Using Tai Chi to Relieve Stress
interviewed by Instructor Lis
management has always been an issue for Brad. As far back as his
teenage years, he sought ways of dealing with it.
He looked to different
meditation techniques for solutions and tried to find a Tai Chi class he
could join. He has also had a longterm interest in martial arts. When
he discovered the Academy’s classes in 1995, he was learning karate and
thought the two would complement each other.
attended his first Tai Chi class in Term 4, 1995. In the early days,
his work as a geologist took him away into the bush, sometimes for
months. However, he always kept up his practice and always resumed
classes on his return to Canberra. At the time of joining, he had
constant stress related health issues —
mostly fatigue and general
anxiety — so the Qigong training was the aspect he was, and still is,
most interested in.
done Brett’s Hun Yuan Qigong course twice, Fei Wang’s Taoist Qigong
course three times and Lama Choedak’s Calm Abiding Meditation Course
twice. They’ve all helped a lot. I’m much more relaxed, flexible,
fitter and healthier now than I was in my twenties.
stopped karate a long time ago, but I also tried the Academy’s Martial
Arts classes. It’s hard training and I don’t really like the contact
element of that type of training as I grow older. I like the Push
Hands, but you need someone to practise with.”
practises his Tai Chi every morning. Even though he knows his shoulders
are still tense and he needs to relax even more, he feels the training
has strengthened the ligaments and tendons in his joints.
take my huskies – sled dogs – running, sometimes I’ll bend my ankle on
the rough terrain. I haven’t had a serious injury, just a bruise or
some soreness for a few days. I think otherwise I could have twisted or
even broken an ankle on occasion.”
learned the traditional Yang Style when he started with the Academy, but
was interested to learn the Hun Yuan system when we changed in 2003.
different. I never had trouble with co-ordination in the Yang style,
but the Hun Yuan made me use my body differently. At first, it was
quite difficult to get the hang of. I was too tense. I find now if I
sit a bit lower, it really works my legs as much as the other one did
and in some ways more so. Because some movements don’t require a weight
shift, the muscles of the leg carrying weight can get quite sore if you
work at a lower level. The basic principles are still the same across
Relaxation is still Brad’s biggest challenge. He knows he’s a tense
person prone to stress and is conscious of seeking out ways to relief
his tension. He has found that the calmness and gentleness of his Tai
Chi practice helps to overcome stress both mentally and physically.
the classes. I’ve been to just about every venue and learned from every
instructor, I think. I always come away from the lessons feeling calm
and open. Even though I practise every day at home, I do far more of
everything at class. I should try to get to more than one class per
(This is an actual interview, but the name
has been changed for reasons of privacy.)