, and meditation
* modify and adapt the movements to remain in your comfort zone
* can be practiced almost anywhere on a flat surface: no equipment is required

An interesting note – my average age at an assisted living center class is 88 and two ladies are both 94. They stand tall enjoying the flowing and graceful movements of Tai Chi each and every week! My oldest Tai Chi enthusiast at a fitness center for all ages, is Hazel at 97. She sits, rather than stands, and tries to breathe deeper each week – a true challenge for those like her with COPD.

Tai Chi by Kim Kubsch of Safe Movements

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I certainly have personal experience of the benefits of tai chi and qigong for seniors. My partner and I have been teaching for 3 years to seniors. The health benefits have been amazing with improvement in balance, mobility and flexibility. We have also had a number of our students who have been able to reduce or come off blood pressure medication due to lowered blood pressure with qigong. We have also seen wonderful results with those suffering with arthritis.

Lee W.

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Tai Chi for mind and body…

Having practiced Tai Chi since the late 70s and taught for well over 20 years I am convinced of the benefits.

I have taught it for health, for meditation, for martial purposes and taught it to all sorts of people from 20 year olds who are as ‘fit as a fiddle’, through to people in their 90s. People with good health, people with illnesses, people with drug dependencies, people with neurological problems, indeed pretty much anyone… and, almost without exception people who practice Tai Chi and Chi Gung have benefited from their practice.

Now, it’s not a magic cure and there are some conditions that will not be affected by the practice but even in those cases the simple pleasantness of doing Tai Chi helps as the practitioner is more relaxed and feels emotionally better for doing their practice.

These days, I teach individuals, groups and even run a fast-track instructor program. Tai Chi and Chi Gung is for everyone.

Robert Agar-Hutton
Gloucester Tai Chi Club

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