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Attending students have completed a questionnaire regarding their thoughts and feelings about the course. These are useful if you are considering attending a course for the first time.

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September 26, 2019
Five Rivers Trust

Minfdful Tai Chi recently delivered introductory sessions as part of a staff training event working with the Fiver Rivers Multi Academy Trust in Sheffield https://www.fiveriversmat.uk/about-us/. Below is a copy of the google review left by Emma Farmer who commissioned the sessions and some feedback from staff attending.

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My name is Karl.

"I am 29 years old and have been practicing Tai Chi since 2004. I first came across Tai Chi when my friend introduced the idea to me as I suffer with a chronic lung condition called CYSTIC FYBROSIS. This affects the mucus membrane of the lungs and clogs the air waves of the lungs shrinking lung capacity and making breathing short or difficult for the sufferer. It also affects the processes of the digestive system which is not able to absorb nutrients properly. Often intravenous antibiotics are required to help maintain good lung function. My good friend knew of the health benefits of regular practice of Tai Chi for people with breathing difficulties and had previously studied a martial art called akido which has similar concepts to Tai Chi so the idea sounded intriguing to me and I decided to pursue it.

As the months went by, I underwent surgery, to remove a surgical device called a portacath that was implanted to help with the fusion of intravenous antibiotics. As I was recovering from my surgery I started to research martial arts magazines hoping to find a Tai Chi class. I had no luck for a while then all of a sudden I found an article about a Tai Chi class in Sheffield helping heart patients who were using Tai Chi to help recovery. I asked my doctor about it but I was unable to attend as the class was for patients only at the cardiology unit. Eventually my mum went to the local doctors and found a leaflet for a Tai Chi class in Barnsley. I was so happy that we had finally found a class and it was in close proximity and easy to travel to.

I plucked up the courage to make the journey and go to the Tai Chi class but did not know what to expect at all.

The class started with a nice warm welcome to all the new beginners followed by the introduction to the first exercise of Tai Chi. As David explained, it is important to stand well and the first exercise of Tai Chi is to stand well and to let go of all excessive tension locked within the body's structure. At first it seemed strange because we're so used to moving about and don’t really pay attention to the stillness of the body when we relax, this was fantastic to me because I had regular tension in my upper chest with breathing difficulties so it all made sense to relax and let it go ..

David went on to explain the finer points of standing still as the lesson progressed, things like letting go of muscular tension or muscle contractions to maintain an upright posture, correct breathing, correct displacement of the centre of gravity as you maintain standing finding the balance through the skeletal structure. This was fantastic as for the first time I felt like like I was functioning properly.

For the first part of the lesson we did a series of specific exercises called QI GONG which exercises are designed to loosen up the body, make the joints supple, relax muscular tension and encourage blood circulation. The second half of the lesson we learnt what is known as the Tai Chi Chuan form. This is a series of cleverly interwoven movements, practiced in sequence gradually progressing. Within the Tai Chi form there are certain Tai Chi principles, for example stillness, lightness, softness, accuracy, timing, perseverance, all important to the correct way to move and the student gradually introduces each one into the Tai Chi form over time.

Well that was it. I had done my first Tai Chi class and I felt so refreshed and vitalised and happy that I decided to come along and join in. The following week I returned to the class and have continued to do so since right up to the present day.

The benefits of attending a Tai Chi class are many. For me personally I have been able to withstand the long winters without being subdued to cold and flu, my lung function has increased by 200ml, my weight has increased by half a stone and my overall health is fantastic to say I have CYSTIC FYBROSIS. With practice you develop a strong healthy body, muscular refinement, smooth easy movements, constant shifting of body centre of gravity enables one to develop a keen sense of balance also helping functions of the brain, your body becomes more agile, you have more stamina to do things and overall a real awareness of your body movements and wellbeing.

I personally love doing Tai Chi and feel that the time and energy is well spent. It's given me so much back in return for the effort I put in. I use Tai Chi daily to help with coping with CYSTIC FYBROSIS regulating my lung function through the practice of QI GONG exercise’s or FORM PRACTICE. Practicing Tai Chi helps regular systematic strain relief and is ideal to sufferers of many illnesses normal and chronic including asthma, bronchitis, osteoporosis of the joints, cardiovascular heart problems , nervous disorders, and so on, practice of Tai Chi helps one to understand one's self better in order to help others.

The groups I attend are very friendly, warm, energetic ,relaxing, funny, insightful, knowledgeable, it has a long lasting and deep profound meaning to me close to my heart and the people around me. It leaves me with a great sense of wellbeing and achievement after a Tai Chi class. The people are really nice to get along with all sharing their common interest in health and wellbeing for the individual and for their fellow students.

All in all Tai Chi has saved my life. It has given me a sense of wellbeing beyond what my words could ever describe it has given me the confidence to accept my illness and to happily go about my daily living as before i was bound by the thought that there was only pain and suffering now I can happily live my life peacefully knowing Tai Chi can help. I am currently researching to try and find ways to promote TAI CHI for the general public and to raise awareness for CYSTIC FYBROSIS sufferers to have a better quality of life through the practice of Tai Chi.

I would like to send my kind regards to my teacher, mentor, and best friend, for the knowledge he passes on thank you so much."

Kind regards Karl Lee