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True Story: My Tai Chi Journey

After reading about ‘Karen’ I thought I would share my Tai Chi story. 😁

A year ago I was struggling with chronic pain in my right shoulder to the point where the movement was very limited and I could not lie on my right side. Diagnosed with an impingement and a frozen shoulder, I had physio, acupuncture, and two steroid injections which relieved the pain. I knew the crucial thing to stop it returning was to get my shoulder moving.

A number of years ago, I attended a few Tai Chi sessions which were calming and left me feeling very balanced and centred. I thought it was probably the best way to get my shoulder moving again and to build up its flexibility. My consultant had warned me that if I didn’t do something to combat my sedentary, screen and mouse based work life, I would be back to square 1!

I searched for Tai Chi classes in my area. There were a couple of options, but the one that appealed to me was TaiChi4U which looked very welcoming. Feeling a bit nervous, I called the instructor, Zibi, to enquire about classes. He was friendly and enthusiastic. He told me I did not need to have experience, and that beginners were very welcome.

I went to my first class with images of mellow, yoga-style meditative Tai Chi - you know, the kind of thing you see in movies with loads of people out in a park in the early morning doing the movements in zen harmony. Boy, did I get a wake up call! It is that, but so much more! I didn’t know that Tai Chi is a martial art (which, by the way, is about ending fighting, not starting it!), that it is a defence technique, and that it helps you to master your mind, body, and energy, and spirit. And when I say master, I mean it helps you get the most out of them and enables you to recognise how connected and dependent they are. And the key to all of this is breath! How we breathe moves us from a state of stress and confusion to calm and focus.

I am still a baby on my Tai Chi journey. I’ve been to a winter camp in Poland, training under Masters Robert and Pedro, who were both trained by Master Yang in his YMAA school.

Nine months on, and not just my shoulder but all of me feels so much stronger and flexible. I know now that Tai Chi is a lifestyle, not just a weekly hobby. I’ve made wonderful friends and our group is like family! When I’m at work, the breathing helps me stay focused when things are going pear-shaped! Zibi is a great instructor, and he and Yatish have the patience of saints when I struggle to understand a move. Tai Chi has improved my posture and how I walk. It gives me a lightness that makes moving feel fluid and effortless (except in my classes where I still become a bit rigid and robotic when I get in my head!).

Tai Chi is about effortless energy, not physical force. Sorry, Neelam, I didn’t mean to punch you! 😄




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