CT meditates: a comedy (30) Tai Chi


I’m learning Tai Chi! I have a background in the martial arts, having trained in Shotokan, in Tae Kwon Do and most recently in Bushinkan Karate disciplines.

Tai chi is another take, much gentler, much more philosophical, much slower, and amenable to learning and practice by just about anyone who can stand on two feet.

I understand that older, frail patients at risk of falling can substantially lower their risk of falls and risk of hip fractures by learning Tai Chi. I have patients whose anxiety is improved with regular Tai Chi classes. Just about every community has a Tai chi class somewhere.

Of course, the introvert in me prefers to learn Tai chi from a DVD, and so there it goes. My choice was Tai Chi for Health with Terry Dunn:


I was not successful at finding anything really useful online on YouTube.

Having now memorized (not really mastered) all the 80-ish moves from the Yang Style Short Form of Tai chi, I find it to be relaxing, meditative, more active than sitting with eyes closed, more interesting than stumbling meditation, with less risk of unintended snoring. Furthermore, I find that I can make it quick (done in 5 minutes) or long (30 minutes) and easy or hard (I can be sweating at the end, if I hold my poses until my thighs start burning).

And, while traveling, if the gym and or pool at the hotel is closed, 30 minutes of in-room Tai Chi takes very little space, is meditative and a good workout as well. Business Traveler Secret!

Funny memory: there is a movie from decades ago called “A Great Wall” where a disillusioned computer programmer in San Francisco takes his family to Mainland China, and hilarity ensues. The one memory of this movie I have is the father doing Tai Chi on his tiny porch, and at the right moment, relaxing into a stance and farting.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? I won’t say if this happens to me, but there are times during my Tai Chi practice when I’m smiling and others in the room are fleeing.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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