tv Eyewitness 11PM News CBS January 20, 2013 11:00pm-11:35pm EST
announcer: explore new worlds and new ideas through programs like this, made available for everyone through contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. inside you already is all the freedom that you'll ever need, power to make things happen, and the flow that you're looking for in your life. all you need is a system for understanding what you already have and how to use it. i'm a teacher of that system called t'ai chi. narrator: gain the physical mental and spiritual balance that is the basis of this ancient wisdom practice. join david-dorian ross t'ai chi teacher and eight-time national champion as he introduces you to basic t'ai chi moves, when
t'ai chi: health and happiness airs next. hello, welcome. welcome. it's so nice to have you here. you know, some folks who are here today have done a lot of t'ai chi, and some folks have no experience at all just like the people who are watching in the television viewing audience. some of you have had some t'ai chi experience and some not at all. so, you're all welcome. and i want to say that i'm really honored to be here on public television. you know, people have been asking me for years, isn't t'ai chi very difficult? isn't t'ai chi something you have to study for years before you can show it off in public? but i tell people, if you can wave your hands you can do t'ai chi, right? let's prove it. let's take your left hand and just wave. just
"wave, hey, hello, how are you?" so, let me tell you right off the top that what i'm doing while i'm instructing you is mirroring you. if i say right, you go right. if i say left, you go left. it doesn't matter what i'm doing. across, and up and right to left. now, let's get the other hand involved and the right hand scoops under and across left to right, and down, and scoop. let's get both hands going across, and circle. oh, that's awesome. look at that. beautiful. one more time, across, let's come back to the middle, and float down. that's wonderful, wonderful. what you have just done is a movement from t'ai chi called waving hands like clouds. i'm so excited to share with you in this program something that i've done for the last 35 years
of my life, all right. it's called t'ai chi and t'ai chi is something for everyone. you don't need to be a certain age. you don't need to be a certain fitness level. you don't need to be a certain religion or philosophy, because it's a practice that combines everything that everyone needs, right physical exercise, philosophy guidelines for life, ancient wisdom, but it's also practical. the principles of t'ai chi you know informed by the movements that i was just doing, can transform your life, transform your health transform everything that happens to you. to kind of get us started, i thought i would tell you a little bit about where t'ai chi comes from, what's the origin of t'ai chi. and to do this, we have to cast our minds back almost 2,000 years to a time in ancient china when there was a terrible flood. the waters of the yellow river overflowed their banks wiping out whole villages and sending people into the countryside. and after the floodwaters receded, plague arose, such a terrible plague that
the emperor himself decided to take his personal physician and send him out into the countryside to find out what made people so sick. the physician came back and he told the emperor, "i've discovered an amazing thing." he said, "i've discovered that people are like water. when they're moving, when they're flowing, it's healthy. but when they stop moving and become stagnant, pestilence arises." and the emperor's physician a man named hua tuo, said, well, i discovered something else the people are getting sick, but none of the animals are getting sick. the animals are still healthy. and you know what i'm going to do? i'm going to go back out into the countryside and teach people how to move like the animals. and that way they'll never get stagnant they'll never get sick. this is one of the oldest forms of t'ai chi-related practice called the frolic of the five animals, all right and the
five animals are the animals that he found in the forest. there's the tiger. do this with me. so, yes, the tiger with his claws up and the big tiger's mouth there, the tiger that pounces. there's the deer, got to stick the deer's horns out there who twists and turns and gallops forward. yes, there's the bear, the bear who kind of lumbers along, he's very loose in the shoulders and he's kind of, you know waddles back and forth, there's the bear. all right, the monkey, the monkey, who's very quick right, grabs little things and he's always on the lookout for something that he might steal, right, is the monkey. and finally, the bird, the crane with his big wings rising up in the air and floating on the wind, yes. see, these movements that you're doing right now, this is the origin of what we turn into t'ai chi. hua tuo made an amazing discovery but the consequences of his discovery went far beyond health and fitness, and it became not just about medical practice or, you know, something
