Keeping Healthy is a Priority
Karen’s Tai Chi journey began in 2009 after recovering from treatment
for breast cancer.
“Having used Chinese medicine to help with the side effects of
chemotherapy, I was looking for a long term way of investing in my
health. A cancer support group I was attending mentioned Tai Chi as an
aid to recovery. I knew of Tai Chi but not what was available in
Canberra so I started looking for information. I picked up a brochure
about the Tai Chi and Chi Kung Academy somewhere.
What impressed me was the length and depth of experience of the
instructors, and the testimonials on the website from students. I’ve
since discovered some people have been with the Academy for a very long
time – fifteen or even twenty years.”
Karen’s doctors have pronounced her clear of her cancer which is a great
relief but she will be one of these long term students because she signs
up every term without question. “I look forward to the classes, the
friends I’ve made, the feeling that it gives and the interesting
information and anecdotes the instructors impart to support the
practice. I particularly enjoy the Qigong. I’ve done a couple of extra
courses including the Taoist 5 Elements Sitting Qigong, another part in
improving my health and well-being. By the third session in that, I
began to feel the energy connection from the point of entry to the
relevant internal organ.”
“At one period for a few months, I got up at 6.30am and practised before
anyone else woke up. It felt really good and I slept fantastically
well. The daily schedule ran better, everything was calmer. I should
get back into that routine. I tend to practise more when I’m not
Like many students Karen found the movements challenging at first – not
so much the co-ordination but getting the feeling of the practice.
“I’d done some yoga but this was completely different. I didn’t really
get it until Level 2. Learning the whole form was challenging but I
practised the new moves as soon as I arrived home after class. I can’t
recommend this enough to beginners. I’d show my family what I’d learned
and I gave names to some of the movements such as ‘pat the dog’ and
‘start the lawnmower’. This, combined with the patience of the
instructors, made it possible to progress to the Refinement class.”
“Now it’s an ongoing challenge to connect the movements from the centre
of the body. Knowing what it should feel like is important and
sometimes I get it in some movements but it’s hard to keep that going
right through the form.
In a very early class, I clearly remember the feeling of electricity
moving through my arms, as if the hairs on my arms were standing on end.
I was stunned and excited by this and immediately told Brett, the Chief
Instructor. I felt something! This encouraged me to practise more.”
The benefits Karen has gained from her Tai Chi experience are tangible
and obvious to herself and her family.
“My husband has encouraged me to continue as he notices the difference
in me before and after Tai Chi. I’ve also shown my children some of the
Qigong exercises, which they do with me from time to time.
It’s helped enormously with controlling worrying thoughts about my
health and my future. I tend to be overly conscious of any health
issues now but the peace and feeling after practice is wonderful. The
whole day becomes smoother after Tai Chi.”
(This is an actual interview, but the name
has been changed for reasons of privacy.)