By Linda Adler, M.P.H., M.A.
I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to teach tai chi at Bay Area Cancer Connections (BCC) for several years. During that time, I’ve met some wonderful people, worked with several dedicated students, and have observed how the tai chi practice impacts those who have received a cancer diagnosis.
If you’re like most people, when you walk by a group doing tai chi in the park, you probably notice the slow, graceful movements that are being performed in unison. Tai chi practitioners look relaxed and serene—so it’s tempting to assume that if you simply learn to move like that, you’ll achieve the same feeling of calm and peace. What you probably don’t see, however, are the basic skills that enabled those practitioners to move like that: their body strength and inner power. Tai chi after all, is a martial art, so at its core is the development of one’s inner power.
Traditionally, we teach people to develop these attributes over many years. Successful tai chi practitioners devote hours every week to learning the forms, to developing each part of the body, and to understanding the ancient treatises. But obviously, we can’t teach something like that in the short time we have together at BCC. Furthermore, most of you join our classes not to become tai chi masters, but because you’re interested in promoting your overall health and well being. You also may choose to do tai chi while in treatment, but not thereafter. Therefore, my job is to give you an opportunity to find your inner power, but in a way that requires not only a shorter time commitment, but that also enables you to work most effectively with your current diagnosis.
Our new program will consist of six consecutive weekly classes. Each one will be devoted to helping you practice a particular aspect of tai chi that enables you to connect to, and build, your power. I’ll teach you how to access and then develop tai chi skills and techniques that will help you increase your ability to move your energy most effectively. I’ll show you some simple exercises that when practiced routinely, can build strength and increase stamina. We’ll move in a way that will help restore your balance. I’ll also help you attain what many students refer to as their “tai chi vacation”—time to enjoy your body without a sense of apprehension and anxiety. In short, our tai chi class can help you cope with your treatment challenges more effectively.
I really encourage you to give this new program a try. We’ll have fun, we’ll build community, and we’ll come together to make the process of diagnosis and treatment just a little less challenging. I hope to see you starting September 7! To register for this free series, please call our Helpline at (650) 326-6686.
Tai Chi & Qi Gong, 6-Week Series
Thursdays, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
September 7, 14, 21, and 28
October 5 and 12
Linda Adler, M.P.H., M.A.