that will make you feel better but something that would actually be an approach for your entire life, having an abundance of good health having a sense of clarity of mind and creativity of great relationships you know. if you've ever felt like you'd like to have it all, let me suggest to you that what you are really looking for is something very simple. balance. think about this. when your life is in balance everything works. and when your life is out of balance, everything begins to break down. balance is the combination of three basic experiences three dynamic experiences that we call freedom flow and power. and i can assure you that the best thing about t'ai chi, the best thing about this concept of balance is that you already have all three of them, inside you already is all the freedom that you'll ever need, the power
to make things happen and the flow that you're looking for in your life. all you need is a system for understanding what you already have and how to use it. i'm a teacher of that system called t'ai chi. so in our time together, i'm going to teach you how to find your balance how to stay in balance as much as possible, and how to regain your balance just in case you happen to lose it. you don't need a special room or a special piece of machinery or magic shoes or a potion or something like that. you already have everything that you need to do t'ai chi. so let's kind of do a little t'ai chi exercise while we're doing this all right. i want to have you all scoot forward in your chairs for just a moment. this is sort of the first lesson of t'ai chi. if you're at home watching move forward on your chair so that you can tuck the tailbone under a little bit, right, and float the head up. in the ancient writings about t'ai chi we talk about posture, using the
word pearl. they say the spine is suspended from above, like a string of pearls, so here's your head, floating up like the top pearl and here's the rest of your spine floating down. tailbone tucks under the head floats up and in the middle the spine stretches out, becoming longer and straighter and more comfortable. you know, a question that people ask me all the time: how does t'ai chi give you all these great benefits? so i want to answer this from the chinese perspective by talking about a word we call chi, the life force the spirit breath. and when you're in good posture when you're moving through space in a certain way your chi, your life energy moves in a balanced and harmonious fashion. that's one of the sources of the benefits that you get out of t'ai chi. another way of looking at this might be from the western perspective, and saying, you know that as much as we might want to stay in balance and be in balance, the fact is that most of us develop great imbalances
in life, and here's why. we have a habit of always moving away from what hurts, right, and moving towards what's more comfortable. we move away from the weaker sides of ourselves and towards the sides that are stronger. so we wind up with these weird postures and odd sort of angles of our body. this is what we technically call a compensation pattern. i'm compensating for what hurts or what's weak, right. but here's the thing. compensation patterns, by definition, lead to advanced wear and tear. they actually age you faster. so, t'ai chi corrects those imbalances bring you back out of those compensation patterns, and literally turns back the aging clock. so, from a western perspective this is another source of the benefits of t'ai chi. so, let's review really quickly what leads to balance, these three experiences-- freedom, flow and power. and throughout the show today, i'm going to continue to talk about them and reframe our
conversation and our experience together. let's start with the first one the idea of freedom. and just to kind of give you a sense of what that means when my mother was 70, for her 70th birthday, she decided to go skydiving. [audience chuckles] yeah, that's the reaction i had. when i tell people about my mother, i get a lot of interesting reactions. i get people who say you know oh, i would never go sky-- jump out of a plane, are you kidding, i could never do that you know or i shouldn't do that. you know, this is what we, you hear that, shouldn't, can't, won't, mustn't, have to, always, never? it's what we call the language of constraint. it's a narrowing down, a limitation of our lives. it's what i call "i can't." that's the opposite of freedom. freedom is "i can." "i can't" is out of balance. "i can" is moving towards balance, where everything
is possible. the traditional way of talking about t'ai chi is i say i am playing t'ai chi. so, that's what we're going to do today, right we're going to play, you're going to play with us at home. and in fact, i think we should just get into some motion here to feel what it feels like to be playing t'ai chi. let the hands be relaxed by your sides, as you are scooting forward on your chair and getting the tailbone tucked under, getting the head to float up here. and then let the hands float up in front, nice and easy. oh, yes, and then float down again. imagine--i'm going to give you a little thought exercise here. imagine that you're sitting in a hot tub... and the hands are floating on the surface of the water, so the water flows in, the hands begin to float, and they float a little higher and a little higher, and when the water reaches about chest high it shuts off and then you settle down into your chair and you say, aahh. that was good.
