Category Archives: Testimonials

Demo at the March Meeting National Parkinson Foundation Buffalo

The Buffalo New York Branch of the TTCS USA demonstrated both the standing and seated Taoist Tai Chi set at the March meeting of the National Parkinson Foundation of Western New York. Seventeen TTCS members and most attendees did the first seventeen moves.

Attendees were very receptive; we have been invited back and can’t wait to do it again!

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Filed under Helping Others, In the News, Society News, Tai Chi for All, Testimonials, USA

Taoist Tai Chi™ weekend Sept 19-21: From a Newbie’s perspective

Smiling faces, friendly greetings, sincere, caring, helpful people, with a sense of well being. This is who you will find at the International Taoist Tai Chi™ Centre beginners’ class. The first weekend accelerated class was held September 19th – 21st.

As you drive up towards the entrance you see statues and flags, several buildings that pique your curiosity, dragons and cauldrons, flowers, and did I mention flags, lots of flags, from several countries. Paths made of different materials, trails to explore, trees, clouds and as you step out of your vehicle: fresh air. There is a sense of sacredness and serenity here.

Even before the first hello is exchanged you feel welcomed.

Arriving for dinner and time to settle into a room allows time for registration before class. A tour of where linens are and directions to the meditation suites are given. Bernice and Sharon are greeters for registration and name tags are distributed.  Before taking one step into the practice hall, Delores, Jane, Mar and so many others gave a mini tour of the centre, sharing their knowledge.

Time for class to commence. Do you remember your first class?

As participants file in creating lines I position myself near the front knowing I will need to hear the instructor. Fortunately, the class had many experienced participants as it became clear early-on that memorizing the 108 moves takes time. Ah, acceptance, a good lesson. I was here for the weekend and was determined to enjoy myself. Let go, breathe, and follow along.

The movement, the silence, the collective consciousness, how beautiful is this! Everyone is a mirror image of each other, reflecting a practice that is tremendously powerful.

After class, some stayed on to continue their practice, some stayed to visit and have a snack. The kitchen is always open and you are invited to help with preparation for meals and clearing and washing of dishes. The honour system is in place, all doors open. How refreshing. Yes, the food is delicious.

I settled in for the night feeling relaxed and energized at the same time. Although I awoke with vivid dreams, I was able to fall back asleep and felt refreshed in the morning and ready for a full day. Chanting in the temple, breakfast, three two hour classes with breaks for meals,and a tour of the property.

Each class offered instruction, repetition, tea, biscuits, fruit and story telling. Lots of laughter, some tears, exchanges of emails and and on Sunday, a raffle. I will wear my tai chi hoodie proudly.

Each person has a story, what brought them to this moment, why they sought out Taoist Tai Chi™ and each story has a happy ending. Each story has a happy ending, did you hear that?

Tai Chi equals equanimity, a connection is made, sublte and transformative.  As you leave, a realization that the journey has just begun and that you will be back. Tranquility stays with you and can be accessed at anytme.

Tai Chi is truly for everyone.

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Filed under Canada, International Centre Events, Personal Stories, Tai Chi for All, Testimonials

Veteran Copes with Spinal Cord injury using the Taoist Tai Chi™ Arts

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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





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NYC Tri-State Branch Hosts National Workshop and Holiday Banquet

IMG_1838Some 73 people gathered in midtown Manhattan for the NYC Tri-State Branch National Workshop last weekend. Members came from as far away as San Francisco, South Carolina, Ontario, Quebec, and across the New England region. The weekend began with a potluck dinner and registration on Friday night, the food reflecting the cultural diversity of the local Tri-State membership. Spanish tortilla (potato omelet), Cuban chicken with rice, Mexican avocado salad, and more.

An unexpected setback with a rental space made for a cozy environment at the branches main location on day one of the workshop. Instructors Marsha Eberhardt, Karen Laughlin and Sean Dennison easily adapted the program to fit the configuration. Focusing on the foundation exercises worked up an appetite for a catered Greek lunch.

That evening, the local branch hosted its first Holiday Banquet, for which 80 guests met at Delight 28 Restaurant in Chinatown. Organized around the four Aims and Objectives of the organization, Continue reading

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Midwest Branch Meets the Needs of Students with Special Needs

The students were very excited as they arrived for class today. Jill peeked out into the waiting room and nervously whispered to me “David almost told Jim about our surprise!” I nodded to her and said that Richard (the staff member who is their caseworker) had everything under control. When I arrived this morning, I was told we would have some college student observers in class today. Rule # 1 in teaching an external class – always expect the unexpected. 

Taoist Tai Chi has been a part of the programming activities at the Association for Individual Development Sheltered Workshop since March of 2012. One of the program directors felt that offering tai chi to the special needs adults attending the workshop might be of benefit since they have few social and recreational outlets and it might help client behavior and concentration. Many live in group homes and attended special schooling adapted to their needs until they “aged out” of the education system at age 21. 

The participants range in age from mid 20’s to early 60’s and have disabilities ranging from Autism and Asperger Disorder to Downs Syndrome, Moderate Mental Retardation, Brain Injuries and seizure disorders. As a group, they are all very supportive and encouraging of one another, but they sometimes experience behavioral challenges when interacting with a mainstream social group. Continue reading

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A Jade Tree Grows and Grows: Ottawa Celebrates 35 Years

When Taoist Tai ChiTM first came to Ottawa in 1977 we were given a small jade tree that is now so big it takes at least three people spreading their arms to encircle it. It’s not just the tree that has grown these past 35 years; the branch has gone from about 20 people in one rented space to more than 600 members across 10 locations, including a building we own that boosts a commercial kitchen. In this case the jade tree’s fabled ability to bring prosperity, sharing and friendship seem to have done the trick! It is no wonder that the jade tree that was selected as the theme to represent the branch’s growth over 35 years.

Celebrations began September 8, when a public demo was planned in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau, during which a dragon danced to attract the crowds. A thunderstorm with severe rainfall cancelled the outdoor plans, but that did not stop us from gathering for a barbeque at our head office location! There were food, speeches, demos of each set, a slide show of photos chronicling our branch history and of course our jade tree on display. That evening we also started building a new jade tree; branches were drawn on our mirrors and green paper leaves were taped onto them. On each leaf a member wrote Continue reading

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