A woman calling me to inquire about my Tai Chi classes, said she has a medical condition that affects her balance and also triggers vertigo. She has been watching Tai Chi videos by Dr. Lam and thought she wanted to try a class. In answering my question if she can stand and walk, she said ‘yes’. She uses a hi-tech walker when walking outside and into a building, but, once inside, she is on her own. I mentioned that safety is my highest priority for students, and in my class, she definitely can sit in a chair to participate in the first half of class. I encouraged her to come to a class to see if it works for her.
“I read your bio on your website,” she said. “I said to myself this is the teacher I want to work with.” So, she picked up the phone and called me.
She comes to class the day after our phone discussion. Maybe in her early 70’s, she is optimistic and eager to participate. She sits in a chair to breathe, move her Qi in gentle, directed ways. When we prepare to practice walking, I suggest she gently place her hand on the wall to steady herself, keep hip-width distance between her feet and look straight ahead. She follows the instruction, walking forward and backward, keeping feet parallel.
For the second half of the class, when we start to practice our form, I suggest she sit in a chair, visualize the moves in her own body and take in the gentle, relaxing energy that is being generated by the standing students in the class. I can tell she is intently paying attention, taking it all in the best she can.
When class ends and students are leaving the Skylight Room, I ask her how the experience was.
“It was great,” she said. “This class was all I hoped it would be.”
I am so pleased for her. She listened to her body, had an open mind and did what she could do. She is already exhibiting a Tai Chi-like mind.