see, that is the way t'ai chi is supposed to feel, like you're not even moving like something is moving or flowing you, all right, just flowing and floating. together, the hands by your sides and float up, and down. ah, you can say aahh if you want to, yeah and float back up again. and now i want you to round your arms out like you're hugging a big tree and open side to side. now we're going to round out our arms like we're holding a ball, a big beach ball against our chest, with the right hand on top. the other right hand. there we go. and open side to side, and now left hand on top. so we have open and right hand on top a kind of a closing or a gathering and an open and come back to hugging the tree. and now we have a floating
down, aahh. and a floating up, so we have up, down, open, close, hug the tree, open, back to hugging the tree and down. doesn't that feel nice, right? well, so this is what most people relate to t'ai chi as these movements that kind of, what, flow which is the second principle second element of balance, of harmony, is a sense of flow. today what i want to do is share with you four simple t'ai chi flows, or t'ai chi movements. okay, so i'm going to break down these movements for you, and i want you to follow along with us at home. and in fact, i want you to do it in your chair. there's a lot of students that i work with all the time who are not ready to stand up and do the footwork, which we're going to add a little bit later in the program but they start out in the chair or maybe they even continue in the chair so you can continue in the chair yourself. so, just be in your chair.
scoot forward. let's go back to standing on the edge of the chair with your head top floating up, right. and as we do these movements i'm also going to give you some basic rules some guidelines to follow as you're, you know, doing the movements together. and here's rule number 1 flow rule number 1: smile, slow down and breathe. aahh. right, smile, slow down and breathe. very nice. okay hands relaxed by your sides. the first movement is called opening the door, right... the commencement of the movements, the hands float up in front of the body, not too high just about chest high, then elbows heavy, everything floats down. just like we did before, this is the first movement opening the door. let's float back up again. so, that's simple enough so i think i'm just going to tack on the next movement, which is actually the last movement of the whole sequence.
circle your arms around crossing the wrists at the bottom and float up, now pause and just aahh, let it go float down. perfect. that's actually the last movement of the whole sequence, which we call closing the door, right. so we're halfway done already. we've got the opening and we've got the closing. let's try it one more time. so, smile, relax, breathe opening the door, the hands float up. and float down. good. let them float back up again and round them out like you're hugging a big tree. open side to side, and we're going to put the right hand on top of the big round ball. the next movement, movement number 2, actually, is called grasping the bird's tail, grasp the bird's tail and it actually has four small pieces. piece number one is called ward off, like keep away. we're going to open towards
the left, open towards the left and the right hand is going to press down towards your hip. so this is my keep-away arm this is my keep-away my ward-off arm here. right? that's piece number one. now part number two is called roll back, and what i want you to do is to let the right hand drift forward until the two hands are sort of facing each other palm over palm, right almost like i'm going to make a little t'ai chi sandwich. pull both hands down. turn the waist and toss the hands towards me. beautiful. that's the second piece, roll back. now the right arm is the long arm here and what i want you to do is to bend the elbow folding it in, and bringing the hands palm to palm. this is the start of piece number three which is called press. so i'm going back over here to my left side, pressing my hands forward. beautiful. let the hands slide apart draw them in, down and push forward.
