T’ai Chi in Nir-Oz: Talking to Zohar G!

T’ai Chi: An interview with Zohar

Judih: Can you please introduce yourself

Zohar: I’m Zohar, from Kibbutz Nirim

J: You come to T’ai Chi in Nir-Oz. How did you discover T’ai Chi?

Zohar: Through Mickey from my kibbutz. The truth is I thought about it a lot for a long time, but just procrastinated until I finally asked him about it. He told me that it would be great if I’d come.

The truth is that I was searching for some form of exercise to help me, because my back is not in great condition and many exercises do more harm than good.  With Ta’i Chi I felt that this was what I needed, from the point of view of my health.

Judih: Nice.  When was it that you decided to come?

Zohar: About 2 years ago, in January, 2011.

Judih:  From the moment you began, what grabbed you, what attracted you to T’ai Chi?

Zohar: These are exercises that I can do. They’re not complicated. And I hope to be able to keep on way past my 80s.

Judih: That shouldn’t be a problem!

Zohar: In things like Feldenkrais and other forms of movement, I felt that I couldn’t do the exercises or that they were doing me harm.  Here, I really liked the warm-up exercises and the Chi Cong.  I like T’ai Chi a little less. But I stay mostly for the first part of the session.

I don’t relate to the martial arts aspect,  I don’t really understand how the movements relate to warfare against an opponent. Since I danced for many years,  I relate to the movements themselves.

Judih: Tell me, have you looked into the philosophy of T’ai Chi?

Zohar: No, not really. At the beginning, I searched on the Net to get some background, but not more than that. In fact, until two months ago, I only practiced during our weekly Tuesday evening lessons. But for the last two months, I’ve been doing the exercises every morning: the warm-up and some Chi Cong.

Judih: Excellent. Do you feel that this has helped you health-wise?

Zohar: Absolutely.  First of all, I couldn’t stand! I have a slipped disc and I really couldn’t stand on my feet for any length of time. Now with our static Chi Cong (standing in one place), I can actually stand, for a long time!

Secondly, I feel that it helps me in work. It helps my mind, I’m more able to concentrate.

Helps focus!

Judih: Has this changed since you began to practice every morning?

Zohar: No,  this happened from the very beginning.  It works on focus.  I’ve worked on this from many different directions and I believe that this is what is really helping me. I need to make myself keep at it, because I know myself and it’s hard for me to stay with something.

Judih: You’ve said so many positive things about T’ai Chi. Can you elaborate? When you sit and work, how do you find that it has helped you?

Zohar: I’m an accountant and the branch coordinator. Along with that,  I coordinate Information networks. That means that I have to know a lot and remember many fine details. I simply feel that I’m better able to do my work. I can feel it.

Judih: Do you feel more able to concentrate?

Zohar: Yes, most definitely.

Judih: Would you recommend T’ai Chi to everyone?

Zohar: Yes, and to all ages.

Judih: Great. Do you have any other comments you’d like to add?

Zohar: Yes. I also enjoy the people who come here to do T’ai Chi. The atmosphere is warm and free from judgement. You can make mistakes and it’s fine. I got here after others had already been doing it for 10 years  and it’s fine! People are very pleasant.

Judih: Thank you, Zohar. When you’re 80 and I’m 100, we’ll meet and discuss this further!

Zohar: One more thing. I know it’s highly recommended for improving balance and I’m encouraging my mother (who’s in her 80s) to do the exercises of Chi Cong.

Judih: Yes, others have spoken about how their own sense of balance improves immediately after doing the exercises and in general. You make a good point. Thank you, Zohar!

Advertisements

T’ai Chi! Doron Lavie answers questions

During T’ai Chi practice, questions arise during the break. Sometimes a question leads to many stories ranging from Masters all over the world to specific anecdotes regarding health. Ruthy, one of those who regularly comes to practice T’ai Chi posed 3 health questions to Doron.

Mickey and Doron doing the Sword Cutta

Doron Lavie answers questions (transl from original Hebrew by judih)

  Does T’ai Chi affect one’s posture and balance

Doron: Absolutely. Studies that have been conducted on practicing adults in various locations in the world over a 3-month period (note: adults with no previous history of having done T’ai Chi), compared with groups of adults who engaged in alternate forms of movement strategies. The T’ai Chi group showed 15-17% fewer falls or diagnosed physical damage in conducting their daily lives.

2. Are there standards of physiology that can be measured after practicing T’ai Chi?

D: There are many studies available of research, observations and experiments on the effects of T’ai chi on health, agility and motor skills. The most studied are: the Cardiovascular system (heart and circulatory), the Nervous system (mostly brain and memory). One of the pioneers in the field and a real ‘Nut’ in in the field of Stress Management and the spirit, is a teacher of T’ai Chi, Lawrence Galante. In his book “T’ai Chi the Supreme Ultimate” he’s devoted an entire chapter to this, bringing inspirational examples of those who have been affected by T’ai Chi. It’s possible to find a wide network of detailed information, if anyone is interested in examining the data.

3. Is it accurate to say that practicing T’ai Chi can lower high blood pressure?

A: Yes, that’s correct and in fact the practice of T’ai Chi has a positive and significant effect on your heart’s health and maintaining the balance of blood flow.

Ruthy S.