"I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2005. It is a chronic, progressive and disabling auto-immune disease that affects my whole body, most noticeably in painful joint swelling and loss of balance. Tai chi has gradually become one of the building blocks in helping me to manage my disease more effectively and in improving the quality of my life. Physical exercise is acknowledged as one of the keys to retaining mobility and delaying deterioration of the joints. Tai chi is low impact but, importantly, it moves all parts of my body. It contributes to joint flexibility and function and helps me to improve my physical co-ordination. But tai chi is more that a simple exercise regime. Its complexity allows me to address not only the physical but also internal balance issues that arise when you suffer from a long-term systemic disease. The World Arthritis Day motto "Move to Improve" and the ethos of Mountain River are therefore combined themes in my continuing journey with rheumatoid arthritis and tai chi." Di Skingle Treasurer Age Concern Chiswick.
"I remember thinking that I got 'struck down' rather suddenly with what was diagnosed as 'Rheumatoid arthritis' about 10 years ago. However, I realized (once diagnosed), that as with most chronic ailments, it was probably brewing systemically for some time, getting steadily worse as one partly ignores the body's signs and symptoms which are trying to tell us that all is not well, and partly, 'unwellness' is not picked up in normal conventional blood tests.
After the initial denial that I had this debilitating and painful ailment, I decided to try to help the body 'heal' itself with a holistic approach and so looked to Indian, Tibetan and Chinese medicine. Their explanation for this auto-immune 'dis-ease', that can get progressively worse, made sense and although I do take some conventional analgesic and anti inflammatory medication, the treatment I follow is 'holistic', involving complimentary medicine, a new approach to diet, a change of life style, and most importantly, a shift in how life is perceived and one's reaction to it.
However, there was something missing, something more I needed to do to help me 'heal' or at least stop the progression of this chronic ailment. I needed some form of 'holistic exercise'.
There is an old Indian saying: "Only when one is ready, the master will appear".
Curiously, it took 8 years but I suddenly became aware of 'Tai Chi' which had not been on my radar before and found "Mountain River School of Tai Chi" on the internet. I knew I had found what I was looking for! Tai Chi has brought my approach to this 'dis-ease' into focus and I have discovered that it is not just an exercise for the physical body's muscles and joints, but far more importantly, through the various movements, it actually helps to us to re-align the body, bringing it into balance. This means that not only is one exercising and strengthening the muscles and joints in their corrected positions but also exercising and strengthening the internal organs.
But the body does not function on a physical plane only, and it is this holistic aspect of Tai Chi that attracted me to Mountain River School of Tai Chi. Keith Robertson conscientiously (and often with his special brand of humour ) guides us through the mental and spiritual aspects of this ancient wisdom along side the physical exercise. I now find that my movements have improved greatly. For example, 2 years ago, before starting Tai Chi classes, besides feeling generally unwell, going down the stairs or bending the knees was impossible). Interestingly, and perhaps more importantly, I believe it has also helped me to see my body in a much more focused, confident and optimistic way. If the body is hard wired to heal itself, then I believe, with help, it can achieve this goal. Tai Chi at Mountain River has been that help for which I am grateful." Shaku Sindle
On 13 Oct 2012, at 15:44, EB wrote:
I was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition just over two years ago. It's a movement disorder which strangely sent signals to my neck to twist around to the left! I had been fairly active prior to this - tennis and gym work mainly, with some football and swimming thrown in. Unfortunately I had to retire from all of those sports and also stop driving at the same time. Still wanting to learn and take part in something that would keep me active and focused, I decided to take up tai chi and that was when I first met Keith from Mountain River tai chi.
Keith is a unique character, with a disarming and articulate style. He can elegantly sweep from layman's terms to his own recollections of how he learnt(s) tai chi from the Chinese elders with no common language* through to fantastic descriptions of the actual moves you are learning and their place within the philosophy of the ancient Chinese.
That may all sound a bit eclectic...but it isn't. Keith encouraged me to think about my condition in an entirely different way from anything doctors had said previously (and the styles sit comfortably together - both medical and tai chi). Down the road as I am, Keith and the tai chi lessons have made an incredible difference across the board, and I could only attempt to explain the balance and calm that has brought to me. Beyond that, the straight enjoyment, discipline and active nature of tai chi itself has provided me with a fantastic outlet - both mental and physical. I would recommend this and Keith to all who might want to try something new that fits with every individual in its own way.
EB (Keith - feel free to edit this in any way you want. Might be too wordy and there might be better summaries that suit the people you generally get through the door. And have a great trip to Hong Kong.).
Disarming and articulate.......
HA HA VERY NICE of you to say so, I am still chuckling and I read it five minutes ago.
I shall edit no thing for the truth is the truth and the truth according to EB is good enough for me.
However if you don't mind I shall respell learnt to learns *and may adjust so the implication becomes THE teacher in Hong Kong's command of the English Language is far superior to mine. However the connotations of direct translation have had to be refined as our common usage is different due primarily to linguistic mindset incompatibilities; is correct.
And I'm Still laughing after that mouth full.
AND today I got told I had not only a considerable Frame but a M A S S I V E presence too.................still as I slid between their legs and looked into their eye from one millimetre they may well have been right!
Further details of Mountain River Tai Chi –- and the beginners’ classes -- can be found on www.mountainriver.org.uk