this is piece number four, which we call push. and that whole combination is called grasping the bird's tail. that was very nice. that was terrific. that was terrific. we're halfway done. let's pick up the other half, all right, so let's go back to hands by your sides. you're doing well in your chair. scoot forward a little bit. you can relax anytime by the way. i'm telling you to scoot forward but if you feel like you want to sit back and relax, go for it. sit up nice and tall the head floats up. now i've given you flow rule number one which is smile slow down and breathe. here's rule number 2. we call it conserve the curve and it has to do with what you're already doing with your spine. there's this natural curve in your spine here that's supposed to be there but in t'ai chi we kind of minimize it a little bit, right, like the string of pearls. your head floats up. your tailbone drops down. and in the middle the curve is conserved, right? that's flow
rule number two. hands by your sides. let the hands float up in front, opening the door and float down, aahh. very nice. hands float back up again, rounding out to hug the big tree open, now we get the right hand on top, and we're going to open towards the left. ward off. very nice. let's let the right hand float forward, and pull both hands down toss them towards the television. the long arm now folds in, placing palm against palm. i'm looking to the left again as i press. slide the hands apart, draw them in and then forward to push. beautiful, very nice. now stay with me, because what we're going to do is open and then left hand on top. we're going to do the
same move grasping the bird's tail to the right side. we're going to open to the right. remember, left hand pushes down by the hip here. float the left hand forward, palms facing each other palm over palm. pull down and toss them towards the television. a long arm, which is now the left arm folds in, palm against palm. press forward towards the right side, beautiful, slide the hands apart, withdraw, and push. nice. come back to the center and scoop the hands down crossing at the wrists. they float and pause, and aahh. floating down, closing the door. that was nice. that was beautiful. that was beautiful. this is what we call t'ai chi forms, t'ai chi flows. we practice the forms to practice mastering the
sense of flow, the element of flow, which is a part of balance and harmony. but we say that what's important about flow what's important about t'ai chi forms is that it doesn't stop giving you benefits when you walk out of the classroom. i believe that you can keep the benefits going in the rest of your life. t'ai chi really has significant benefits to every part of your life. the mayo clinic, for example has found that people who practice t'ai chi do things like reduce their anxiety and depression they improve their balance and stability and muscle strength. it improves the quality of your sleep lowers your blood pressure, improves your cardiovascular fitness. it can relieve chronic pain. anybody with chronic pain? t'ai chi can relieve that. it increases your energy your endurance and agility your overall feelings of well being. t'ai chi reduces falls in older adults, well, in everybody, really. i tell you, dr. vijay vad who is a renowned sports medicine specialist at the hospital for special surgery
in new york city said that preliminary evidence shows that doing t'ai chi once a week can increase balance and reduce the risk of falls and hip fractures among seniors by up to half. this bears repeating. the greatest beauty of t'ai chi is that all the things you need for that kind of balance, freedom, flow, power is already in you. you already have everything you need. there's so much i want to share with you, right in this exploration of t'ai chi in the rest of this program. the next thing that we're going to talk about is how to actually get in touch a real physical sensation of that energy we've been talking about in an exercise i call touching the chi, touching the chi. so we're going to come back and do that in just a minute. lyn: hello, i'm lyn may. thank you for joining us for t'ai chi, health and happiness with david-dorian ross. david-dorian is here in the studio with me, and right now we're going to take a short break to talk with him about t'ai chi balance and
about this pbs station. before we do that, please take a look at this. announcer: contribute $65 to support this pbs station and we'll say thanks with the companion dvd to the program you're watching, which includes 40 minutes of additional information and exercises. when you call with a $100 contribution, we'll send you the companion dvd and david-dorian's new home practice dvd, 9 flows. progress from what you've learned today with more t'ai chi moves. for your generous contribution of $175, you'll receive the companion dvd, the 9 flows dvd, plus the unique t'ai chi beginner's kit. open the box to find a specially designed t'ai chi exercise ball, a dvd with a program to guide your use of the ball, and a second program with even more t'ai chi exercises. there's also a collection of essays
