Category Archives: Seniors

99 Years Young: Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain Participant Celebrates 99th Birthday

 May Hillier (red shirt) celebrated her 99th birthday surrounded by friends in her local class. She began to practise Taoist Tai Chi® arts with the Taoist Tai Chi Society of GB in 2002 and has been an enthusiastic participant since, regularly attending the Monday morning class at St Anne’s Scout Hall in Cardiff and many social occasions such as Christmas and Chinese New Year celebrations. Her favourite move is Wave Hands like Clouds and she even practised foundation exercises in bed while she was in hospital one time. May has said that her greatest regret is that she didn’t discover these arts earlier in her life.

May’s daughter, June is also a committed practitioner and volunteer and instructed for many years. May’s friend Vera (white shirt) is only a youth at 94 years old. We wish to celebrate many more birthdays with them both.


Filed under Great Britain, National Updates, Personal Stories, Seniors, Society News, Tai Chi for All

San Franciso Bay Area Taoist Tai Chi Branch Demonstration at Kaiser Hospital Oakland, California

The SF Bay Area Branch gave a demonstration for the members of the Oakland Chapter of the Mending Hearts Organization.  All members have or had challenges due to heart issues. The members were enthusiastic and were eager to learn a move or two.

Leave a comment

Filed under National Updates, Seniors, Tai Chi for All, USA

Senior’s Day Celebrations in Prague

Den senioru 2014 Hastalska 8

Last weekend in November was dedicated to celebrations of Seniors Day. Already on Friday evening we precooked a “Russian” soup called Boršč (several hours of cooking) and rice for frying, set up a sample roundtable and prepared a few more things to be able for all of us to enjoy seniors and their company fully. We welcomed about 35 seniors with small presents.

Den senioru 2014 Hastalska 16

A 2-hour class followed a morning of cutting vegetables. Before lunch, we set up tables and played a presentation about Orangeville Centre talking about its 30th Anniversary and a purchase of the Fenway property. After enjoying a delicious 3-course menu marvelous cakes, homemade mostly by seniors, flooded tables resulting in a vote of winners in three categories: sweet, salty, and an overall winner.

An intense experience was a common chanting, namely for one of our esteemed senior who left us last November. Beside his huge support of The Taoist Tai Chi Society he also shared with us his Boršč recipe. Although we all worked together in a harmony whole Saturday, we mainly tried to treat seniors in a way they are very important to us and we can still learn a lot from them. Common cleaning and dish washing finished an amazing Seniors Saturday.

1 Comment

Filed under Czech Republic, Events, Helping Others, National Updates, Regional Updates, Seniors, Society News, Tai Chi for All

Participant Celebrates 91st Birthday at Stratford

IMG_2155 - Version 2

On July 17, 2014 Anneli Whyte celebrated her 91st birthday with her many friends at Stratford Branch.  She has been a member for 23 years and attends 4 or 5 times a week.  Anneli is a fine example of find balance, have fun and keep coming.  She attributes her ability to stay active and still do line dancing to her years of Taoist Tai Chi. Anneli is an inspiration to us all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Branch Updates, Canada, Personal Stories, Seniors, Society News

Recovering From Surgery With Repulse Lizards

At a hospital in Mexico, after major abdominal surgery, there were two or three tubes draining things out of my body and an IV dripping things in…. Perhaps it was a relatively easy surgery but with stitches all the way up my belly, I was weak and a bit frightened. The nurses encouraged me to get out of bed, to try to walk.

I stood up and held the IV pole firmly, careful not to twist the bag of input-fluid. There was a small bag hanging beside my chin, and I had to support it with my other hand. But I made a sort of sling to hold it up so I could have a free hand. Another bag collected urinary output. It was on the floor at the bottom of the IV pole, dragging along when I moved, big and heavy. My hospital gown flapped open at the back. I was not ready to walk down the hall this way.

The stitches up my belly were bound firmly with a good Mexican swaddle-wrap, the kind they use for babies. That’s reassuring – at least I could be sure I wasn’t really going to burst open, even if that’s how it felt.

Walking was difficult, but it had to be done; this sewn up body had to function again. I remembered the foundations of my Taoist Tai Chi™, remembered the Tor-Yu. This will work, I told myself. And so I stood in the middle of my room, holding the IV pole, and placed my feet carefully. Forty-five degrees for the back one, straight ahead for the front one. I pushed from my back foot, gently-gently now, slowly, and felt the muscles of my wounded belly move diagonally. “Gently,” I told myself, “Be careful.” I leaned onto that front foot, squaring my hips. That wasn’t so bad, I told myself – now go back. And I pushed from the front, pushed my body back, feeling the movement as my torso turned, that gentle pull across the stitches. Felt my legs working, helping to put the blood up and around.

After several days, I was allowed to go home. Not home to Canada – I couldn’t fly until the stitches were removed – but to my Mexican home, where my daughter would take care of me until I could travel. I lay in bed much of the first few days, then sat outside on the patio where there was more space, where there was warm air and sunshine, and shade when I needed it. My body began to heal. To encourage it to function better, I did Tor-Yus every morning, feeling as weak and wobbly as a baby kitten.

