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Tai Chi & Me

For many years I knew what was causing my biggest health problems I’d been living in denial, I had to come to grips with the fact that I had an addiction. As the years drifted by, my health was slowly deteriorating. I had become a junky. I lived to eat. Food had become my comfort zone. My helpmate, my best friend, and my lover. It decorated every room in my home. It had it’s place in my car. It was good cold or hot. I would start the day by asking myself “what can I eat this morning?” When I entered my stock room, my kitchen, the heavens sang. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I kept my sleeping pills in my refrigerator. My drugs were waiting for me (all the left over food from the day before). Food was my night time comforter. How could I give all of that up?

One Sunday morning in early April 2003 something on my television caught my attention I was getting dressed for church and as usual, I was running late. An unfamiliar sound came from my company keeper (my television). Strange music caught my attention and I stopped to check out the program. The talk show host was talking about the Roxbury Tai Chi Academy; a name that I wasn’t familiar with. I knew those words Tai Chi might have had something to do with Chinese culture.

What got my attention was the gentleman that hosts the talk show. He was an African-American. I said to myself, I must stop and check this out. Even though I was late for church I wanted to see what was going on with this brother. The talk show host introduced his guest as Mr. Heg Robinson who appeared to be apart of my generation However, he appeared ageless and seemed to be a picture of health. I took a good look at this man, his skin was as smooth as silk.

He looked joyful with a big smile on his face. He began to speak about Tai Chi Chuan He explained that he had studied and practiced the program for many years. Mr. Robinson said in plain words that Tai Chi provides treatment for a wide variety of ailments for the young and old. It is a self-help program and it acts as a killer of many diseases such as hypertension, tension headaches, arthritis, asthma, sinus disorders, and many others. He spoke about the flowing rhythmic movements that help to stimulate the nervous system and improve one‘s breathing, blood circulation and functions of all the body’s organs. He demonstrated many “how to” movements.

The vibration movements in the swinging of the arms relaxes the joints, lowers the blood pressure, stimulates blood circulation, increases energy, and aids digestion He demonstrated to his audience about the many movements that would strengthen the legs, hands, and feet. He explained the importance of breathing exercises that relaxed the mind. These movements put the body back in shape.

Mr. Robinson called these movements the “GOLDEN TREASURE.” He stated that these exercises are important to many senior citizens in helping them to become more mobile and active. Toward the end of the program the talk show host explained that Mr. Robinson and his group would demonstrate the Tai Chi moves called “THE DANCE.”

I watched in silence, as he began to move his body. His face became still as if he was in a world all by himself. It felt as though the stillness of the heavens came down and took my breath away. His movements calmed my mind. It was like observing someone twisting an extraordinary strand of pearls. He twisted and turned his hands, feet, and body to the rhythms of Tai Chi. Watching this dance allowed me to enter into his world. It seemed to put my soul to rest. On my way to church my mind was on Tai Chi. This Tai Chi instructor looked great, and whatever he had I wanted it to be added to my life. The following week I enrolled at the Roxbury Tai Chi Academy. Mr. Robinson looked even better in person. He was very pleasant with enough energy to pass around. His studio told me plenty about him. I noticed he was in tune with his African heritage. That led me to believe we had something in common.

Mr. Robinson listened while I explained my reason for being there. I had many health concerns. Over the years I developed a lifestyle that could eventually prove to be detrimental to my health. I talked about my food addiction along with other problems. The many things that I could over look when I was younger took control of my thinking, causing tension headaches. I felt it added to my arthritis pain, and many other crises.

My doctor appointments were every four weeks centered around my blood pressure and other diseases that were beginning to attack my body. My visits to my doctor added more stress. He often reminded me of my weight problem because that had a lot to do with my health. Sometimes he would remind me that white people lived five to ten years longer than black people. My doctor went all out to shock me into taking better care of myself. My excuse was telling myself it’s hard to break old habits.

My medication was increasing every year. My daily three-mile walk, around Jamaica pond was keeping my body at a safe level, but not a healthy one. Mr. Robinson listened in silence as I told him my story. His answer to me was very short. He said you came to the right place, and Tai Chi can be the answer to most of your problems but the rest is up to you.

He went on to explain nothing will happen overnight. It will take some time for you to get to the place where you desire to be. Tai Chi is a self-help program. You must make it part of your everyday life, meaning you have to stay in the program and exercise at least three times a week along with the classroom activity. The rest of the program should start daily and end at your home.

After the interview was over I felt good. Some how he motivated me. I felt that I was in the right place. He gave me a tour around his studio. There were many pictures of people that were performing in Tai Chi. Mr. Robinson’s every move made me realize that he took Tai Chi seriously. I felt good being in his studio. Listening to his story of how Tai Chi saved his life many years ago helped me to make up my mind

I could not wait to put Tai Chi into action. This was all new for me, but I was willing to give it one hundred percent. It’s been almost nine months since I enrolled in the Tai Chi Academy. My health is getting better. My doctor is pleased with my progress. He has decreased some of my medication and my doctor visits have changed from one month to three months. Mr. Heg Robinson, gave me some advice about eating He said to eat what you want. The catch to this is you must never eat more that your one hand can hold at every meal. Drink plenty of water. Tai Chi has taken the place of my food addition I no longer live to eat.

My stock room is filled with healthier foods. I threw away my sleeping pills. I make small meals in the early morning and I no longer think of food. I do self-help exercises. All I can say is Mr. Heg Robinson is out there, and it’s up to you to find your way. Tai Chi is working for me. I truly don’t feel like I am growing older, some of the old sparks are beginning to surface, if you get my drift. When my friends see me they say, “girl you are looking good” I smile and say, “Thank you Tai Chi.”

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