to deepen your understanding of the philosophy of t'ai chi. call or make a contribution online, and thanks. lyn: this is an absolutely wonderful program. we are so fortunate to have it as part of the pbs schedule. tell me why you chose pbs. david-dorian: well, pbs is a place where people come for continuous learning, you know where people who are sort of lifelong explorers of the journey of life come to find out new information and new ideas and new ways of being in the world. so, for me it was just a natural to want my first special to be on pbs. lyn: i know you also watch pbs. david-dorian: oh, my gosh. i've watched pbs since i can remember watching television. i've grown up with pbs and to this day i love watching, you know, masterpiece theatre, masterpiece mystery! one of my favorites-- lyn: oh, we share that. we were talking about that a little bit earlier said, oh, we love masterpiece mystery!-- david-dorian: yes. lyn: there's a lot to talk about, david-dorian, but one of the important things you've done for our viewers is put together a fine collection of thank-you gifts. tell them about it. david-dorian:
well, of course the first gift is the companion dvd to this program that we're watching, because you'll want to watch it over and over again and get some of the details and, you know, remind yourself of the things that i've been saying. plus there's some tremendous bonus material. we had a chance to talk with the fabulous studio audience and take the experience that we had in the broadcast show and just, you know kind of get deeper and additional explanations of what we're doing. there's a fabulous q&a session and then this wonderful exercise on learning about cooperation a game i call t'ai chi for two. and then we have my newest home practice program, the 9 beginner flows which is like, you know having a t'ai chi teacher in your living room. so, you'll be able to take all the movements you learned in this program, plus new movements that you can add to your repertoire and have an ongoing practice that just builds and builds. and if viewers can make a generous contribution of $175, you'll receive a dvd of the program you're watching
plus the home practice dvd, plus this wonderful kit i want to explain. it comes with a dvd with not one, but two programs on it. one is another repertoire of movements so you'll have now three different routines of t'ai chi flows. plus this t'ai chi ball that i developed because a lot of my students come to me and say, you know i'm feeling the workout in my legs and my thighs but what about my upper body, what about my arms and shoulders? so the weighted t'ai chi ball will answer that question. and so one of the programs teaches you how to use the ball, and then you can use it for all of the t'ai chi routines that you've learned. and it comes with a booklet a collection of short essays that i've written on the experience of t'ai chi called exercising the soul. now if you have all these materials, it's more than i'm in your living room, it's like i'm living with you, and you can do t'ai chi 24/7 any time you want. announcer: we appreciate a contribution of any amount. if it's right for you, it's right for us. just give us a call right now, and thanks. lyn: david-dorian, what's the impact
on a viewer's life when they get this kit? david-dorian: my goodness. i wanted to create a series of tools that would actually make a difference in people's lives. people are looking for something more than an idea. they want something tangible. to find, you know, what we're talking about in this program is, is balance, you know the missing ingredient. we all know that we're out of balance in some way or another so how do we get back? and the tools in this kit really make that possible. we talk about on the physical level that the movements of the routines of t'ai chi will balance out the body but also balance out the energy that flows through you that, you know, gives you life and gives you power, the chi, the spirit breath. the inclusion of the t'ai chi ball will make your musculature, the outside of you also in balance so that the bottom half doesn't get more worked out than the upper half, you know, but that this will make it all complete. the fact that we have two dvd programs, you know
that you can study over and over again to expand your repertoire of movements. and what that does is it makes you experience more of yourself, if you will. it really gets you back in touch with your body and with the energy that's flowing through it. and then, my booklet exercising the soul, a series of essays that really kind of tell you about my philosophy about t'ai chi and lead you through the mental aspect and the emotional aspect of t'ai chi and the embrace of balance and harmony, and how to understand when you are what it feels like to be out of balance and then how to drag yourself or step towards balance once again. it really does bring you back to a point where you can have new possibilities, a new sense of, that there's something more, there's something that i've always been reaching for and never knew how to get it until now until t'ai chi comes into your life. lyn: david-dorian, i have tried t'ai chi at a couple
of different points in my life. had you been my teacher, i'd have stuck with it. tell me about your first experience with your first teacher. david-dorian: oh, my goodness. well, my first experience actually was a lot like many of my students. i did it entirely by accident. i was not even looking for t'ai chi. i was looking to learn how to meditate but i was so terrible at meditation that i thought i would try this because it's moving meditation. so i signed up for this class and i showed up, and i knew nothing about exercise. i knew nothing about chinese culture or martial arts or any of that. so i was completely out of my element, and i started trying to do the moves, but almost immediately, like within three minutes, i was, you know, it was like being struck by lightning. lyn: you had an epiphany. david-dorian: i had, but a physical epiphany. i could feel my body just heating up and, and coursing with energy. and at that moment i had what i can only describe as a memory of the future where i knew that i would do t'ai chi for the rest of my life and that i would be a famous teacher
