The Very Essence of Making Tai Chi Available for All
I would like to share my experience of this fantastic Tai Chi group I attend on a Thursday morning.
I am 42 years old, had a brain aneurysm (stroke) seven years ago, and although I have recovered to approximately 90 per cent of my previous ability, I have ongoing symptoms I have to manage. I still struggle with balance, difficulty with co-ordination and multitasking, short-term memory loss, reduced concentration, dizziness, visual and hearing deficits. Fatigue management is a big part of my day-to-day life, as managing this reduces my symptoms. I can no longer work as I need to rest every afternoon, and with this comes loss of confidence and isolation. My brain is like an old cellphone battery which doesn’t hold its charge. In normal routine, the battery lasts for six hours. Any extra load on it, I need to recharge it.
I tried to join in the Taoist Tai Chi® arts beginner’s class on two separate occasions as recommended by my neurologist, but it was too difficult due to the balance and concentration required, bringing on fatigue. Both times I had to leave after 10-20 mins as I was overwhelmed and feeling down that this was another thing that was too hard. But then I was told that a beginner class can be done at a slower pace, and I found that I can actually manage, giving me a huge sense of achievement and improving my confidence. It is a great social experience; the group being like a family where I feel safe to chat and share. Each week, we have time to sit together and talk over tea, where we support one another.
Even with lots of limitations people can successfully manage Taoist Tai Chi® arts with all its myriad of benefits. For me personally, this involves being provided a mat where I have a power nap for 10-15 mins during the session. I have noticed increased strength and balance, stamina, better short-term memory, and confidence since starting Tai Chi. I enjoy going and it gives me positive structure in my life since I no longer work. I think it’s an amazing art and highly recommend it to others who have brain injuries.
— Laura, New Zealand