Tips & resources on wellbeing nnd performance   ||   Issue 45, July 2022


Dear Reader,

In this issue I cover my journey into Tai Chi, how to 'embrace your tiredness', my experience in aged care regarding participation and being heard. Plus there is the usual ancient Chinese quote by Lao Tzu.

Chris Bennett
Chris Chi


Why Tai Chi?


I started Tai Chi at the beginning of 1987. A friend of mine who was a Tai Chi instructor finally convinced me, after two years of effort, to have a go. At that time I thought Tai Chi was only for elderly people and I wasn't keen on moving around slowly for exercise.

I went to my first lesson and was hooked.

After 35 years I'm still practicing and teaching Tai Chi. Why? Because I've discovered there is much more to Tai Chi than a slow form, and that still fascinates me. The range of training includes the hand form, Push Hands, Weapons (sword, sabre, spear), Nei Kung, and Self Defence. Within in these aspects I can strengthen the body, calm the mind, energise, stretch, breathe correctly etc etc.

I could never apply myself to any other form of exercise because I'd be bored and stop doing it after a short period of time. Though I know others do find an alternative to Tai Chi and are dedicated to their own exercise programs.

Tai Chi for me is a lifestyle and not just an exercise. Obviously I'm biased after 35 years of practice!


Embrace Your Tiredness

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An effective way of improving your performance in any physical activity is to 'embrace your tiredness'.

When I practice my Tai Chi low stance (thighs almost parallel to the floor) for example, I focus on letting go of will power though not my structure by welcoming the tiredness as part of the process of the exercise.

This makes a big difference in achieving my goal, because I'm working with and not against myself.


Sooner or Later

One of the aged care residents at a Chair Chi (seated Tai Chi) session recently participated in some of the movements, which was a surprise and very pleasing. Previously she had sat through sessions just watching.

This happens occasionally because I allow space for residents to join in by encouraging rather than insisting they have a go.

It may take a while, but I know through experience that they are likely to participate sooner or later.


I Can't Hear You


Although I'm required to wear a mask when delivering a Chair Chi session in Aged Care, I still find it uncomfortable - especially when I have to project my voice across the room. This needs to be done for the full session (30-60 minutes) because some residents are hard of hearing and the mask mutes my voice making it even more difficult to be heard.

This tends to happen in larger rooms where a session is held. I'm sometimes asked to take off or lower the mask so they can hear me. I politely refuse and try to explain I'm required to wear it.

To compensate for this problem, I focus more on movement rather than verbal instructions and use my laminated cue cards (large font print of key words) to teach effectively.

Image courtesy of Dylann Hendricks via Unsplash

2022-07 Lao Tzu Quote
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