someday. lyn: that is amazing. it was like falling in love. david-dorian: i fell in love right at that moment. and the rest, as they say is history. it changed everything about me. it changed what i was taking in school. it changed where i was living how i ate, how i dressed the kinds of activity that i did. it really was a transformative experience. lyn: what an inspiring story. ah, don't we all wish that we could have those kinds of moments in our life? pbs offers them, as you may have learned by now, and nothing, nowhere is it better than in a program like this. so, this is your opportunity to have your own transformational moment. all you have to do is call the number you see on your screen. support this pbs station and we would be so happy to send you, now you know i want everything. i've always wanted everything. i would suggest, if you can do it that you make your contribution at the $175 level and get everything. get the kit. get the ball. get both
of david-dorian's dvds. announcer: contribute at the $65, $100, or $175 levels and we'll say thanks with materials especially designed to expand your experience of t'ai chi health and happiness with david-dorian ross. and remember this public television station appreciates a contribution in any amount. if it's right for you it's right for us. what's important is that you call or go online right now to make a pledge of support. we appreciate you deeply. lyn: david-dorian this is exciting. tell me what's coming up next. david-dorian: oh, next, we're going to do a hands-on exercise where you're actually going to use your hands to feel the inner energy to feel what we call touching the chi. plus we're also going to do an exercise, it may be one of the hardest things for people to learn about t'ai chi and that's called letting go. but the audience was so fantastic in this exercise it's really fun to watch. so, that's coming up in our next segment.
lyn: that sounds great. announcer: there's still time for you to give us a call or go online. let us know you've enjoyed t'ai chi, health and happiness. we appreciate your viewership and your support. i promised that the next thing we're going to do is a little exercise on actually getting in touch with that inner energy which we call the chi. in fact, you can feel the life energy in the palms of your hands very easily, and i'm going to share with you just a very simple exercise called touching the chi. so, this is what i would ask you to do to start with, is if you've got a heavy watch on or a bracelet or something, you might want to take that off for just a second, you know, put it in your pocket. and then take your wrists and sort of cross them over in such a way like the palms are facing the same, facing each other, but just crossing wrists and make some small circles, nice and slow, circling around about the size of a half dollar circling
around. and after about 30 seconds or so you might start to have some sensations. and if you do, what we're going to do is we're going to change the position of your hands and now move your hands to face each other palm to palm right, middle of the palm facing each other, and continue your circle circling around, nice and easy, little tiny circles. and pause, and let's try something else. let's try pulling them slowly apart. pull your hands slowly apart, and push them back together. i can see some of you already i can see the looks on your faces, right. i want you to take a look at the palms of your hands. what
does that look like? do you notice anything? woman: it's red. david-dorian: it's red, so you see some color, yes? what else? what about feeling, sensation? tingling. warmth yes. by the way, if you don't feel that, you're not dead. it's all right. [laughter] these are classic signs of an increased flow of chi. now what's happening is that right here in the center of your palm is a giant acupuncture point called the lao gong point. and as i'm doing this exercise what i'm doing is i'm focusing, right, i'm thinking about it. so i'm thinking and my mind is going to this point and as my mind goes to this point, what happens? the chi follows. in fact, this turns out to be one of the most famous t'ai chi sayings in the entire practice. it goes like this, e-tao chi-tao, where the mind goes the chi follows. and where the chi goes, the blood follows. and where the blood goes, the body follows, right. so as mind is focused on "i can't," that's
where my chi is going to go, but when my mind is focused on "i can," that's where my chi is going to go as well, okay. so this also becomes one of the elements of balance, power, chi life energy. you know, why is power an element of balance? being powerful is the opposite of being forceful. right, when you're forcing things, you know things sort of get stuck, but when you're powerful things just happen without forcing. in fact, in chinese we have a saying about that, we have a phrase, it's called wu wei which means effortless effort which is how power really feels right, just effortless, how balance really feels. it's just effortless. now this also brings up one of the other benefits of t'ai chi and the sort of the contrast between t'ai chi practice and some of the more conventional western forms of exercise and health,
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