Integral Tai Chi is My New Depression/ Fibromyalgia Pain Drug of Choice!

“My body is healthy… My body is healthy… My body is healthy… My body is healthy…” I am chanting this in my head while next to me a lady is not so quietly snoring… interestingly it does not bother me, although there are moments when I want to laugh (but cross my heart…. I don’t). While I chant this over and over in my head, I scan my body for pain and if I find any, I mentally push it out of my body. You are wondering what I am talking about… I get it, I would be wondering too.

This is the relaxation segment of my Integral Tai Chi class. It is the last 30 minutes of the 2-hour class I have been taking… my new favorite depression/ pain drug of choice. As I am laying in the dark on my mat in the “corpse” position and the instructor has directed us to relax every part of our body and told us when we awaken our bodies will be healthy. It becomes my chant while I lie there for the next ten minutes. I feel like this class has changed my life. Sounds pretty crazy, right? Well, take me seriously and find a class and give it a try. Here’s the class description:

Integral Tai Chi is a self-healing system that integrates tai chi, yoga, relaxation and meditation to heal the mind, body and spirit. This comprehensive approach involves a series of 10 body movement postures each designed to increase balance, awareness, endurance, flexibility, flow, concentration, energy and spiritual transformation. Integral Tai Chi can be easily learned and practiced by all ages and body types.

I have been able to do things that have caught me completely by surprise… okay, for example… remember in Karate Kid that crane move that all your friends growing up have done and said “I’m the Karate Kid!!”…. I CAN DO THAT!!! SHUT UP!! I CAN!!! Unbelievable… I can actually balance on one foot!! I almost fainted with surprise the first time I did it… I started to giggle. I really did. No one can even understand the gravity of the situation. balancing on one foot, WHILE lifting my arms UP IN THE AIR like that is just CRAZY!! LOL!! For all you modern folk that do not remember Karate Kid (the original… God forbid…) it’s the Crane pose in Kung Fu Panda!

I can’t explain it, I don’t get it myself, but the stretches that are done… although they definitely are challenging for me, feel soooooo good! I feel really good both mentally and physically when I finish this class. I have felt like a totally different person the last three weeks. My husband tells me he is afraid to break the spell… he wishes I could take this class every day. I think that might be a bit much. :) I mean, what is the message he is sending to me?? LOL!

For me personally, I think I said it in a prior posting, the mental effect that this has had on me is so significant… the healing of the mind and spirit and the pure focus on positivity and exiting frustration, stress, negativity from the body/ mind… this is just what I need. I sleep better on the nights that I go… although this time, my beautiful dog decided to wake me up at 4:00 in the morning to go outside and I decided to write this blog posting instead of going back to bed. I also have been able to relax enough to read an actual book… this is amazing. I haven’t read a book from beginning to end in so long I can’t remember when. I have finished three books in the last two weeks. I usually start a book and then after the first couple pages or chapters, put it down and never pick it up again.

I know a lot of you are in pain. If you are in the bay area (San Francisco to San Jose on both sides of the bay), these classes are FREE, take advantage and give it a try… “listen to you body” and do what you can, but stay for the last 30 minutes. If you are not in the bay area, find a local class and it is very possible that you may have free classes as well. I understand this ITC organization is in Southern California offering free classes (this is a non-profit organization). This particular group is AWESOME! I think you can tell, I am pretty jazzed about this… just a little bit… :) I’ve been in pain a very long time… This is the first time I have found something that is FREE and works and not a drug! nice… it’s a blessing.

http://www.css-sanjose.org/eng/itc.html

  • 30 minutes of warm up
  • 60 minutes of 10 body movements
  • 30 minutes of relaxation and meditation

I could barely walk when I went to the first class… I am walking significantly better… ask my dog! :)

Thanks for reading! Stay cool (literally! It’s been pretty hot out there!)

Hugs….

Tamiko

breathe in… “let”… breathe out… “go”…

Warning: I strayed from the regularly scheduled blogging and went with a more childish topic… I couldn’t resist…

So… I went to my Restorative Yoga class tonight, as I do every Thursday evening. Yet somehow tonight was going to be different.

I went to class and met up with my friend, there was only the two of us tonight. Usually there are three of us. Was this why things were different? As we enter into the yoga room. Very quiet, serene, candles lit… the lights are dimmed and I feel relaxed the moment I enter the room. I love this place. I look forward to it every week. It’s the one place I go to that I know my body will actually cooperate. I love this hour of relief that I get from my fibromyalgia. I go to my spot and put my mat down and apologize for dropping it just a bit too loudly on the ground. I whisper as I talk to my friend. It’s really warm in the room tonight. Is this what is different? No… wait, there are two men in this class. That’s different.

As I start to put my second mat down on the ground, I hear from behind me, the man laying on his mat let one loose… I mean he seriously RIPS ONE. wow. THIS is what is different.

I just keep talking to my friend like nothing happened. I’m going to give that man a one time gas pass. The class has not started yet. We are all warming up and hey… stuff happens! I’m going to let that slide. We all have our slip ups… you know, we’ve all slipped up.

The instructor comes in and we start warming up. For the next 10-15 minutes we stretch and do the normal breathing exercises to prepare for the restorative poses. I am relaxed and focusing on my breathing. The gas man is no longer on the brain.

Instructor: “Let’s get ready for our first pose.”

We all take our mats towards the walls and I get in the first pose. I am so ready to meditate.

Instructor: “I want you to just relax and let all the…….”

Gas Man strikes again… PFFFFFFFFFGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!The Gas We Pass

and again… PFFFFFGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!

and again… PFFGGGGHHHH!!!!!

and again PFFFFFFFFFFGGGGHHHHFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!

Instructor: “… stress of the week leave your mind… as you breathe in say “LET” and as you breathe out say “GO” …. “L…E….T………………G….O…..””

Seriously. SERIOUSLY??  Did he just say that? I mean I know he says that every week, but couldn’t he have come up with some new material JUST FOR TONIGHT? I was no longer relaxed. I was dying inside. I knew if I even whispered a laugh I was going to lose it. I would not be able to stop laughing. I would have to leave my favorite yoga place and never return. I would die of embarrassment for laughing like a 6-yr old at the gas man.

I couldn’t look at my friend, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t think about what happened. Here I was in my yoga class… NOT relaxing. I started to count… I started to think about funerals, arguments I’ve had, anything that would NOT make me laugh. I had another 45 minutes of class… this was going to be a long class…. this was a challenge. Thank goodness my other friend didn’t come, there is absolutely no way she would have been able to make it through that moment. That would have been  my last yoga class.

Needless to say… I did make it through and the rest of the class was quiet, thank goodness!

Well, it could have been worse. I could have been the one with gas!

Thanks for reading! Stay cool.