One afternoon my daughter went out to the market for more fruit, and while she was away I tried to devise a way to loosen up my insides, to massage that solid pillar of abdominal re-arrangement. An internal massage was what I needed. A belly massage. As I tried out a different tai chi movement, I kept my eyes focused on a small lizard perched in the sunshine on the edge of the fountain. I turned my foot to 45 degrees and stepped forward in a Brushed Knee, to feel the massage running diagonally up and across my abdominal muscles. The lizard kept his eyes firmly focused on me, as I advanced toward him. And so I turned my body, first in one direction, then in the other. Four Brush Knees. Four abdominal massages. The lizard blinked slowly and raised his chest high, lifting up on his front legs, alert to the advancing menace here in his courtyard.

I let the lizard have his territory. I retreated, Warding Off Monkeys, and massaged my wounded belly in a different direction as I headed backward. The lizard sank down into the sunshine, secure in his territory. We did this dance together several times, the lizard and I. I advanced and retreated, warding off lizards in the Mexican sunshine.

My doctor was astonished at how quickly I was recovering, and I told him my secret. “A Bellyful of Tai Chi.”

– Laurie Lewis, Kingston Branch





1 Comment

Filed under Personal Stories, Seniors, Society News, Tai Chi for All, Testimonials

Yet Another Record Breaking Day!


It was great to see all the familiar faces as well as so many new faces. Three hundred and fifty-two participants attended Seniors’ Day at the International Centre this year, many for the first time.


Group shot 2The theme of the day was Open Mind and Eyes Open, finding a balance between the world inside of us and the world outside. We focussed on being aware of those around us and using our peripheral vision. The result of this practice was evident in our final set. The atmosphere in the room was very calm with 352 people moving together in harmony.


Group shotThe participants were divided into groups where they worked on the theme with a group leader.  They also did their assigned tasks together with the more experienced ones helping the newcomers become familiar with the way things are done at the International Centre.


Upstairs lunch

Many favourable comments were heard about the day as people headed back to their locations and it is expected that there will be another record attendance next year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Branch Updates, Canada, Helping Others, International Centre Events, Regional Updates, Seniors, Society News, Tai Chi for All, Workshop Watch

“We come, we learn to change and it’s ok if we don’t get it all”

Seniors’ Tai Chi Week gives seniors an opportunity to grow in many ways. It means learning to be daring and take risks, learning to trust the instructor and be willing to “go for it”. It means giving up self to be part of a group. In a group with a variety of ages and capabilities we are challenged to do what we can and a little bit more. We are invited to stretch not only our bodies but our minds as well. A whole week gives us the luxury of time to practise until we can feel, then understand what the instructor is asking of us.

As the week progresses and we are changing, we all hope to return to our own practice with renewed enthusiasm and knowledge .We will try to remember to practise with a light heart and play Tai Chi.

To quote a few of the participants:

“I come because I have a lot to learn and not much time.”

“I’m calling this my “Find your toryu Week””

“I was depressed in the past but I found Taoist Tai Chi and now I’m insufferably happy.”

“The tight knots in my spine have unlocked with partitions and now I have this tool to take home.”

“I feel nourished in a deep sense, physically and mentally.”

“We come, we learn to change and it’s ok if we don’t get it all.”

“Our bodies have been deliciously stretched. We learned to quiet down inside and expand outside.”

“We will all go home with stories to tell and let them know: NEXT YEAR IN CALGARY!”

A beginner’s View:

“My tai chi training started in November 2012 in Meaford (Collingwood Centre). After realizing that one session per week would take me ages to improve my moves I started attending classes at other locations. The first thing which I noticed has been the kindness and camaraderie of students and instructors alike. In a world where individual success seems to dominate our lives meeting such a caring group appears like that ideal world which we wish it would indeed exist.  The Seniors’ Day which I thoroughly enjoyed increased my curiosity and I decided to attend the Seniors’ Week this May. Already at the first workshop session I noticed that I was the only beginner among the seventy attendies. However, I everybody made me feel welcomed. There was always room for me in the middle of a row where I could easily follow experienced members. Soon I realized that the physical aspect of Tai-Chi is only part of the daily life at the Centre. All long-time members accepted me as their equal and friendships to a number of members could easily develop. Teams of volunteers were established to run all aspects of our daily routine. I noticed that washing up is a good job to strike conversations and learn to know people. Spirituality is an important part of my own life. For this reason I have found it so comforting when I noticed that the physical and spiritual aspects of tai-chi are interconnected.
Participating at this workshop has been the right decision despite my missing experience in tai-chi moves. I recommend beginner tai-chi students to participate at such a workshop as soon as they have completed Beginners Class.

I’d like to add this quote from Oliver Wendall Homes, Jr.;  “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”  This is truly the way I feel. This week at the Centre transformed me.”  – Dmitri.

1 Comment

Filed under Canada, Events, Fung Loy Kok, Health Recovery, Helping Others, International Centre Events, Personal Stories, Seniors, Society News, Tai Chi for All