Tai Chi-Qigong: Posture and the "Power Chair"

“I’ve heard it over and over, but I never got it until today!”

Mary came into class literally glowing and looking different as she sat in her electric-powered chair.  Mary has CP, and previously she was kind of scrunched down in her chair and tilted over to the side.  She was unable to get her feet to rest squarely on the footpads, so during our exercises, she mostly did the breathing and some gentle motions with her hands. That’s the great thing about Chi Kung!  If you can breathe, you can benefit!  And even small movements can begin to get the body energized. The thing was that Mary persevered. She kept coming to classes ever since they began a couple of years ago.  

We talk a lot in class about mental practice, and we often repeat the mantra, “See it with your mind, feel it with your mind, do it with your body.”  All those times Mary was coming to class she was doing a lot of work in her mind.  She kept hearing about posture, and even though she couldn’t sit up straight, she took it to heart. She visualized what it would be like to sit up with her feet on the floor. Now here she was rolling into class sitting up straight!  She couldn’t wait to tell us all what had happened.

Mary got a new seating arrangement in her chair that helps her sit erect, greatly improving her posture. Now, instead of looking at me somewhat from the side, she looked directly at me!  I am sure the new posture also helped her to breathe better and thus to have more energy. New footpads helped her feet rest squarely on them so that she had a sense of being connected and having some control of her balance and movement through her feet.  

Mary is usually rather quiet, but on this day she could hardly stop talking for excitement.  She wanted everyone to know how different she felt because she was able to sit up straight. All of those in the class were excited for her.  We love to celebrate the victories!  

Later, in an e-mail. Mary described her experience this way: 

I've heard it over and over, but I never got it until today--How much correct posture and having your feet firmly planted and spaced apart affects you psychologically and spiritually.  There is this attitude shift--a sense of myself as a strong person and presence; like I'm not a person to mess with.  I don't mean that in a defensive, angry way, just some kind of quiet reality that's absolutely true and unshakeable; non-negotiable.  It's lovely.  Gives new meaning to having a "power chair."

Mary is now able to put into practice what she was visualizing in all of those classes. We are happy for Mary, and we would like for everyone to have their own version of a “power chair” that boosts the self image and gives confidence to face the world with a smile!

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