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Can Tai Chi Make Our World Well?

Pam Kircher, MD, MT, Pagosa Springs, CO

When Paul asked if I would write a general article on Tai Chi and Wellness my mind immediately went to my largest vision for the Tai Chi for Health movement in the world. The development of the adaptations for people with chronic illnesses and the coaching style of teaching by the stepwise progressive method have made tai chi available to anyone. It has removed the barriers that kept tai chi in the physically healthy and strongly motivated community to include everyone of us whether we are healthy or very determined. Projects like World Tai Chi Day with its One World/ One Breath slogan have brought disparate groups of people together to share the enthusiasm and fun of tai chi in the park. We are meeting people that we might never have met had it not been for our common interest in tai chi.

Tai Chi in the Workplace is bringing together people not only from different departments but also from administration to people at beginning levels in a company. We are learning what we have in common from people that we might never have known beyond simple recognition.

Tai Chi 4 Kidz is allowing teachers and students to enhance their health by playing tai chi together. Students see teachers developing their skills in tai chi at the same time that the students are.

Tai Chi for Health programs in the hospitals and clinics are improving the health of healthcare providers as it improves the health of patients. Healthcare providers and patients are breathing, learning and laughing together as they learn new forms.

Tai Chi for Health programs are returning health care responsibility to the individual where it rightfully belongs. People are seeing that their own lifestyle greatly contributes to their own sense of well being. It doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to feel better.

These are the changes that we are already seeing with Dr. Lam’s programs, but I would like to take it a step further. I can envision a time when our Congress does a few tai chi warm ups together before potentially contentious debates and when they stop for a tai chi break when things get too hot. I can envision world leaders doing a little tai chi before they sit down to serious negotiating. It is much harder to see some that you disagree with as evil incarnate when you have just been breathing together while focusing on your tai chi.

I can see a world where families meet in the neighborhood parks to do tai chi together before work or school. I can see a world where businesses have tai chi breaks rather than coffee or smoking breaks. I can see a noon hour that begins with a little tai chi. I can see a world where business meetings begin with a little tai chi in order to focus attendees and help them shift gears from individual details and work to planning as a group. I can see a world where families relax with tai chi after work rather than a cocktail. I can see a world where families sometimes take a tai chi vacation to learn a new form or polish up one they already know—or at least, include tai chi as a part of their camping vacation.
I can see a world where we can join one another at tai chi at any place in the world whether we speak each others’ languages or not.

Is that contributing to the World’s Wellness? I think so. It is releasing stress while improving strength and flexibility, not only of our bodies, but also of our minds and spirits as well. I invite you to create your own visions of more ways that tai chi might contribute to wellness in our world.


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