An Investment in Your Health that
brings Lifelong Results
Elizabeth has always been interested in Eastern philosophies. She began
learning yoga in 1968, a practice which she continued until 2011 with a
break of just a few years for health reasons.
Tai Chi wasn’t available in Canberra in the early days but it was
something she’d be been interested in exploring for some time. So when,
in 2000, the Tai Chi Academy opened classes very close to her home,
Elizabeth took advantage of the opportunity.
“I’m not a believer in signs as such but it did seem to be the right
time for me to start.”
A major health issue intervened in 2002 and it wasn’t until 2003 that
she was able to ease back into exercise with a stretch class, and in
2004, yoga again. Seven years later, an eye problem meant the end of
yoga – no headstands – and Elizabeth returned to Tai Chi. She also
began swimming regularly.
“When I began classes again, my biggest challenge was remembering the
sequence. Even now I can have slips in concentration. One of the
things I enjoy about the practice is that it works subtly on many
different levels, regardless of ability. Improving the memory is one of
the benefits but not the most obvious.”
“In my naivety, I thought learning Tai Chi simply meant learning the
form, the sequence of movements in a neat package. I didn’t
realise this was a portal to a much larger system of energy cultivation.
I have since done a lot of the extra courses in Qigong taught by
Fontane, which have been hugely enriching. A system of health
cultivation with hundreds of years of history behind it is a pretty
impressive recommendation, as is the fact that in China there are
hospitals which use Qigong to treat patients.”
“The benefits I have experienced in the immediate sense are joint
flexibility and greater range of movement, a deep sense of well being
and an overall warmth and vitality as the qi circulates. I find it also
has an elevating effect on my mood, and I feel generally happy for no
particular reason by practising both the dynamic form and meditation.
There is also a sense of relaxed energy after the practice.
In the longer term, I understand that it conveys many health benefits
into older age when practised regularly. I am certainly conscious of
much better balance and improved leg strength since learning and doing
the Tai Chi form for 3 years on a regular basis.
I have been on 2 Tai Chi and Meditation Retreats (held in April at SIBA
in East Gippsland) with the Academy. These were excellent opportunities
to immerse myself in the physical practice through the intensive daily
sessions. I was also able to learn and appreciate so much more about
the extent of the wider Chinese philosophy and of the ancient proven
wisdom which informs the teachings of the Academy.”
Elizabeth discovered other courses on offer which have been wonderful.
She has attended the retreats, learned the Hun Yuan Tai Chi form,
Taoist Stretching Qigong, the Bang (Stick) and the Walking Qigong. She
has also completed the foundation of the Energy for Life system
which includes the Microcosmic Orbit sitting Qigong, the Self Healing
Qigong, the Advanced Self Healing Qigong and the Taoist Five Elements
“As I age, I’ve become more conscious of maintaining my health,
especially leg strength. The measured controlled pace of Tai Chi suits
me and the benefits on so many levels are immeasurable and subtle. I
like the holistic approach to health care, and it’s a nice feeling to be
doing something proactive towards my health.”
“I enjoy coming to classes. There’s a nice social feeling which
builds as you progress through the levels with the same group and strike
up friendships. Occasionally, a couple of people will go for coffee
after the Saturday class. We’re all there for different reasons but we
all find similar benefits and similar pleasure in the movements.”
“We are so fortunate to have the Academy and its offerings available in
Canberra. Everyone can receive some benefits from Tai Chi and Qigong.
It is subtle, gentle and accessible, particularly to older people who
benefit from keeping active as they age. Its effects on our most
precious asset – our health – are powerful and profound; it repays
the investment in time and practice many times over.”
(This is an actual interview, but the name
has been changed for reasons of privacy.)