A Quiet Space in Time

“I’m standing in my space bubble and doing my Tai Chi Animal Frolics.” My five year-old student, Talya, stood calmly in her place and moved smoothly from one animal movement to the next as she said these words. Her face showed a peaceful expression not typical of her. Several weeks earlier, she would have been more likely to come into my room and have an immediate conflict with one of the other children in her class. Now, having learned the Tai Chi Animal Frolics and getting to practice each week in my integrated arts class, she seemed secure, having her own space in which to move calmly, with no one distracting or bothering her. It’s such a simple thing, yet a rarity, to have this kind of opportunity in a school setting, to have a space to yourself anywhere. Her special education aide told me that she often practiced the Tai Chi Animal Frolics in a corner of her classroom when things were particularly stressful for her. Whenever I question myself about the potential of the Tai Chi Animal Frolics and the impact it can have on children, I think of her, and feel a strong conviction to make this program available to as many children as possible.

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One Response to A Quiet Space in Time

  1. Gerri,

    Your Tai Chi Animal Frolics DVD is lovely. I enjoy the calm music (without loud animal noises) as too many students are easily overstimulated.

    Over the past year I have been using some of Tricia Yu’s principles of Tai Chi Fundamentals, and I have found that they are very calming for children with limited attention or increased stress. I have modified TCF to use successfully for children while seated at their desks, seated on the floor, seated in their wheelchair, or positioned in a stander. Students and I often rename the moves and cues to make them very simple for children as young as 3. They can mirror my movements as I stand right in front of them or they can participate with other friends in a small group setting; some may use only arm/trunk movements, yet still feel connected to the group.

    I will now use some of your animal frolic ideas and modify them as I work with students of all abilities. I may try to use part or all of your 2-minute sequence form (Youth Guided Practice with Tai Chi Kids) as a portion of my case study for a young student in one of my doctoral classes. I will keep you posted.

    I like so many of the principles in using tai chi. Consistency, discipline, slow movement – these strategies do help even the youngest learners engage the mind in the present moment.

    Thank you for your beautiful CD; it is a great addition in making Tai Chi Fundamentals accessible to more people, especially children with disabilities.

    Thank you,
    Nancy Lindgren, Pediatric Physical Therapist
    Wisconsin

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